Pendeza Weaving Project was born in 1980 by Mr. William Okello on a verandah in the slums of Nyalenda Kisumu town. The project vision was to empower women and youth towards self-empowerment through self-employment. The project offices were later relocated to Nyamasaria, and with an in-kind donation of spinning wheels and handlooms from the British Government employed 5 more persons. The first woman to be recruited into the project was his wife, Mrs. Margaret Okello who later recruited more women into the project. Mr. William Okello founded the Enterprise after attending Technical Training on hand weaving, spinning, and dye in 1977 -1979 through the support of the German Government.
The project has grown over the years through cotton growing and value addition through local and international support from UK High Commission, The German Government, Aid to Artisan USA among others. In 2006, through the support of the Safaricom Foundation, the project launched a workshop in Kapiyo, Bondo sub-county with the vision of creating rural empowerment through self-employment in cotton growing, processing, and value addition. Through the African Women Development Fund (AWDF) and Action Aid Fund, the project has conducted pieces of training in cotton growing and processing, tie and dye, hand spinning, knitting, crocheting, and hand weaving. The project has since empowered over 500 families in eradicating abject poverty and transform communities. After 36 years Margaret and William have developed Pendeza to be where it is today with the help of other community members dedicated to seeing their communities being transformed.
Eradicating extreme poverty: Our birth as a community hand weaving and spinning group supporting women and vulnerable youths to fight poverty, create employment and self-reliance has been supported by a youthful women led leadership. For 40 years till today, we are still focused on championing hand weaving and spinning as tools communities can use in fighting Poverty and improving household income.
Mitigating climate change: Pendeza is working towards upgrading production to solar-powered handlooms and spinning wheels that will be distributed to community members with focus on women head households. Solar-powered machinery is less bulky and has a higher production capacity. This will enable beneficiaries to work from home hence providing more convenience in the COVID-19 era.
Supporting Universal Health Coverage (UHC): Pendeza has partnered with Elixir Medical Group, a team of clinicians in Kisumu, towards a community-financed health care system. The goal of the partnership is to pilot an integrated & people-centered health service delivery towards Universal Health Coverage by providing the elderly and families working in the informal sector access to convenient medical care.