Friday, October 18, 2013

Week 1/2: Planning and beads!

The first couple of weeks we have been busy exploring ziniare and being introduced to the kindness and hospitality of the community here. The women have made a real effort to welcome us into their community and have made us feel very much at home.

We have spent our first week of work planning dates for expert visits and outreach work so that arrangements can be made for these as soon as possible. Discussions have been taking place with the women and the organisation of Kabeela regarding what they require from our time in Ziniare, to ensure that we have a real impact. The women stated that they would like support with developing and making their products to a higher quality, so we decided to invite three experts to come and deliver training sessions. 
  •           One of the sessions will focus on improving Kabeela’s income generating activity of crocheting bags. The aim is to help the women to be creative with the designs of the bags and to learn more efficient crocheting techniques.
  •      The second expert visit will be aimed at the marketing and promotion of the products the women make. This will help guide the women on how to sell their products and to manage their own business enterprises.
  •       The third expert visit will be with a local artist who specialises in informal education methodologies to help with the training of practical craft skills; these can be used to develop new income generating projects.
Another area we have decided to focus on during our time here is outreach work in the local villages. The outreach work is very important for raising awareness amongst local people about the key issues that affect them and their communities. We therefore plan to run:
  •       A health workshop focusing on issues such as HIV/Aids, malnutrition and Female Genital Mutilation.
  •           Training sessions on the nutritional value of the Moringa plant (basically a superfood grown here, which is high in almost every vitamin, amino acids, can be used to purify water and cultivate soil!).. The training will help to provide the women with information on how to look after the Morgina tree, how to use Moringa in their cooking and the plant’s health benefits. A film documentary will be used as a teaching tool when delivering the training.
  •           A theatre play will be delivered to the local communities, based on issues like political participation and women’s rights. Their participation in the play will help to empower the members of Kabeela and allow them to discuss issues which face them in their daily lives.

Environmental club
The first Environmental Club went well and 14 women attended the session. The club was focused on making bracelets, necklaces and earrings using the paper mache technique. The women were extremely enthusiastic to produce different coloured beads and we introduced the idea of sanding down the beads to give them a smooth surface before painting them. When we asked for feedback, the women stated that they enjoyed the session however they mentioned not feeling confident and wanting more practice. We have incorporated more painting sessions into our planning of the clubs. By the end of the session the women had started to be creative with using the paints; they had been putting different patterns and designs on the beads.
Women practicing painting techniques on papier mache beads

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