Tag Archive for: #womenempowerment

Building a Passion-Driven Career.

The last interview in the Women in Tourism features a young lady eager to sharpen her skills, satisfy guests and push the boundaries of what she understands a woman can be in tourism.

About Jackline Keshine

My name is Jackline Nolari Keshine. A 23-year-old mother of one. I am a professional chef at Nkoteiya Eco Lodge, serving in my second year. I went to Olmotio Primary School and later to Joint St. Francis-Doldol for Secondary Education, which I completed in 2021. In 2020, I took a maternity break from educational studies. Thankfully, I went back to school in 2021. Thereafter, I gained skills in the culinary team at Olgaboli Bandas in Naibung’a Lower Conservancy.

  1. Can you share your journey of becoming a chef at Nkoteiya Eco Lodge? What inspired you to pursue this career path?

After my secondary education, I worked at Karisia Walking Safaris and developed an interest in the kitchen. I assisted the chef and was inspired to pursue a career in the culinary arts. Chefs play a very important role to all lodge guests’ experience. I have now understood that good food can change a guest’s experience altogether. Guests who travel to Nkoteiya, appreciate the efforts that the community and partners have put in to make their experience unforgettable.

With my determination, I began as a casual Naibung’a Lower Conservancy that hosts Olgaboli Bandas. I was then enlisted to Peaks Hotel by Northern Rangelands Trust Trading Limited and trained alongside 4 community youths. Armed with a lot of interest and passion, the 7 months training brought about significant changes in preparing me to be an excellent cook and have a wider perspective on life. In early 2023, Nkoteiya Eco-Lodge had an opportunity to hire a professional Chef, which is how I got myself there.

2. What are some favorite memories you have of preparing meals for guests?

I enjoy making pizza for guests since it is a favorite among them. I am happy when I can prepare meals that our guests love. Their compliments encourage me to do more and apply my bush cooking skills. When I first attempted making pizza, it became very sticky, this made me skeptical, but it turned out better than I anticipated. The guests were so shocked and intrigued about it that they wanted to know how I got the skill. This experience truly inspired and motivated me, and since that day, I have believed in myself that I can make anything and become the best.

3. How do you incorporate responsible tourism practices into your culinary creations at the eco-lodge?

Engaging with local communities and promoting culture preservation like beadwork and adorning traditional attire, is a priority for me. In my free time, I enjoy making bead bracelets and trying different patterns. At Nkoteiya Eco-lodge we promote environmentally friendly practices, such as using solar as our main source of energy. We also advise our guests to use water and electricity on a need basis to promote sustainable travel. They appreciate this approach and consistently adhere to it.

4. What role do you believe food plays in enhancing the overall guest experience at the eco-lodge?

Good food never goes unnoticed. You will always see/tell? when guests enjoy a meal. It significantly impacts overall guest satisfaction, and it is one aspect that hoteliers have full control over. Even when tourists fail to spot game during game drives, returning to a good meal makes their experience way better. Additionally, food contributes to the marketing and promotion of the destination experience. Nkoteiya Eco-lodge is in a remote location, this often prompts questions on how we manage to procure all the supplies to prepare finger-licking food. It is something that we truly pride ourselves on. Good food provides a unique and memorable experience for our guest. I recall a particular guest who loved my desert so much that they left a positive review.

5. What do you think chefs can contribute to an establishment’s, a lodge or restaurant, responsible practices?

I think waste management, is what most chefs need to work on. This involves implementing proper waste management practices, such as appropriately sorting and disposing waste. Chefs should also prioritize using natural herbs in the kitchen.

6. What are some of the challenges and opportunities you face as a female chef in the hospitality industry?

Some of the challenges I have faced include; health issues that come from standing for long periods like swollen legs. Balancing family and work has proven difficult, especially with my pastoralist community holding the belief that women are primarily home caregivers. Sometimes I find expressing myself from a woman’s perspective challenging.

Despite these obstacles, there is a wonderful opportunity for all women to excel in stereotypical or new roles and to better themselves.

Women in Tourism are Champions

This week, the March highlights on Women in Tourism continue with an avid adventurer’s interview. In the month’s focus, we have interviews with a diverse group of women in the tourism industry that explore their journey and experiences. Adhiambo Agoro is an adventurer who loves to explore and teach people about the great outdoors through mountaineering, cycling, running, podcasting at The About Out Podcast and trail guiding at Avi Expeditions. She finds joy in life’s simplest pleasures by exploring various destinations, seeking meaning, and spreading positivity along the way.

Let’s dive into the interview:

  1. Can you share a bit about your personal journey and how you became involved in the travel and tourism industry?

My journey began in Supply Chain Management before taking a leap into travel. I recall booking my first hike on one weekend to Buxton Tunnel in Limuru. All I needed then was just to be outside in nature and experience a different place not very far away from home. I met a diverse community during that hike that opened my eyes to the beauty of nature less than 30 kms away from the city. This specific hike ended up being a pivotal moment for me. It sparked my passion for travel and ignited my desire to explore further. I went on many more trips after that and I eventually transitioned into guiding adventurers on the trail for other travel companies. This in turn inspired my passion for fostering community and exploration and I set out to create my own travel community called Avi Expeditions. It is a collective of like-minded enthusiasts united by a shared love for nature, adventure, conservation, and various outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, cycling, and running. Through Avi Expeditions, my mission is to foster a close-knit community where every individual can embark on unforgettable adventures and create lasting memories together.

  1. Do you have any memorable travel experiences of encounters that have impacted your perspective on tourism?

Yes, I do.

My journey has been filled with many transformative encounters. From a 5-day road trip to Northern Kenya, to standing on top of the second highest peak in Kenya many times, it is a beautiful shift and version of life to experience if you ask me; but perhaps the most impactful ones are the moments I spend guiding fellow adventurers to push their limits, and achieve their hiking goals while having fun. The greatest highlight is guiding hikes up Aberdare trails and to Mt Kenya summit. You realize that nature has so much to offer. These experiences have reaffirmed the power that tourism has to inspire personal growth and foster connections with nature and others.

3. What do you find most rewarding in your travel ventures?

The most rewarding aspect of my travel ventures is witnessing the sense of empowerment and fulfillment that participants and fellow adventurers experience when they push their limits, conquer challenges, and immerse themselves in the beauty of nature. It’s incredibly fulfilling to me to facilitate such moments of discovery and personal triumph.

4. What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as a woman in tourism?

As a woman in tourism, I’ve encountered challenges ranging from gender biases to safety concerns in remote environments. Additionally, breaking into male-dominated spaces within the industry and gaining recognition for my expertise has been an ongoing journey. However, these challenges have not only fueled my determination to carve out a space for myself but also create opportunities for other women within this ever-evolving industry.

5. What solutions can be explored to meet some of the challenges you have highlighted?

To tackle these challenges, we can focus on creating inclusive spaces in tourism, offering leadership training and support for women, establishing safety measures for female travelers, and advocating for gender equality initiatives throughout the industry.

6. What is something you wish women would realize more about travel?

I wish women would realize the transformative power of travel to challenge societal norms, break barriers, and empower them to embrace their full potential.

Travel offers endless opportunities for self-discovery, growth, and connection with both the world and oneself. There’s no perfect date and time or sufficient amount for your first trip outside. It can be a hike, bike ride, a simple run in another county, or a game drive. The answers, discoveries, and lessons may not be with you at the beginning but they eventually come. All you need to do is Just Start.

Women in Tourism are trailblazers, adventurers, and catalysts for positive change. They are continuously shaping the future of travel with their passion, resilience, and determination.


Stay tuned for the next interview!


Throughout this month, we’ll be amplifying voices from diverse backgrounds, highlighting their experiences and insights. Embracing this year’s theme, ‘Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress’, we are committed to fostering women’s integration and empowerment within the realm of tourism through a series: ‘Women In Tourism’.

Join us as we celebrate and champion women’s role in shaping the future of our industry.

Empowering Women for Sustainable Tourism in Kenya

Tourism has a huge impact on the global economy, helping to create jobs and eliminate poverty. Despite being the industry’s largest workforce, women continue to face challenges and roadblocks to professional advancement and leadership roles. To address this issue, the Kenya Association of Women in Tourism (KAWT), in collaboration with Ecotourism Kenya (EK), held a training and mentorship boot camp on Saturday, February 24, 2024, at the International Hotel & Tourism Institute (IHTI)

The platform brought forth women within the tourism industry who offered their experiences, challenges, and ideas for achieving gender equity in the tourist business. The sessions were guided by professionals George Ireri, Sheila Kutto, and Susan Onyango, all from EK who organized engaging discussions that enabled the participants to talk openly about their experiences and concerns.

The boot camp emphasized the importance of empowering women as a crucial step towards achieving sustainable tourism. Women’s empowerment can result in increased participation in decision-making, better working conditions, and the creation of more equitable possibilities for career advancement. The discussions revolved around how women can collaborate, network, and push for equity and equality in the tourism industry.

Winnie Maru, CEO of Tembea Africa Tours & Travel and a KAWT member, underlined that women should seek equity and equality. This includes recognizing and tackling the unique barriers that women experience in advancing their careers and taking on leadership responsibilities. Rosebell Mugambi, KAWT’s Tourism Specialist and Mentorship and Training Treasurer, underlined the importance of women seeing each other as collaborators rather than competitors. Women should speak up about the women within their space, offer mutual support, and identify components and locations in which they can thrive.

Another revelation was the significance of women collaborating with men to achieve sustainable tourism. Jacqueline Kali, a Board Member at KAWT, underlined that there are a variety of ways in which women and men can work together including lobbying for policies that promote women’s empowerment.

The boot camp also emphasized the issues that women experience in the profession, such as sexual harassment, a lack of accommodations for female guides, and disparities in remuneration. The participants identified opportunities and solutions to these concerns, such as advocating for change through women’s involvement in policymaking.

Finally, mentorship, networking, reskilling, and upskilling were all emphasized as vital components of strengthening women in the tourism industry. Women should attend conferences where they may discuss aligned policies and how they can be implemented and strictly adhered to through collaboration with stakeholders, the government, and the broader tourism industry.

Women’s empowerment is crucial for attaining sustainable tourism, and we all have a role to play in supporting this cause. It’s time for the tourism industry to recognize and address the specific challenges that women face and work towards creating a more equitable and inclusive industry for all.

Women in Tourism are resilient. Despite the challenges they continue to face, they still strive to achieve equity and equality in the tourism industry.