The Status of Traditional Handicraft industry in Kenya

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The Status of Traditional Handicraft industry  Kenya

Traditional handicraft is a common thing in Kenya and it exist in different forms. There is a great deal of interdependence between tourism and traditional handicraft industries in Kenya.  The following is a discussion of the status of traditional handicraft industry in Kenya.

By the year 2018, the number of people entering Jomo Kenyatta International airport increased up to 1.34 million. Out of this, over 70% were tourists and the rest were business travelers. Kenya’s tourism industry performed well during that year.

Traditional costumes,  accessories and all kinds of sculptures exist in the craft industry in Kenya.

Deterioration in development momentum of craft industry

However, in recent years, the industry has faced obstacles in its growth and development. This is because of low education among those who make these amazing handicrafts.

Other reasons for insufficient development momentum include economic factors such as lack of adequate resources to run the business.

Inadequate education on craftmanship is because the course is not currently offered in the students’ curriculum in Kenya.

Before the year 2000, many schools offered traditional handicraft as a course to train students.

But then there was a change in education system in Kenya and only few institutions offer such trainings for those interested in traditional handicraft. Most of the young craftsmen are trained by the industry itself.

Fewer young citizens of Kenya are involved in crafting industry. This leaves out a large group of young and older people out of the industry. While this could generate employment opportunities for the jobless, it has not generated such opportunities in large quantities.

Because only fewer young people are trained on crafting, it is often very difficult to find craftmen in the market today. Returns on investment are quite smaller in the industry and in future, fewer young people will chose to join the industry.

Bomas of Kenya

Bomas of Kenya was established in 1971 by the Kenyan government. It was mainly designed to promote and maintain cultural values of the ethnic groups that exist in the country. This is because there was a need to maintain the rich Kenyan culture.

“Boma” is a Swahili word meaning “homestead”. Bomas of Kenya represent the homesteads of each of the 42 tribes of Kenya. It describes how each community leaves in their various homesteads.

Each Boma ( homestead) was built by specifications of traditional Kenyan tribes mostly through architecture, craft, traditional music and dance. Bomas of Kenya serves the Kenyan culture and represent the status of traditional handicraft in Kenya.

What travelers say about “Bomas”

“Bomas of Kenya is the ideal place to bring energetic children as they can freely run in and out of the traditional houses & mud huts, climb up ladders and generally have a wonderfully active time.” “I recommend Bomas of Kenya!”

“There are two parts to this visit. The first tours through a series of tribal accommodation and living arrangements. The second is a fantastic music and dance show with lots of rhythm, athleticism and humour.”

The Status of Traditional handicraft industry in Kenya
Image source: Instagram

You may also read: Review of Bomas of Kenya

The impact of tourism on handicraft industry in Kenya

The traditional handicraft stores in Kenya retain up to 60% of tourist customers. Some handicraft stores reach up to 70% of tourist customers. Such an active tourism sector provide good market opportunities for companies dealing with handicraft products. This is mainly because craft products attract tourists who visit Kenya.

Some foreign tourists have liked traditional beads to the extent of importing the beads. They love the out look of the beads and story behind their existence.

Other than the advantages tourism has on handicraft industry, there are advantages too. The influence of tourism on handicraft is the reason behind traditional culture degeneration.  Traditional culture is seriously lost and culture symbols are degenerated.