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        SATUBO Women Group

        The SATUBO Women Group is a community project envisioned to empower women and promote sustainable development of rural communities. Members of SATUBO primarily come from Jerusalem village, near Segera Retreat, the headquarters of the Zeitz Foundation. The village is made up of small, traditional huts constructed from clay and grass, which house as many as ten family members. The Jerusalem community faces challenges such as lack of education and poverty.

        The group is made up of women from three different communities from Northern Kenya brought together by the need to create alternative income sources from their age-old tradition of beading. It consists of women from the Samburu, Turkana and Borana communities, who form the SATUBO Beading Group, abbreviated from the first two letters of their community’s name.


        The women, coming from different tribes, are united in their common ambition to improve the living situation of their community and the name SATUBO has come to symbolize the unity and the belief that an individual is stronger through co-operation. 


        The journey of SATUBO since its establishment in 2011 has been an interesting one.  The beading group has worked closely with Ethical Fashion Initiative (EFI), a United Nation initiative working to change the way the international fashion business works. The organisation sees fashion as a vehicle out of poverty and assists the fashion world with embracing the skills of artisans in the developing world. EFI’s overarching goal is to empower women by creating work, so that by earning a regular income, women can improve the circumstances of their families and their communities. This principle well resonates the Zeitz Foundation’s holistic 4Cs approach - achieving sustainability through the balance of conservation, community, culture and commerce.


        The group has also been involved in a project initiated by British designer and internationally renowned trendsetter Dame Vivienne Westwood. Dame Westwood appointed SATUBO to create traditional designs to be incorporated into her line of bags and accessories, which were then sold internationally under her own label.



        Indeed, the SATUBO Beading Group reflects the 4Cs philosophy of the Zeitz Foundation. It promotes conservation by creating an alternative source of income that limits the dependence on livestock and reduces overgrazing; the project benefits the entire community by empowering women and provides an important social setting for the group members and SATUBO sustains an important part of the local culture by preserving the age-old practice of beading and traditional design. Finally, the beading group promotes local commerce by offering uneducated women the opportunity to obtain an independent income and further financial freedom. 


        Importantly 70% of the income from SATUBO goes directly to the women themselves. The remaining 30% are spent to cover management costs – whatever is left over the group saves communally. The income has enormous effect on the lives of the women as well as the entire Jerusalem community. The women’s main priorities are their children, and they primarily spend their income on their children’s education and health. The elimination of middlemen ensures that the money benefits those that need and deserve it the most.

        The beading activities have enabled the community to develop livelihood strategies that draw upon their own cultural and traditional heritage, whilst improving their livelihoods. The SATUBO Beading Group is a great example of how communities can collaborate to combat climate change while at the same time greatly improve their sources of income.

        Sample products:


        Beaded saltshaker and pepper mill: Saltshaker and pepper mill decorated with black and white and green and orange Samburu beads respectively. 


        Beaded waste paper basket: Woven sisal waste paper basket with a decorative beaded finish in traditional Samburu style.


        Bed cover with beaded panel - side view: Bed cover decorated with beads in a pattern fashioned to mimic traditional Samburu neckpiece


        Black and white curtain tieback: Curtain tie-back with decorative black and white Samburu beads, finished with small aluminium discs.


        Bed cover with beaded panel: A bed cover with a decorative panel of black and white Samburu beads.

        Bed cover with decorative beaded panel: Bed cover with decorative panel of colourful Samburu beads. 


        Bed cover with decorative red beaded panel: Bed cover decorated with beads in a pattern fashioned to mimic traditional Samburu neckpiece


        To place an order for these and such products, kindly send an e-mail to : 


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