Kiondo Weavers

Weaving Kiondos

The kiondo (kee-yon/-doh) is a basket found in the Kamba and other Kenyan tribes that women make from yarn woven around a sisal frame. It is a time-honored custom for mothers to weave kiondos for their daughters as a wedding gift.

In the field

When CISS’s founders came to Ngomano in 2004 to talk about starting a school, they admired the beautiful kiondos women were carrying. Thinking of fundraising potential for the school, they offered to buy the baskets in bulk. The 4 remaining elders who could make kiondos - by then considered old fashioned - began a small production to sell to the Americans.

Inspired by the success of these kiondo sales, more women got involved and suddenly daughters were asking mothers to teach them the art. The Ngomano women began to loan money to one another to buy sisal and yarn, and a cottage industry was begun.

Today over 120 women in the region are engaged in this enterprise. Their earnings help put food on the table, outfit their children in uniforms, and for Clay parents, help support the school.

In the field

These empowered women, now role models, are stimulating the economic life of their community, with a wide range of benefits. Project Education Inc. buys their kiondos, sells them abroad, and sends 100% of its (PEI’s) profits back to the Clay International Secondary School. Everybody wins - the families, the CISS students, the community.

  • In the field
  • In the field

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