Women’s Entrepreneur Network

We’re supporting women to strengthen ties between communities and show how women can build peace in fragile environments.

Josephine (photo), a Samburu businesswoman who trades maize across tribal lines, inspired the startups and will head the Samburu network.

Climate change, peace, and feminist action. All through ten courageous women and with our support.

About the Network

The Women’s Entrepreneur Network is made up of 10 women from two opposing pastoralist tribes in Northern Kenya—5 from Longewan (of the Samburu tribe) and 5 from Amaya (of the Pokot tribe). 

Each group of women has come up with their own business plan to run a group business. In Longewan, the women will buy and sell goats at local markets and in times of drought will venture into creating beaded goods and selling food stuffs and winter clothing. In Amaya, the women have also decided to buy and sell goats at local markets.

The groups will save a percentage of profits from their group businesses to boost their individual businesses. The Samburu and Pokot groups will meet once a month to trade lessons learned and help each other grow their group and individual businesses.

In addition to their business ventures, the Women’s Entrepreneur Network will foster inter-community peace by helping expand the womens’ exposure to customers from the opposing tribe. The women will act as a support group for each other and be informants if they hear of any conflict being planned against the opposing tribe.

Josephine, a Samburu businesswoman who trades maize across tribal lines, inspired the startups and is the chairperson of the Samburu women’s network group. According to Josephine, “without peace, you can’t do anything.”

Joyce, a Samburu mother of seven who owns a maize mill and sells petrol for motorbikes. In times of tension, she lets Pokot customers store their maize and charcoal at her shop. She hopes that the Women’s Entrepreneur Network will create inter-community friendships while also expanding their businesses’ markets.

Naanyu owns a shop where she sells a variety of items to Samburu and Pokot customers. During times of tension, business goes down because it’s not safe for her Pokot customers to visit her shop. Naanyu hopes that the network will bring peace and help sustain her business by expanding her customer base through direct contact with Pokot businesswoman.

Margaret, a 34 year old mother of 3 and an owner of a butchery and restaurant that serves both Pokot and Samburu individuals. Through the Women’s Entrepreneur Network, Margaret hopes that she can improve her restaurant and butchery by buying more chairs, building a counter to arrange her inventory, and hopefully purchase a butchery window so her customers can view the meat for sell.

Fatuma is a mother of five and a strong advocate for peace. She is among the top businesswoman in her area—associating with both Pokot and Samburu communities through her restaurant. Fatuma hopes that the Women’s Network will not just help her grow her business, but also form and strengthen inter-community relationships with Pokot and Samburu women.

Chepsait is a 30 year old mother of 8 and an advocate for peace in her community. She owns a restaurant and a shop in the Pokot village of Amaya. She says that the women’s network will help give her and other Pokot businesswoman security, leading them to create sustainable livelihoods without conflict. She is the chairperson of the Pokot women’s network group.

Chepochomorko is a 60 year old mother of 11. Before the drought, she’d sell maize, beans, sugar, and soap—now, she only sells sugar. According to her, the Samburu are just like family. She even lets them bring their cows to her homestead if there is more grass around her compound. Chepochomorko hopes that the Women’s Network will contribute to building peace between Samburu and Pokot communities and grow each women’s individual businesses.

Chepochonyir, a 38 year old mother of 8, sells whatever she can get hands on including sugar, cooking oil, and salt. Drought, however, has forced her to limit her stock. She hopes that both groups of women can lift each other up and promote peace through their business ventures.

Chepochesundo is a mother to 9 children and started selling sugar, beans, and maize from her shop. However, the drought keeps her from being able to sell grow in-demand crops, thus keeping her from restocking her shop. She hopes that the women’s network will build peace, because when there’s nothing to fear they can successfully conduct their businesses.