Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Mkwiro Women’s Group take on Diani

Christmas is coming and I already have all my Christmas presents.   I am pretty sure that it will be a sweet holiday for my family when they get their hand woven wallets, place mats and bags that I purchased from the Subira Women’s group in Mkwiro. But don’t worry; this blog will not be about my presents (as beautiful as they are!) but about the updates that we have on the work of the women of Mkwiro village. It has been a little since we've had a blog on their progress and I can tell you that a lot of things have happened.

The women's group have a preparation meeting in Ukunda
First of all, the group had their first trip to Mombasa to print their catalogue and logo. The trip was productive and we managed to get good prices for both items. As a matter of fact, we had to bargain with the shops keepers and the women took their role very seriously. It was still a bit hard for them to step up and bargain with a random man but they definitely gave it go.

After putting the catalogues together and attaching the logos to their products, the women were ready to go to Diani for the first time.   Five women were selected for the adventure: Rukia, Mwanasha, Mwanambu, Tima and Mariam (with her little baby Mohammed!).  We decided to go to the Diani Beach Shopping Centre and managed to speak with 8 different jewellery and handicrafts shops. The reactions were really positive and the shop keepers accepted to take catalogues and show them to their superiors. The women were really happy about seeing things happening and were even more motivated in getting things going.

The beautiful catalogue for the group
The attendance for the next meeting was amazing: 14 women (plus babies and children!). We had to organise the next trip to Diani but before that, the women were invited to the Reef Hotel in Shimoni to display their products before a conference. They were obviously very excited and the Reef Hotel has proven to be a great partner, promising to call the group to come over when tourists were around.

Eight women came along for the next trip to Diani. The amount of work that they got done that day was impressive: they took care of everything, pushing to get to speak with as many shops as they could. After going to Nomads (a beach resort), we kept on working in several shopping centres.  After a few sales, we went back to Shimoni, still excited about the day. Several shops guaranteed that they would call to order some products when the high season would start again.

Volunteer Kathryn with four members of the women's group

And for the next meeting, guess the attendance…. 17 women (out of 19!). Oh yes, I think we can say, they are definitely set to take on Diani and we wish them all the best.

Julie Barrot De Brito – Community Field Staff