We have been working with the Maasai community since 2007. According to the UN, it is an endangered tribe and we are trying to counteract the devastating effect that commercial tourism has caused, forcing younger generations out of the community to seek education in the cities, resulting in loss of culture.
We work directly with the community, in coordination with the Maasai leader William Ole Pere Kikanae. William initially requested our assistance in dealing with the difficult situation that his people are facing and has demonstrated a high degree of commitment and seriousness, which has enabled the people themselves to achieve a great amount of progress.
Our actions in Maasai Mara focus on four areas of work:
Since 2010 we have helped to organize a cooperative with over 1000 craftswomen distributed throughout the territory of Maasai Mara and Tanzanian border which is still operating with the shoe company PIKOLINOS GROUP. Through prior agreements with customers we have established marketing channels. This allows the Maasai women that we have trained to earn money through crafting to improve living conditions for themselves, their families and the community as a whole.
The women make artisan ethnic motifs on leather which then form part of the annual Maasai sandals collection, which is sold worldwide. The large amount of work from this contract gives steady work for about five months out of the year to most of the women in our cooperative.
However, our cooperative is eager to work with more companies who are interested in using the Maasai handicraft products so that the months of work for these women can be extended and help to continue improving the situation of the Maasai community.
In early 2011 we opened the ADCAM Mara Vision School in the heart of the Savannah. It is designed to offer nursery and primary schooling to about 300 Maasai children. Our school is recognized for a high level of education which has been adapted to the Maasai culture, availability of preschool and not having overcrowded classes. It is designed to be a hub for the community, provide lunch to our students and is located in its own grounds with privileged surroundings. We also have two residences, one for boys and one for girls, for students who come from remote areas. The boarders receive full support and participate in extracurricular activities organized especially for them.
The growth of the school has been gradual, the primary school was completed in 2016, and now we are working on the construction and running of a secondary school that would give continuity to the education of our students.
Our project also focuses in improving the health within the community, especially through preventive actions to reduce the major health problems they face: malaria, respiratory problems, parasites, malnutrition, etc.
The main actions taken by ADCAM have been building a well to get easy access to clean water, installing mosquito nets, building chimneys in the houses of the Manyatta, deworming campaigns, food supplements for students, medical campaigns, provision of medicine and support measures to the nearest medical clinic. Another fundamental aspect is the development of health education by promoting hygiene in schools and within the whole community.
The community empowerment and sustainability of our work is only part of the way to understand how ADCAM assists the people. We work directly with the community and taking responsibility for the daily management of all areas which we support we have created a tourist camp managed 100% by Maasai warriors which contributes to the overall sustainability of the project.
We are also supporting women interested in self-employment through training and microcredit. It offers them the opportunity to start their own business. We have also made a lot of improvements in terms of infrastructure while caring about the environment. The most notable in this last point has been the installation of solar panels which generate electricity to get important improvements such as a computer classroom at the school, film screenings for children and adults and having freezers and refrigerators to provide optimal services for our guests in the camp.