What are the objectives of your community project and what is the story behind its creation?
The idea to be the change we want to see and been proactive in working with the community to change their story was developed from discussion on different experiences which we have gone through as young people in a Maasai community. The community has been marginalized for many years and in most cases viewed as defiant to change. With a unique/peculiar culture, the Maasai are often left out by successive governments in approaches to service delivery thinking that they (the Maasai) will equally pick up plans and policies as advanced by government. The approaches have failed to initiate development among the Maasai. While the government is well meaning in its intentions, it has not tailored its strategies and methods in the most effective way to have an impact in Maasailand. The government’s approach has mainly been top – bottom hence the need for homegrown interventions by Maasai themselves and more so the civil society.
The objective is to initiate home grown solutions to challenges by build community capacity to respond to their concerns through education and building the economic power of women to be able to participate in governance.
In which sector and with which groups do you work with?
The project works with Maasai women and youth to improve their livelihood through economic empowerment, promotion of education and their rights to participate in democracy and governance.With economic empowerment we are training women on basic savings and investment and how to use the available resources like beads to earn. Women work in groups which create a social support system as well as pull resources together through savings for specific needs.
Education promotion- main focus is on access to quality education and girl child education. In this we are working in partnership with OLE (open Learning exchange) from US on a pilot project in one of the villages using technology to create access to reading materials. During meetings conversations are created among women on their rights to property, health and governance.
What obstacles do you face?
Some of the challenges faced in implementation include: Funds- as most of the is voluntary and through partnerships with organizations like FPFK (where I was employed) and Mara Discovery Center which helps in mobilizing and organizing women into groups. Funds for training and space for women to meet and work on their beads craft as well as sell there craft is a challenge.
Market links for the crafts and linking them to international markets or local designers using African Jewelry is a challenge.
What type of partner are you looking for to overcome challenges in your initiative?
We are looking for partners who will support in marketing the products or link to markets. In additional partners who will support in the economic training of women and education promotion among the Maasai. We also need partner that can help in constructing meeting shades for women that will act as shops for selling the products as well as create safe space for conversation on, women rights, democracy and governance.