The Maasai village (Enkerende) – which is leading a pioneering project together with ADCAM in order to generate a self-development of this community – is today being forced to leave the lands where they had their manyatta located after more than 25 years in them. The land of the Lemek Conservation Area belongs to owners mostly benefited from the transfer of English colonialism to Kenyan self-government. This transition severely affected the Maasai tribe that within a few years had to radically adapt to a different lifestyle.
Today the Maasai tribe is seriously threatened and declared endangered according to the 2007 United Nations declaration for indigenous Village law (pdf).
Tourism is the only and great source of income of the Masai Mara where tourists pay high fees for visiting these protected places and contemplating wildlife. The owners of the Lemek Conservation Area allege that the Maasais drive the animals away and therefore must leave these lands. However, the Maasai have been and are the great conservatives of the environment and fauna that inhabits there making Kenya a different country precisely because of its existence.
Let’s assume that the main reason for this eviction is that manyatta Enkerende is leading a global project (education, women, health and microcredit) who is allowing this tribe to obtain tools to direct its own process of adaptation to these rapid and profound changes to which they have suddenly been subjected (in 25 years they have gone from being nomads and kings of Masai Mara to being held in small lands with no choice but tourism). Through this project, more than 1,500 Maasai women are developing their own income streams, educating their children from their own culture and empowering a tribe that is being extinguished.