A WOMEN GROUP IN MERTI DISTRICT from Isiolo County is using cultural guest houses (Bandas) to promote culture among their community.
The well built traditional houses are a true reflection of Borana culture and origins.
The round shaped huts are made of grass and reeds with a traditional woven door curtain that gives a sense of Borana culture.
Inside is a traditional bed, well spread with colorful sheets.
Badha Women Self – Help Group from Biliko Village stand out because of this project.
The group, which started in 2009 has brought together 31 members whose objective is to tap into ways of building resilience among its members, using different forms of interventions, culture promotion being one of them.
This group has constructed a cultural village with Bandas – traditional Borana houses which they rent to clients and earn them income.
Through funding from Cordaid, a non-government organization (NGO) under the climate smart project, the group secured funding which helped them construct the cultural facility.
“We also do beading of traditional Borana ornaments and bags which we display at this cultural village. People get attracted to them and buy as decorations in their houses.” Says Zainabu Malicha, chair of the group.
She further testifies on how they have improved their lives through the cultural project. “As a group we have the Bandas and also make traditional ornaments which we sell to conservancy owners. Our lives have improved; we no longer feel the effects of drought because we get income from this project.”
The Bandas are also used with newlyweds as their honey moon nest.
Also, they have a traditionally built social hall which is hired for people with different types of functions. All these tap into their income basket.
Zainabu Further explains, “As a group we realised that our culture was fading away as the new generation comes in, we thought of an idea that would remind them of their culture.”
Mariam Godana, a member of the group says that they have incorporated children in the project. “We train them on traditions of the Borana community. The pupils are drawn from the nearby villages. They range from class 5 to eight.”
Zeituna Roba, from Cordaid confirms how they have been working with the women group through resilience building projects.
“The culture idea was very appealing to us because this is a region where drought is common. We helped them with funding and they are now doing well economically.”