Saturday will be the big flour-grinding day at the second mill of our Project. It will be in Emairete, a village of Moduli Juu, well located at the site of the big Saturday Maasai market up there.
Focusing on organizing and empowering women, the Maasai Stoves & Solar Project has become an incubator for ideas, innovation, and new forms of empowerment.
Among the Maasai there are especially poor women, many of whom are widows. In collaboration with friends from CODEGAZ, we decided to launch a corn-grinding business run by women to generate income while employing these neediest of women.
With a generous grant from CODEGAZ, a French NGO made up of volunteers from GDF Suez, we established the first ICSEE/CODEGAZ corn flour mill at the big Maasai market just outside Mto wa Mbu.
The Project hired widows to receive full training and staff the mill. Each worker now receives a much-needed stipend, and also receives an ICSEE stove for a healthier home.
The mill faces the town’s market and is open five days a week. Market day is Thursday, and it’s a very busy day for the mill. Dozens of women buy corn kernels in 20-kilogram bags at the market. They bring them right over to the mill for grinding into flour.
Although we developed the plan as a creative solution to the needs of the widows, there are additional positive outcomes that we did not anticipate. In fact, the mill has become an important social center at the market. As the staff learn to run and maintain the machines, the women at the market observe them. They meet there in a new atmosphere of empowerment that is growing out of the Project in all its manifestations.
We are so gratified to see that the new consciousness that these activities engender are in fact examples of working for the most sustainable forms of empowerment.
The women of Maasai Stoves & Solar look forward to the day they can help establish mills in Emireti Village of Monduli Juu, and in Longido town.
Thank you to CODEGAZ and all of you who help to support this work.