Basecamp Explorer Foundation
Basecamp Maasai Brand (BMB) – Sustainability report May 2018
Lack of economic opportunities for women is a major global concern, which hinders gender equality and economic development worldwide. To enhance women’s economic empowerment, Basecamp established the Basecamp Maasai Brand (BMB) in 2003. BMB, a not for profit Kenyan registered Community Based Organization (CBO) is a community based handicraft workshop that empowers Maasai women while preserving the traditional Maasai beading practice. Although this initiative cannot pay out any dividends to Maasai women or other stakeholders, it helps reduce poverty by providing a source of income to over 150 Maasai women indirectly benefitting about 600 people.
As a certified Fair trade brand, the BMB women receive 55% of the production price enabling them meet their basic needs while the remaining 45% is used to cover management costs and to buy materials. To date, 60% of the women have installed solar panels in their homes, educated their children to secondary school level and bought water tanks which provide them with clean water. Additionally, the communal setting at the BMB workshop, enables the women share ideas and engage in financial education where they learn how to save and borrow amongst themselves.
In the last 3 years, BMB has grown financially and is now profitable enabling the project support its overhead and administrative costs. In 2017, BMB received Kshs 7.5 million in sales earned from local, international and online sales. This success was attributed to improved quality of beaded items, an increased product range, additional insight from regular customers and online research, partnering with Karisa/Kari – an international distributor as well as increased sales from camps in Masai Mara and the Basecamp gift shop. BMB’s online sales currently stand at 57% of the total sales.
The BMB women envision a project with high quality items and a fully fledged business with outlets across Kenya which will be facilitated by a vehicle that will help deliver products to local shops and clients. The BMB initiative also needs a new production facility with more sitting space for the Maasai women and more storage space for the leather and beaded items. With proper lighting, the Maasai women can work for longer hours to complete and pack the beaded items for sale. A proper well maintained website and additional shops at other Basecamp properties such as Eagle View and Leopard Hill will help the BMB women provide their clients with more items and in turn increase their sales.
Monitoring and Evaluation of the project
To empower the local Maasai women so as to eradicate poverty
Beading using traditional Maasai beading practices
Number of empowered women
Number of beaded items created
Beaded items for sale locally and internationally
Increased revenue for the local Maasai women
Ability to meet basic needs for the families
60% of the BMB women have now purchased water tanks, installed solar panels in their houses and have educated their children beyond secondary school level
Figures for the project
Figures as at end of 2017 (Since project inception)
Qualitative milestones for 2018
Improved quality and quantity of beaded items
Increased sales locally and internationally
Increased outlets across Kenya
Increased revenue for the Maasai women
Project Needs for 2018 (USD)