Former brewers of illicit alcohol in Elgeyo Marakwet have embarked on efforts to establish a Sh4.5 million maize milling plant in the county.
The women who have undergone rehabilitation want to add value to the maize they previously used to brew busaa, packaging the flour for sale.
Already, the county government has given them a head start by donating Sh2 million towards the project.
A member of the county Youth, Sports, Women and Social Services executive committee, Shadrack Yatich, said the money would benefit women in the four constituencies.
“This is to fulfill our pledge to economically empower women who quit the illicit brew business to engage in meaningful initiatives,” said Mr Yatich.
The money will be channeled through the Gracious Empowerment Women Organisation (Gewo) that is working with the county to rehabilitate the brewers.
Gewo coordinator Elizabeth Keitany said the women had also started saving toward the maize milling project by contributing Sh10 every day.
Ms Keitany said the women were looking for well-wishers to bridge the shortfall by April next year.
“We have done research and established that the milling plant we are targeting costs Sh 4.5 million to establish. Once we launch operations and start selling the packaged maize flour, these women will be self-sufficient for years to come,” she added.
Ms Keitany was speaking during a football game organised by the county government in Chepkorio, Keiyo South as part of the International Women’s Day Celebrations.
Elgeyo Marakwet women representative Susan Chebet praised the women for abandoning the illicit brew business.
“This is a dirty job that only serves to degrade women by offering cosmetic solutions to their economic problems. We need our women to be liberated from this yoke,” she said.
Dr Chebet said she would work closely with the women to raise funds and to look for other opportunities to empower more women economically.
“Today we have run kicking the ball. It has reminded me of those days we used to run from security officers who would raid our homes to arrest us. We used to live tension-packed lives,” said Anita Kurui.
She said the women had decided to make good use of the maize, which they have been using to brew busaa, to produce food to feed the county and beyond.
“We have been producing alcohol that has wrecked lives in this county. We now want to change and feed them while making meaningful earnings to uplift our lives and those of our families,” added Ms Kurui.