Conservation Empowers Women: Nolmekigi Lengilili

Nolmekigi's story exemplifies how conservation can empower women and improve their families' well-being.

Women & Water

Nolmekigi explains how access to water changed her life.


At 18, Nolmekigi Lengilili was married into a poor family. Her only income came from their five goats. Now in her late 20s, this Samburu woman has known poverty, lack of security and hardship for most of her life in the Northern Kenya Rangelands (NRT).

In 2006, NRT Trading began working in the West Gate Conservancy to promote enterprise development. Nolmekigi was among the first beneficiaries of NRT-Trading.

Nolmekigi participated in training and received a micro-credit loan and technical assistance to improve and promote her handcrafted products. She worked hard to build her small enterprise, and now Nolmekigi is one of the most successful women in the NRT Trading program.

Her crafts are sold around the world, enabling Nolmekigi to feed her family and send her children to school. She has repaid her loan to NRT Trading and is looking to expand her business.

Nolmekigi and her family have a brighter future ahead, thanks to opportunities created through her community's engagement in conservation. They now own 25 goats; generate a steady income; and enjoy access to security, education, and health care.

Today, NRT Trading's BeadWORKS program works with more than 1,200 women in five NRT community conservancies and is expanding to offer women even great opportunities for entrepreneurship. 

The Nature Conservancy continues to work with NRT to increase the scale and impact of this important work across the Northern Kenya Rangelands.