13 Apr 2016

The rains arrive in Kenya

Being situated on the Equator, Kenya doesn't get a huge variation in seasons like we do in the UK. But the seasons do vary, from rainy season to dry season with long rains occurring around March/April to May/June and short rains arriving in October to November/December time.

The seasons have an impact of everyone since agriculture is the second largest contributor to Kenya's GDP, but for the women of Kenana Knitters it is because they, like most Kenyan families rely on subsistence farming.

All the ladies involved in Kenana Knitters lead extremely full and busy lives, they are responsible for the family homestead and this includes care of the inhabitants both children and animals. The advent of the rains means that planting can begin and thanks to the support of all of you around the world, the sale of the Kenana Critters means ladies such as Nancy Nyambura, have money to buy seed, fertiliser and rent land to plant crops. Knitting the Critters takes back seat over the next 2-3 weeks as the ladies take advantage of this short planting window.

And again in 3 months’ time the knitting will take a back seat, as the harvest begins. The food produced by the harvest will be used to feed the family and livestock and any extra is sold to gain some welcome additional funds for the family coffers.

Kenana Knitters is set up to work around these periods in the ladies lives, we accept that they are the backbone of their family and that for the project to work it needs to be sensitive to the demands on the women from their families and ensure they can maintain both aspects successfully. This is the core ethos behind Kenana and Nancy Nyambura is just one of over 300 ladies who is benefiting from the Kenana dream of changing their lives stitch by stitch. Thank-you for your support.

View the range of lovely toys now at Wildly Woolly Ltd 

21 Mar 2016

Kenana Knitters give out 100 Ruby cups.

Kenana Knitters is a share profit company which means the profits from worldwide sales go back into helping the women in various areas including health and education. Some of the latest great work has been helping with the issue of women's menstruation. A big problem in the third world.

In November there were 100 Ruby cups handed out at Kenana, Ruby Cups you say? Well, we'll explain.
For most women in the first world, monthly periods or menstruation comes round without much notice or fuss, a quick trip to the supermarket and a packet of tampons or pads and that's the extent of the effort. It is viewed merely as a slight irritation and disruption to our daily routine, 5 days or so of discomfort and life returns to normal.
However, have you ever thought about what happens in a third world country where there isn't a supermarket nearby, and even if there is the cost of the tampons or pads is more than you would spend on a family meal. What would you choose, to feed your family or to buy tampons?  Most women and their daughters will opt to go without those luxuries, instead girls miss school and women take days off work missing out on valuable wages. (To read more about the issue visit the Ruby cup website - HERE)

But in 2011 Ruby Cup began work in Kenya, giving women hope. Menstrual Cups offer a long term solution to the financial constraints and embarrassment as each cup lasts up to 10 years, they are hygienic and use far less water to clean than the endless washing of cloth padding and underwear. Being an internal option they are discreet and effective allowing women to carry out a normal work day with minimal interruptions and shielding them from the public taboo which still shrouds a woman’s menstruation in many communities. 

 So a few months ago Ruby Cup came to Kenana to educate the women on reproductive health and menstrual hygiene, to explain about the benefits and how to use the cups. In conjunction with One Colour (Kenana Down Under), they handed out 100 menstrual cups, to the Kenana ladies and their daughters. 

Thank you Ruby Cup, Kenana Knitters and Kenana Down Under!

Well done ladies!!

12 Feb 2016

Fair Trade for Valentines

It's import to be ethical in all areas of our lives and Valentines is no different, and to make it easier we've got you a list of 5 Ethical and Fairly traded gift shops for you to browse for your partner.

At Valentines the most popular things to give are cards, flowers, chocolates, soft toys and jewellery, so here are some fantastic shops that you can use to choose that Fair gift!

Cards - The Ethical Market Place 'LOST LANES' has a wonderful selection of ethically made Cards (especially great choice of humorous ones).

Flowers - BUNCHES work with growers and suppliers taking a responsible approach to ethical flowers, their packing is all 100% recyclable, and they are offering FREE delivery AND a free box of chocolates for online orders! What's not to love!

Chocolates -  At SEED AND BEAN, their chocolate is 100% Organic and Ethical, and its even handmade in England. They have a fabulous selection of delicious treats and what's more you can even build your own custom chocolate hamper - Oh Yes!

Soft Toys  -  WILDLY WOOLLY  have wonderful handmade, organic cotton or natural wool cuddly toys. Ethically made by the women of 'Kenana Knitters' in Kenya. These gorgeous cuddlies are so cute, it's not just babies who cant help loving them!

Jewellery -  APRIL DOUBLEDAY only uses ethical or Fairtrade certified precious metals in her jewellery, and with a fabulous selection of women and men's gifts we love her beautiful pieces, she even makes wedding jewellery (for your future reference) out of  Fairtrade Gold, Platinum of recycled gold! Love it!

So while all this LOVE is flying around on Valentines day lets make it Fair LOVE that hasn't hurt anyone in the process - what could be more perfect! HAPPY VALENTINES to you all!

18 Jan 2016

A New Year, A New You?

So we've all set some resolutions for New Year, and now it's time to stick them out. If you are anything like me you will know that making them is the easy bit, but actually seeing them through is a completely different story. In fact to be totally honest this year I haven't made any. I did however set some goals before Christmas through a self improvement book I'm working on. And resolutions are a bit like goals, they are something we want to do or achieve.  So in this post I'd like to help you stick to those and give you some tips on the best ways of sticking to your resolutions.

The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking spaces, so keep driving!

The best way to start is to make your resolution into a goal. This is because a goal is not just a statement, it goes deeper, looking into and setting out a pathway that leads you to achieve them, and it needs to be laid down in a certain way according to the book I'm reading:

S - Specific
M - Measurable
A - Attainable
R - Realistic
T - Time limited

As well as positively framed!! This is a hugely important step because, if Professor Wiseman from the University of Hertfordshire is correct, 'only 10% of people succeeded in reaching their New Years resolutions', he knows that because 90% of the 5,000 people he followed failed with theirs.
But don't let that get you down and cause you to give up and go straight out to your newsagents for a chocolate.... He found that one of the reasons was that they focused too much on the downside of not achieving their goal. Looking into this further, the book I'm reading tells us that there are two types of goals:

Approach Goals - goals that are moving towards something positive
Avoidance goals - goals framed in a way that focus on trying to get away from something bad or negative.

The authors use an example where you are to imagine running away from a Tiger, the avoidance goal would be 'to avoid being eaten', compared to the approach goal of 'finding safety'. Have a think and see what you conjure up when you think about both of these in terms of your own goal. I am sure like me you will find that when you think about the goal in terms of an approach goal it is far more motivating, positive and empowering, and takes the focus away from the negative (what you are missing out on, giving up, getting away from). We could say that an Approach goal is a positive re-frame of an avoidance goal, which helps if you are anything like me and your automatic, knee jerk thought when setting a goal or resolution is always on what I want to give up, leave, remove from my life.
So lets take an example of a resolution many people make 'I want to lose weight', we know that one way to lose weight is to do more exercise so let's positively frame this - 'I am going to get fitter!'

Lets turn it into an Approach goal and use the above factors to increase our chances of success:


S - I'm going to go to the gym, and I'm going to go walking.
M - Go to the Gym once a week for an hour, and walk for half an hour on a Tuesday and Thursday night
A - We haven't gone overboard and tried to make goals of going to the gym every night which in most peoples lives would take up too much time and we'd find we'd soon give up. And we haven't tried to push ourselves to doing something that will cost the earth or be difficult to achieve. We've kept it simple and attainable.
R - We've chosen things that are not unrealistic, the gym (in our case is walking distance to my house) so I have no reason not to be able to get there, and walking is something I don't need any equipment and can do at any time just walk out my door!
'Remember make the right thing the easy thing to do'
T - For the next three month this is my goal. After that I will review.

Now comes the motivation, a lot of us give up because we don't have the motivation, but if you have a read of a great blog post we found on motivation - its says that

'If we wait for Motivation to show up, we wont show up'. 

And that Motivation is more a result of doing something ie. by going to the gym you feel good and that creates the motivation to go again. So all you need to do is take the first step.

But remember  - To reach your goals you have to try new things, goals are all about what you are trying to do, but nothing is set in stone, you can change them and tweek them any time, so if your gym is too expensive maybe take up a yoga class once a week, or walk to work one day a week if you don't have time in the evening that day.

Finally when push comes to shove - actually it doesn't matter if you don't achieve your goal entirely, only that you are trying! So if you've made some resolutions but are struggling to stick to them, go back through this blog and turn your resolution in to an Approach goal and start again! Good luck, you can do it!