Donation Supports Women’s Small Business


The 32 women from the Mararianda village can now produce and sell sustainable charcoal briquettes

Earning their own money is on top of the agenda of the Maasai women from the Mararianta village, which is close to Karen Blixen Camp in the Mara North Conservancy. Thirty-one of the women have formed a community group to support each other in the effort to create a small business initiative. The challenge has been to find a product for which there is a demand and supply as they live out on the savannah.

Now they have found a product with lots of customers – sustainable charcoal briquettes.

Last year in October the women bought a small charcoal briquette machine using some of the money they had earned from selling their beading work.

Usually charcoals are made from wood. This kind of charcoal production, however, results in a lot of damage to the forests of Kenya, destroying important ecosystems and cutting down trees that are important for the carbon dioxide capture and the health of the environment.

The charcoal briquettes produced by the Maasai Rianda women’s group are made of cow dung, leaves, and water. These charcoals are therefore a sustainable product with beneficial environmental impact.

One of the main customers for the briquettes is Karen Blixen Camp.

Lillian Kathambi, camp manager, explains, “We use the briquettes for creating warmth indoors when temperatures are cool and the camp staff uses them for their charcoal oven to bake bread and for roasting meats”.

“These briquettes burn much longer than normal charcoal and it is very important for us that they are eco-friendly and that no trees have been cut down for the production”, further explains Ms. Kathambi.

In order to meet the growing demand, the women needed to buy a larger briquette machine. Karen Blixen Camp Trust has now decided to support this important initiative with both a microfinance loan and a donation enabling the women to buy new production equipment.

The new machines have helped increase the request for the briquettes. Now other camps in the Mara area are interested in the project and are placing orders from the women.

This donation is part of the Karen Blixen Camp Trust Empowerment program

If you want to support the empowerment of the maasai women, you are most welcome to make a donation or contact us.

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