How Nyambura Munyua is empowering women lead a dignified life through knitting


Talk about passion to change the lives of vulnerable women in the community, and Nyambura Munyua’s name will pop right up. The social-preneur is committed at creating jobs among women in Laikipia County by encouraging them to monetize one of the most common hobbies – knitting.  To this end, Nyambura founded Thogithi Handmade, a community based organisation that has brought 70 knitters together. She believes in Africa and its potential to conquer the world. Nyambura believes in Africa and her unimaginable potential. It’s our collective responsibility to discover and achieve these possibilities through trade and not aid for Africa. Nyambura, a demand planner by profession, talks to Destin Africa Magazine about her social-entrepreneurship journey and her desire to grow the brand both locally and across the borders.

Tells us more about Thogithi Handmade?

Thogithi Handmade is a Community Based Organization in Laikipia County and an initiative founded to empower women and local communities. Thogithi aims to catalyze local production, improve livelihoods, encourage entrepreneurship and address the potential women have to improve their livelihoods by undertaking activities that generate income and build the social fabric.

We are a community of 70 Knitters in Laikipia County. Thogithi Handmade is our collective voice that includes specific measures to ensure our community’s full and equal participation in the design, implementation, follow-up and evaluation policies that affect our livelihoods, well-being and resilience. Our community is made up of;

People living with disabilities (PLWD’s). We have five members of our community who rely on the project for their basic needs.

Most of the knitters are single mothers and also the heads of their families. This means that they have to go an extra mile to support their family needs by tilling farms and washing people’s clothes.

We also engage ex-convicts who suffer un-employability due to their incarceration status.

And finally, we have a segment of micro traders in the local market. The proceeds from the sale of our products are saved with individual Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOs) and used to expand their businesses.

What inspired you to start the community organization?

The inspiration behind Thogithi Handmade was the need for financial inclusion and self-reliance for women and the Founder’s conviction that local production will spur economic progression for the community. Our products are 80 percent made in Kenya.         

What are some of the products offered?

We hand make our flagship product which is Thogithi. This is kikuyu name for socks. Thogithi is an indoor pair of socks. We have since diversified into other products including couch blankies, scarves, leg warmers, and watch hats.

Our market is mainly local for B2C clients and we got B2B global clients as well.

Was this the line of business you wished to engage in while growing

I am a demand planner by profession. I always desire to own a made in Kenya brand just that I never settled on the product to fly with.

I however always wanted to do my PhD and teach university students. I love teaching. I guess this is still on my bucket list.

What can you say Thogithi Handmade has achieved since establishment?

As a community based organisation, we have achieved significant growth including made in Kenya brand awareness and life skill training among the knitters that has led to overall development.  We have also been able to establish a sustainable enterprise through the formation of cluster cells which help in easy access to finance and will considerably enhance the family income. Overall increased income and confidence will have multi-generational impact as it will help in securing a better future for the entire family of the knitters.

Have you faced any challenges, and how did you overcome them?

Everyone faces challenges all the time – whether it’s in business or in life! But the nature of the challenges keeps changing – depending on what stage you are in. When we started the community organization, the main challenge was mainly related to funding. Our main idea was supporting women in our community, but along the way, we hit a snag and gave up. While I was contemplating about closing the shop, a friend of mine called and reaffirmed my thoughts on having a local kick starter for my project. In June 2021, we launched our crowd funding campaign where we told our story online and Kenyans of goodwill came forth to support.

What gives you the most satisfaction since starting the community
based organisation?

When I look at our performance indicators, I always do a happy dance and look forward to much more. Thogithi Handmade has positively impacted the lives of many women be it through training and growth of household income.

What are your future plans and aspirations for the organisation?

We are working on some projects within the organization. They are focused on process improvement and mechanization of some processes to improve our output and productivity.

Any advice to other women looking to start a business?

Business is not for the faint hearted and it requires your undivided commitment. You go in fully and nothing in between. Dwell on the today problems on your business and leave tomorrow to God. For the universe to align and support you there must be a lot of efforts in terms of time, resources and a strong will from you.