Women Entrepreneurs: Adding Value

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Esther Mjoki Maima

Esther Mjoki Maima

Esther Mjoki Maifa, a soft spoken woman in her late thirties, says she is “a product of Mazingira’s work” because they, along with the Ministry of Agriculture, trained her how to make the groundnut butter she’s selling in her neighborhood in Nairobi.

She processes the groundnuts without any preservatives or chemicals, capitalizing on a growing interest among Kenyans for natural and healthy products. It takes her about one day to produce 50 kilograms of groundnuts and she sells jars from 200-300 shillings each. Ms. Maifa is hoping to make enough money from her products to purchase her own nut grinding machine.

Like Mrs. Maifa, Margaret Ngeri Ndimy is also processing a common product in Kenya—bananas. She received training at Mazingira on how to make banana jam, preserved with natural ingredients. She’s also raising goats and packaging the milk in 1 and 1. 5 liter bags that she seals herself with a candle (the milk is unpasteurized, so consumers need to boil it to make it safe for drinking.)

milk

Milk packaged in 1 and 1. 5 liter bags and sealed with a candle

One challenge both women face is transporting their products. Each woman has to carry them to the stores, limiting the number of places where they can be sold.  But the marketing and business skills the women have learned and are teaching others will likely help overcome these obstacles in the future.

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