Josephine Mbenya, Empowering Women Through Social Enterprise
Josephine Mbenya lives in the rural Yatta district of Machakos County, Kenya. The majority of Yatta’s residents are small-scale agriculturalists who rely upon their crops for subsistence. For the past few years, Josephine has watched as her community has struggled to cope with the environmental devastation caused by global climate change. Failing crop yields have resulted in widespread hunger and poverty across the region, with women and children bearing the brunt of the social and economic hardships.
Josephine’s project, Empowering Women Through Social Enterprise, will help local women turn an important cultural tradition into an environmentally-friendly, marketable commodity.
Over the next 12 months Josephine will help 20 women from Yatta organize a basket weaving cooperative. Baskets will be woven using traditional techniques and fibers from the drought resistant sisal plant. Josephine will provide participants with materials, as well as help them market their products to local businesses. Additionally, participants will form a cooperative bank where women will be encouraged to place a portion of their earnings to encourage saving and future investment.
GRANT AWARD DATE: September 3, 2015