The Art and Craft business in Kenya contributes about Sh6 billion to the economy and has created many jobs for rural women and the urban poor. Most of the craft in the market includes sculptures, wood carvings, jewelry, soapstone, and shields, which depict the traditional facet of Kenyans. The most popular markets include Maasai and City markets in Nairobi.
The Maasai Market is a modern display of an indigenous people’s culture. It sells African artefacts and has become a convergence zone for various kinds of people, including tourists, in search of ‘authentic’ African souvenirs.
The market is open several days a week at different locations in Nairobi. The sector has attracted private individuals to open up shop in various towns, mostly tourist destinations. The Maasai sculpture is one of the most famous art works that depicts the culture of the community.
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The Maasai Market Empowerment Trust (MMET), an NGO for artisans at the Maasai Market and other parts of the country, seeks to inform, educate and empower artisans and handicraft makers on intellectual property and protect their creations and inventions through patenting and trade marking. Seminars, campaigns, workshops and other awareness programmes have been used to do this.
The trust also hopes to give financial help to members to expand their businesses. The trust organized an intellectual property rights campaign to agitate for the return of the kiondo (basket), kikoi and other Kenyan innovations that have been patented elsewhere, to their rightful owners.
Kazuri Beads, which supplies beads and African jewelry in Kenya and internationally, has been at the forefront in helping rural women. It is one of the largest companies in Kenya associated with craft.
The Utamaduni Crafts Centre, run by the Kenya Wildlife Service, is an initiative under which local people will benefit. The craft. Industry has undergone hard times with the identity of some trademarks being stolen.
Such is in the case of the Kenya Art and Craft Traders and a UK company over the kikoi. Due to the unfortunate events, the Government is preparing rules that will protect the craft industry.