"There really is no way to best describe the women of Kalimani, other than to say they are the salt of the earth."

-Geraldine Roberts, Kenyan Artist

The women of Kalimani exemplify the strength, reliance, and creativity of Kamba women. Traditionally, women farm a plot of land to secure food for their families and take primary responsibility for the care of children and the household. They engage with zeal in activities that bring the community together and are often problem-solving to meet familial needs, including those of extended family and neighboring friends. In the dry season (August through November), when food is more challenging to secure, women engage in "juakali", or innovative income-generating activities, to help provide for themselves, their families, and community members.

Basket weaving is a traditional Kamba art form that women pass down from one generation to the next. The beautiful baskets are made by hand - start to finish. From the harvesting of sisal to make thread for the baskets, to the spinning, dying, and weaving of the thread, each basket is filled with the innovative touch and unique love of the Kamba woman who made it. Kamba baskets can be found all over the world because of their functional utility, colorful appeal, and the positive energy they exude.

Kalimani women face a number of health challenges that are difficulty to surmount in the face of poverty and limited access to healthcare. In focus group discussions facilitated by We Are Wendo, they identified access to prenatal care and safe deliveries (at home and at Kalimani Health Center), HIV testing and treatment, and healthy foods during famine season as priority areas in improving and sustaining their own health. Currently, prenatal care is available at the Kalimani Health Center and there are nurse midwives trained in safe motherhood working in the village. However, there is limited capacity to refresh midwives in their training, train new midwives, and ensure safe night-time deliveries at the health center due to the lack of electricity. In turn, while HIV testing can be performed at the Health Center, ongoing care at the Center is a challenge because laboratory services are unavailable (also due to lack of electricity).In previous years, a dedicated food supplementation program was available at the Health Center during famine season but has since collapsed due to limited funding. Despite these challenges, women continue to organize, create joy, and inspire.

There are several self-directed women's groups in the community that have structured, monthly meetings and microfinance initiatives that support women collectively in running their own small businesses. These groups in turn serve as a means by which women can encourage one another through the triumphs and challenges of life and generate ideas for community-initiated development projects. We are Wendo has invested in a microfinance program for single mothers to support their income-generating activity of basket weaving.

100% of profits earned for each basket sold pours directly back into We Are Wendo's initiatives.