Whilst the conservancies protect wildlife and host tourists, the Maa Trust provides additional benefits for local people. This ensures their support whilst improving their standard of living. Using the slogan “tenkaraki ing’uesi” – “because of the wildlife” – the Trust follows priorities set by the communities to assist with income generation, education, infrastructure and access to water.
Two local businesses – Maa Beadwork and Maa Honey –provide much-needed incomes for Maasai women. The beadwork scheme alone involves 430 women from 15 villages and, counting their households, benefits 8,000 people. Financial assistance helps families to save for essential items and villages to run micro-credit schemes. Schools receive infrastructure development and student bursaries. The conservancies also take local groups on game drives, led by Maasai guides, to engage them in the conservation work on their doorstep. Provision of clean water is vital for health, with illness having knock-on effects on education and livelihoods. The Trust provides water and sanitation facilities at schools and water for livestock at the edges of the conservancies. Community rainwater harvesting facilities have been installed, each covering 1,800m2 with 500,000 litre storage tanks.
Tusk has supported several schools refurbishments (including one new dormitory for 200 children) and contributed to the work of Maa Beadwork and Maa Honey. Our funds enabled the construction of a computer-training centre which not only provides children with IT facilities but also offers Maasai adults information on HIV/AIDS, sustainable energy, home economics and conservation.
The Maa Trust is an essential part of this community conservation initiative protecting wildlife around the famous Maasai Mara National Reserve. It needs ongoing funds to maintain this crucial programme of sustainable development.