Ol Malo


Sayen E Ndaa translates as Beads For Food and was first instigated in response to the drought of 1999-2000. It was such a success that it has been employed again in more recent years. The concept is to invite all Samburu women to trade their beads with the Ol Malo Trust. For every one ‘old’ bead, we provide two ‘new’ beads (so that the women can continue to produce their traditional beadwork for sale through the Trust), and the equivalent value of food. They choose from a selection of maize, beans, sugar, tea and cooking fat.

Sayen E Ndaa Programme

The use of the ‘Beads for Food’ programme during the 1999 drought proved vital in the Trust’s efforts to assist those Samburu families living within walking distance of Ol Malo (4-5 days). Over 350 women were supported through this programme, with money borrowed from Julia’s family used to buy food and medicine in return for the beads. When the November 2005 rains failed we knew that we were in for another drought, and reinstated the ‘Beads for Food’ programme as a short-term solution to sustain the women and children through to the April rains.


Sayen E Ndaa Programme

The programme began in February; sadly the April rains never appeared, but we raised enough money to begin the programme again in August, to support the women until the arrival of the rains at the end of November. Once again, over 350 women benefited.

An additional side-effect of the Beads For Food programme has been its usefulness in the ‘Ol Malo Eye Project’. When entering a new area of the Samburu District, the people can be very wary of the Ol Malo Eye Team. By setting up the ‘Beads For Food’ programme in the area before the Eye Team visits, Ol Malo is able to win the trust of the local people, and they tend to be more willing to work with the Trachoma Monitors.


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