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A short documentary film on women empowering women

About the project


Which means "women helping women" in Maasai - follows a group of Maasai and American women on a unique self supported expedition to the summit of Mt. Kenya, 16,355 ft. 

The Maasai tribe still live as pastoralists in a deeply traditional, patriarchal, and polygamous culture. Most Maasai women have never left their “boma” or village and few make any decisions without male permission - their focus is on survival. Doing anything solely for themselves is an intangible luxury not afforded to women in Maasai culture, especially something like climbing a mountain without any involvement or assistance by men.

This mountaineering expedition is unique in how the women overcome cultural and language barriers to collectively conquer a large mountain. The mountain symbolizes the challenges that we all face as women fighting an uphill battle to gain equality in our lives. This experience is an opportunity to empower each other and focus on self introspection and discovery.

From putting on pants, hiking boots, being in a climate below 65 degrees for the first time, to carrying a heavy backpacking backpack for seven days - every element of climbing the mountain self supported is completely foreign to Maasai women. The challenges of summiting a high altitude mountain are difficult for even the female professionals in the outdoor industry.

Naretoi captures this entire experience from start to finish and highlights it as an inspirational opportunity for women to empower each other and to focus on self introspection and self discovery.

The broader intent of this short documentary film is to raise awareness and funds for Maasai girls to complete the mountaineering expedition, which is closely related to them obtaining sponsorship to go to school. Education is key to giving women a voice to make choices that could determine whether or not they are circumcised and if they have a say in whom they marry - choices we often take for granted. 

Siyomit, Moombi, Narasha, and Rafi pausing before making it the next  camp before the summit. 

What are the funds for?


We are almost near completion of our documentary film, Naretoi, which has been entirely self-funded and produced.  By supporting this documentary, you are giving these women a voice, to make them seen and heard through the closet medium we have to capturing reality. This documentary film is a vehicle for the non-profit project (which many cannot afford) to gain more awareness and support to provided women empowerment opportunities through its many project arms. The funds directly go back to the cost incurred in producing this film - from the travel and transportation to music licensing and film festival submissions. Since 2012, the expedition to Mount Kenya has brought together American and Maasai women to build solidarity across cultures. To date, 32 American women and 37 Maasai women have sucessfully made the journey to Pt. Lenana and changed lives. The Naretoi non-profit the documentary film is named after raises awareness about the challenges facing Maasai women and girls, particularly the need for education. Over 100 Maasai girls are currently sponsored to attend school and the number is growing. Your contribution is making a difference! 


Naretoi Women's Initiative (NAWI) is a registered beading cooperative in a small Maasai community. The idea for NAWI originated with these women and other community members who have organized and asked for our support. The women in this remote community do not have access to places where they can sell their jewelry, and jewelry sales from this project make a notable contribution toward their financial security and independence.

The sale of even a single piece can go a long way in Kenya.  A woman can support a family of 6 children for a week on $10.  All the money made from the sale of these pieces goes into a collective account and the Maasai women hold meetings to decide when and how to spend the proceeds. Sometimes they invest in cattle, other times, if hardships like droughts arise, they may choose to spend their earnings on basic necessities. 

Each piece of jewelry is a handmade, one-of-a-kind masterpiece made by the talented women in the beading group. All of the jewelry is made in a traditional style using glass beads, recycled plastic bags and bottles.  Jewelery and Naretoi merchendise are offered as rewards, color options will vary depending on what selection is available at time of order. Please specify color preference at time of order. 

Reward Prices:

Hat: $30.00

T-Shirt: $35.00

Earrings: $40.00

Necklace: 45.00

Bracelet: $50.00



About the project owner


Kelsey Doyle documentary filmmaker and creative producer. She creates and directs visual content, targeted for the web and big screen. Kelsey has coordinated productions all around the world, conducted interviews, edited compelling, marketed products and brands, and created unique visual designs and styles. 

Her documentary work has taken her and her teams from the jungles of Sumatra, savannah of Maasailand, to the outermost Pacific islands of Micronesia and has been published by Stanford, National Geographic, Oceanic Society, National Science Foundation, UN, Filmmaker, Independent Filmmaker Project, PBS Newshour, Stanford, UCB, NYU, and New York Magazine. She is a proud board member of Naretoi, a non-profit that empowers Maasai women in Kenya through mountaineering.

Kelsey holds an M.A. in News and Documentary Journalism from New York University and a B.A. in Film and Digital Media from the University of California. She's lived in Buenos Aires, Brooklyn, London and is currently, she is based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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