Empowering women to support holistic community growth

Mifuko Trust was founded in 2012 to tackle poverty and empower families and communities through projects that improve their well-being in the rural region of Machakos in Kenya.

Empowering women is also an effective way of helping communities as a whole.

Mifuko Trust Mission

  • Improve the livelihoods of local women groups.
  • Support sustainable development.
  • Achieve an international exchange of know-how and promote the handicraft tradition of the local community.

Our first project in 2013

The first Mifuko Trust project took place in 2013 in Kibera, the largest slum in Nairobi. Steve Kine, a professional jewelry smith, was about to lose his workspace because his landlord was selling the container he worked in to make his jewelry and other items. Mifuko Trust helped Steve buy the container so he no longer needed to pay monthly rent or worry about the future of his property, which makes planning and business development much easier. The container was paid in part by Steve and the balance was donated by Mifuko Trust.

Steve Kine used to make aluminium jewelry and other metal items for Mifuko.

Domestic animals for every family

In the summer 2015, Mifuko Trust bought a Kenyan cow with the proceeds from two events – the Nordic Christmas Market in Nairobi 2014 and the Restaurant Day event in Helsinki in 2015. The cow now lives with a group of Mifuko´s basket makers in a rural village in Machakos County and the artisans, her happy and proud caretakers, decided to call her Mifuko. Mifuko Trust paid for the vet expenses as well as the cowshed and the artisans prepared for the arrival of the cow by cultivating fodder.

The sale of Mifuko’s milk brings the artisans a new source of regular income which after expenses for her upkeep is used for a mutually agreed purpose. In the future, the group aims to use their savings to build a small house to bring in rental income. Working together toward shared goals improves their co-operation skills, which in turn empowers the whole group.

Our goal is that eventually all Mifuko groups will have their own domestic animals.

In due time, the future calf of Mifuko will brighten the future of another group of basket makers.

Protection from sun and rain & dry toilets

Although the artisans usually work from home, every week they get together to meet up and work in the beautiful outdoors of Kenya. Whilst assessing the artisans’ needs, it became evident that the meetings would be best kept in a shelter that protects the artisans from both the sun and rain.

Together with Vilma Autio, Mifuko Trust designed a shelter made of ecological and locally sourced materials that has a dry toilet and a system for collecting rainwater. The dry toilet was designed by Huussi Ry.

The collection of rainwater and the promotion of sanitary development through the  use of a dry toilet have benefited the whole community. The project has been a valuable source of knowhow for local builders and has strengthened the community by providing a common meeting place.

This pilot project was designed specifically to be easily replicated in other communities as it does not require expensive tools.

The first shelter and dry toilet were built during the spring of 2017 and in 2020 we will see new dry toilets being built.

Mifuko Trust is currently reaching over 600 families

Mifuko Trust works with 20 Mifuko Design women's self-help groups, with up to 35 women in each, reaching approximately 600-700 families in the low income rural region Machakos in Kenya. Each of the 600-700 families has an average of 5 members, so the program directly - and positively - impacts the lives of up to 3,500 women, men and children in the region.

The artisans' education levels are low and they typically work in farming and housekeeping, during their free time they weave baskets for Mifuko. Climate change has led to recurring droughts making farming an all too often unreliable source of income and food, increasing the importance of a holistic approach to livelihood.

Monitoring and reporting

Mifuko Trust regularly monitors the needs and wishes of the women working with Mifuko. Through regularly assessing their needs, new projects and ideas are developed for which funds are raised through special events and institutional fund raising.

The aid reaches the beneficiaries directly and through Mifuko’s consultants in Kenya and our regular visits with the artisans we are able to follow the development of the projects.

Contact us about Mifuko Trust