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Ushanga Sasa Enterprises: Empowering Maasai Women through Beadwork and Economic Growth

beadwork empserve

In the heart of Maparasha Town, nestled in the vibrant Kajiado County, Agnes Ntini, a visionary entrepreneur, is leading the charge to empower the Maasai community through the art of beadwork. Her venture, Ushanga Sasa Enterprises, not only preserves the rich cultural heritage of the Maasai people but also aims to provide economic opportunities for the women in the community. 

Agnes is one of the beneficiaries of the  W4-EmpServe Enterprise Incubation Program. The Enterprise Incubation program exists to fill the gap  of skills structure, or capital to grow for small businesses in last mile communities. It aims to help create and scale high-potential youth-led social enterprises as a means of tackling youth unemployment challenge in Kenya while promoting a more prosperous and stable society through social impact.

Agnes successfully completed the program and received funding to grow her business. The program is funded by The Women’s Worldwide Web ( W4).

The Maasai Cultural Significance

The Maasai community is renowned for its deep-rooted cultural traditions, with beadwork playing a pivotal role in their attire and identity. For the Maasai women, adorning themselves with beads is not just a tradition but a symbol of beauty and cultural pride. Despite the significance of beadwork, the economic benefits for the community have been limited due to a lack of market linkages beyond their immediate surroundings.

Agnes Ntini’s Vision

Agnes Ntini, driven by a desire to uplift her community, founded Ushanga Sasa Enterprises. Her goal is to empower Maasai women by imparting the latest beadwork designs and creating market opportunities beyond Kajiado. Recognizing the global appreciation for Maasai beadwork, Agnes envisions a thriving business that not only sustains cultural traditions but also provides a sustainable source of income for the artisans.

Ushanga Sasa Enterprises specializes in a diverse range of beadwork, including beads, necklaces, Maasai shawls, and fabric. The exquisite craftsmanship of these items has attracted both local and international tourists, creating a demand that Agnes seeks to meet with her unique and trendy designs.

Against All Odds

The persistent drought in Kajiado County over the past two years has posed a significant challenge to Ushanga Sasa Enterprises. Decreased sales and buying power among the residents, who are major customers, have impacted the cash flow of the business. Agnes is determined to overcome this hurdle by establishing more market linkages outside Kajiado, ensuring a steady flow of sales and a resilient business model.

Ushanga Sasa Enterprises has the potential for substantial growth. Agnes’s future prospects include expanding the market reach beyond Kajiado, targeting customers both nationally and internationally. By doing so, she aims to create a sustainable economic ecosystem that not only preserves the Maasai culture but also provides a brighter future for the women involved in beadwork.

Ushanga Sasa Enterprises, under the leadership of Agnes Ntini, is not just a business; it’s a beacon of hope and empowerment for the Maasai women in Kajiado County. Through the preservation of cultural traditions and the pursuit of economic opportunities, Agnes is turning beadwork from a hobby into a powerful tool for community development. As Ushanga Sasa continues to evolve, it stands as a testament to the transformative impact of entrepreneurship on preserving heritage and fostering economic growth.

Agnes a native Kajiadonlady is pictured outside a shop holding Maasai beadwork jewellery

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