The Kinawataka Women Initiatives (KIWOI) was formed in 1998 to empower marginalized women in the Kinawataka slum of Kampala through environmentally conscious economic projects. The organization is led by founder and Executive Director Benedicta Nanyonga and has trained over 734 women across Uganda. KIWOI is environmental focused and recycles used straws into crafts such as bags, mats and jewelry to reduce the amount of discarded plastic waste.
The members of the Kinawataka Womenâ€™s Initiative weave recycled plastic straws in their homes to provide an income for their households. A quarter of KIWOIâ€™s registered members live with HIV and many are stigmatized within their communities. The sale of the straw products allows the women to purchase schoolbooks, pay school fees, and cover food and healthcare costs.
The unique straw products are made from used plastic straws, which the women collect, wash, sterilize and dry in the sun. The straws are flattened and woven at their homes, which means they can still care for their children or weave while at their market stall.
The work of KIWOI has a positive environmental impact in Uganda by creating reusable eco-friendly bags and training community groups on the benefits of recycling. As part of their environmental program, KIWOI distributes reusable bags to supermarkets in Kampala to promote recycling in the country.
KIWOI uses profits generated from the sale of straw products to support 15 orphans from across Uganda. Possibility UK covers the orphanâ€™s school fees while KIWOI provides for all other needs of the children.