Online platform to help women sell their pearls worldwide


Online platform to help women sell their pearls worldwide

Pastoral women engaged in beadwork at a meeting. PICTURES | BOWL

For the first time ever, pearling women in pastoral communities will have the opportunity to market their products through a digital platform following the launch of a USSD platform.

The digital marketing platform targets women from 127 cooperatives from seven pastoral counties such as West Pokot, Narok, Baringo, Samburu, Turkana, Marsabit and Kajiado.

The project is facilitated by the government through the Ushanga Initiative of the Ministry of Sports and Culture.

The Ushanga Kenya initiative is a national government flagship project that aims to empower pastoral women involved in beadwork by transforming their traditional art for significant economic benefits and sustainable livelihoods.

The government seeks to use digital and social media as a means of evoking cultural pride, ensuring that cultural adoption rewards the owner of the artifacts and the country as a whole, and transforming the livelihoods of working people. of the pearl.

Speaking at the launch of the program in Masai Mara, the CS of Sports and Culture, Ms. Amina Mohammed, hailed the initiative saying that the digital platform is an essential tool for the empowerment of women and young people. girls.

“This is an important step for my ministry that reinforces our mandate to preserve our culture through the pearl, which we are zealously working to protect,” Ms. Mohammed said.

She reveals that pearl products have greatly contributed to the development of the country, especially pastoral communities.

“In addition to the economic value that the pearl embodies, it also embodies our cultural identity and heritage, which are part of our values ​​of indisputable national importance and pride; and which has gained worldwide recognition,” she said.

Customers from all over the world adorn these art beads for women and girls around the world and they will be traced directly from the deepest pastoral lands of the country.

Traditionally, she says, pieces of pearls were very valuable but brought the makers nothing beyond ornamental beauty.

“But today, USSD is a game-changer for women in the named communities. Accessing markets and their storytelling will be easy,” she added.

Through USDD, women’s products will access wider markets, increase income from selling their products digitally, and in turn provide them with economic independence and financial stability.

The USSD will have a user management module which will have a database of the various women and cooperatives working with Ushanga Kenya, thus allowing products to be traced directly to the original producers. All relevant stakeholders will have role-based access to the system allowing for smooth operations.

The USSD platform is part of the government’s efforts to boost the sale of women’s and girls’ pearls by protecting the intellectual property and legal rights relating to pearls and pearl products as well as the preservation of culture.

In Kenya, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) estimates that tourists spent an average of $79 per tourist on handicraft purchases.

As trend analysts predict a growth in the craft market, as middle-class populations grow rapidly, there are many opportunities for artisans, especially in developing countries, to create products for these markets.

Hellen Nkaisery, president of the Ushanga Initiative, called the project one of the government’s greatest cross-cultural business innovations for pastoral women since its inception five years ago.

“Commercialization of beading has oriented financial independence, cultural preservation and alleviated social adversity for the pastoral woman,” Ms. Nkaisery said.

She says the women have been able to create masterpieces to match various major events through value-added training and the use of the latest techniques, while preserving the rich heritage.

“Thanks to beadwork, women will now have their own source of income to contribute to the family basket. Women are now their own bosses,” Ms Nkaisery said.

She reveals that so far, the Ushanga Initiative has formed women’s cooperatives in seven counties, the smallest with 100 registered members.

In order to ensure that the artifacts meet international standards, Ms. Nkaisery says they have done capacity building for women on modern designs, value addition, entrepreneurial skills as well as the use of tools and equipment. equipment.

For his part, PS Sports and Culture Jospheta Mukobe echoed the sentiments of previous speakers, describing the platform as a platform through which potential local and international buyers can view, review and place orders for items. they want from local women.

“As we speak, today’s world is rapidly moving towards using digital platforms as marketing tools. To achieve this, we need to know our women, have data from the original artisans of authentic pearl products,” she says .

She reveals that so far, more than 5,000 women have since benefited from the capacity building program and are now able to make contemporary beads that meet the diverse demands of global customers.

“I would like to report that during this year’s Deaflympics held in Brazil in June 2022, our country was very honored to have presented more than 200 original pieces of beadwork and authentic works by our women from pastoral communities. The products were designed and made by our women, we are proud!” said Mrs. Mukobe.

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