Design-Jua Kali Craft Collaboration: a study of Laikipia beadwork in Laikipia district, Kenya
Over the past seven and a half years, this researcher has been involved in designing for the Jua Kali craft industry in Kenya. Her experiences, especially the challenges and frustrations, initiated this study and outcome. While preparing for the study, she came across Voluntary Services Oversees (VSO) Jitolee, which is an NonGovernmentalOrganization (NGO) that, among other projects, works with marginalized and poor communities in their Secure Livehood programme. The Secure Livelihood programme focuses on enterprise development initiatives as a means of creating economic empowerment for their target partners. Among these partners are the Maa speaking women of Laikipia disctrict who make beadwork. The researcher took up the opportunity of studying 'Design-Jua Kali craft collaboration' in this community. The study first explored the present role of design in the Jua Kali craft industry. This formed the backbone to the study which aimed at examining Design and Jua Kali craft collaboration and more specifically if the collaboration is beneficial and if so, how the relationship can be improved or made more effective. As background to this research, a review of secondary sources of information on the issues was conducted. The information was difficult to obtain because it is more often contained in consultancy reports from non scholarly efforts on the field rather than in published books or articles. Primary data was also collected to support the background data, examine any collaboration between Design and Jua Kali craft and explore how the collaboration can be made mutually beneficial.