Ensuring a Future

Yatta South Womens Group, Kenya

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Yatta Group Offices. Katangi
Yatta Group Offices. Katangi

The Yatta South Womens Group is located in an rural area between Machakos and Kitui, approximately three hours drive from the centre of Nairobi. This rural area struggles to survive on cash crops, a stiff challenge given the dry and arid climate that often experienced in the region.

The Co-operative has been in existence since 1986. Some 2030 women belong to the organisation that weaves sisal baskets for primarily local but also international markets. Organised into 31 regional groups each with a Group leader, baskets are weaved to order and the proceeds of orders and sales are then distributed back to the weavers. Other products also produced include banana fibre baskets and table ware, rugs and hats.

Weavers at Katangi Office
Weavers at Katangi Office

The Co-operative has its own office and stock room located in Katangi. Here the stock is collected and accounts and administration for the groups are co-ordinated. Communication with the outside world is via mobile phone. Access to e-mail involves an hour long journey to Machakos by Matatu bus, a risky experience at the best of times for staff.

Groups are widespread in the area; the longest distance from the office to a group is 15kms, the equivalent of a days journey to deliver baskets.

Demonstration of the different weaving stages.
Demonstration of the different
weaving stages.

All the weaving is undertaken during a working day by the women. They may be working in the fields on their farms, caring for children or looking after goats and sheep while also weaving.

The significant value of the project and the direct benefits for the Co-op members is immense. With the ongoing drought situation in the region, cash from crops is marginal. The extra income arising from the basket weaving makes a real financial difference to 2030 ladies and their direct families.

Weaving process
Weaving process
Stock room at Katangi office.
Stock room at Katangi office.