Today we join the rest of the world in celebrating International Women’s Day (IWD) a day to recognize the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Celebrated annually on March 8, since early 1900, the day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender equality. While we know that gender equality won’t happen overnight, the good news is that across the world women are making positive gains day by day.
At Basecamp Explorer, Kenya, we believe in empowering and providing opportunities for Maasai women. Basecamp believes that by supporting women one subsequently supports the entire Maasai community since women tend to spend the majority of their income on their family, children’s health and education.
The Maasai community is a strict patriarchal environment where young Maasai girls are in desperate need of role models who can show them that anything is possible regardless of their sex. To help women help themselves, Basecamp introduced the Basecamp Masai Brand a community program aimed at enhancing women’s economic empowerment.
The program was started in 2003 and over the years about 158 women from the community around where Basecamp operates have benefited from it. The Maasai women create handcraft products made from recycled items, local leather, and beads. The products are then sold and each Maasai woman earns a direct cash as a result of the fair trade agreement.
These women are among a small but growing handful of women trying to change the perception that only men can provide for their families in Masai Mara. They have made a true example of what others can achieve.