The Maasai communities depend on their land and natural resources for their livelihoods and well-being. However, they are facing increasing pressures: a growing population, break-down in traditional nomadic structures and more frequent and prolonged droughts which has caused high livestock and wildlife mortalities. The health of the rangeland on group ranches has deteriorated over time reducing the carrying capacity for livestock as well as wildlife. This ecological degradation has made the community less resilient to environmental uncertainty, increasing their vulnerability and ultimately leading to greater poverty especially for the most disadvantaged members of the society.
Developing sustainable community grazing management practices compatible with biodiversity conservation, while supporting human wellbeing and economic development, is critical for the long term conservation of this ecosystem.
Therefore, MWCT together with the Maasai community on Kuku Group Ranch, decided to develop and implement an integrated grazing and rangeland restoration management plan to introduce sustainable natural resource management benefitting the environment, wildlife, livestock and the resident Maasai community.
In addition, MWCT is starting an active participatory rangeland restoration project. Women from the local community will be engaged to create grass banks for seed production. The seeds from these native grasses are well adapted to the semi-arid environment and will be used to restore heavily degraded areas on the group ranch. The Maasai women can also generate an income from selling the grass seeds to other development organizations.
MWCT teamed up with Justdiggit by digging over 150,000 semi-circular bunds, and have managed to bring back vegetation in Kuku Group Ranch, creating environmental benefits and making the land useful again for the community. By digging rainwater harvesting bunds and setting up grass seed banks, we are regreening 766 ha in the area. Until now the Maasai community has dug 150,048 water bunds and set up 5 grass seed banks, which are managed by three different women groups.