There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women.
– Kofi Annan –
MWCT supports the Maasai to diversify livelihoods beyond pastoralism.
Pastoralism has been the primary livelihood of the Maasai for centuries. MWCT supports Kuku Group Ranch residents to continue this livelihood in coexistence with wildlife, compensating herders for livestock lost to wildlife predation through the Wildlife Pays program.
Large herds of a growing population place high pressure on the land, competing with wildlife for vegetation in the dry season. Moreover, an over-reliance on livestock leaves the Maasai vulnerable to shocks like drought and animal disease.
Employment at MWCT and our eco-lodge partner, Campi ya Kanzi, is a significant economic benefit to Kuku residents, and directly demonstrates benefits from conservation.
Over 95% of our staff, including those in leadership positions, come from the local communities.
With a focus on women, MWCT also supports the Maasai to explore other income generating activities. While widespread illiteracy poses a challenge, MWCT pursues creative ways to build financial understanding and grow the capacity of the Maasai – especially women – to run profitable enterprises.
A New Course / MPowerd: Luci Solar Lights (photo: right)
The goal was to not only reverse the negative health effects from the kerosene lanterns traditionally used, but also to provide a platform for the women to establish an alternative income generating enterprise for themselves. By saving money from no longer purchasing kerosene, the women were able to contribute regularly to an enterprise that would benefit them in a sustainable way.
Maasai women and men adorn themselves with unique, colorful beaded jewelry, which make attractive purchases for tourists.
Women’s groups across Kuku Group Ranch make beaded products to sell, with Campi ya Kanzi and its guests comprising the biggest market – providing yet another economic benefit that stems from conserving wildlife.
MWCT is supporting the women’s groups to expand and improve the quality of their beaded products.
BEE-KEEPING AND HONEY PRODUCTION
MWCT is piloting bee-keeping as an income generating strategy on Kuku Group Ranch.
Demand for honey is high in Kenya, while bees can deter some wildlife – an attractive advantage for human settlements.
GRASS SEED BANK
In partnership with a Kuku community, MWCT planted and fenced a 13 acre plot for women’s cultivation and sale of grass and grass seeds. Currently we now support 4 grass seed banks: Moilo, Enkii, Inkisanjani and Langata.
The project brings multiple advantages, including women’s income from the sale of grass and grass seeds, additional livestock forage, which may take the pressure off other Kuku grasses for wildlife, and improved water table and botanical restoration.