Wednesday, September 2, 2015

We Have Moved!


We would like to thank all of our followers for their continued interest in hearing about our 
Conservation, Health and Education Programs! We don't want to lose you, so please check back regularly on our website for the latest updates! 

By following the below link it will take you to our new location!

Asante sana! 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Conservation Program Update: A New Partnership for Land Restoration!

The Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust is pleased to announce its' new partnership with the Naga Foundation; a Dutch non-profit organization with the goal of re-greening degraded lands on a large scale using rainwater harvesting techniques and conservation methods to then later have an effect on local climate conditions. Together with the Naga Foundation, MWCT will be working collaboratively on a 15 acre grass seed bank project in the community of Moilo on Kuku Group Ranch!
The heavily degraded and overgrazed landscape in the area of Moilo
The project will not only seek to commence further large scale land restoration that is crucially needed in this heavily degraded area of the Tsavo-Amboseli ecosystem, but will act to demonstrate to the local community that the benefits of restoring land and grasses can provide sustained benefits for communities and their livestock.

MWCT President, Samson, speaks to the community members of Moilo and introduces the project
This grass seed bank project will provide sustainable ecological and social benefits to the community of Moilo in the form of rangeland improvement contributing to the health of their livestock, and continued community engagement in the project in the form of empowerment of women and employment.

Community members give their approval and acceptance of the proposed project idea!
To commence this exciting project, a series of meetings were hosted with the community of Moilo and its' leadership together with the staff of MWCT. The project was happily accepted by all community leaders and members!

Women and children gather together to hear about the initiation of new project
MWCT was happy to host a Naga Foundation team representative to visit the project site area, interact with the community and Group Ranch leadership, and officially initiative the movements forward with the project!

We look forward to update you more as this exciting partnership and project progresses!

Kuku Group Ranch Chairman addresses the community of Moilo in the prescence of MWCT staff and the Naga Foundation
MWCT Community Outreach Coordinator and Naga Representative speak to the community of Moilo and its' leadership! 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Education Program Update: Incredible Opportunities for University Students

After witnessing very low transition rates from basic education to higher-level education for pupils within Kuku Group Ranch, the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust offered their first merit secondary school scholarships in 2005. The beneficiary of this first scholarship is today a teacher in one of the schools in Kuku Group Ranch, while other beneficiaries of subsequent scholarships have become professionals in other fields. Our secondary school scholarship program has so far benefited 44 students from the Group Ranch.

The leaders of tomorrow!
To bridge the gap of advancement to continued higher-level education, MWCT, in partnership with the Kuku Group Ranch Leaders, implemented a University Bursary Initiative in 2015. This initiative will seek to empower and encourage successful, eager, and committed pupils from Kuku Group Ranch to not only excel in their studies, but to encourage interest and career paths in environmental conservation. Selection for the scholarships is based solely on academic merit and for Kuku Group Ranch members who qualify to join Universities in Kenya. So far, a total amount of 3 000 000 Kenyan Shillings has been awarded to 42 students!

The Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust sends tremendous appreciation and thanks to the contributors who have made continued education possible for the 42 selected students. MWCT hopes to seek a continued effort to find sustainable sources of funding for scholarships for both secondary and higher level University education. Students successfully completing their University Education sanctioned by a MWCT scholarship, will be guaranteed a working position through the County Council. Not only does this act as a form of incentive, but also will seek to further the understanding and appreciation to pupils that environmental conservation awareness and understanding can provide long-term benefits.

A tremendous thank you to Renee Arakelian for making this huge leap forward in the advancement of education in Kenya possible! We are very grateful!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Conservation Program Update: Luci Lights Initiate Change

In late 2014, New Course donate a number of Luci Lights, courtesy of MPOWERD, to the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust (MWCT) to empower women of the local Maasai community. 

The women's group in Ilchalai with their new Luci Lights
The efforts of the Luci Lights program by MWCT have been continuing in a diligent way!  MWCT has coordinated a number of community outreaches to the communities of Iltilal, Kuku, Langata, Olorika, and Ilchalai to distribute the Luci Lights to existing women's groups

The women's group in Olorika meet to discuss ideas for income generating enterprises
The purpose of the distribution of the Luci Lights, and partnership with New Course, is to not only reverse the negative health affects from the traditionally used kerosene lanterns, but also to provide a platform for the women to be empowered, and to establish an alternative income generating enterprise for themselves. Having the ability to utilize saved money from no longer purchasing kerosene, the women can each contribute regularly to a project or enterprise or idea that will benefit them in a sustainable way. 

Women of Iltilal come together to learn more about the Luci Lights
Community outreaches have been continuing throughout the month of March and into April. Thus far, a total of 273 Luci Light solar lanterns have been distributed across 5 different villages, and a total of 11 women's groups. 

The women of Iltilal learn how to properly use their new solar lantern
The Nkaramata Women's Group of Iltilal thrilled with their new lanterns!
Particularly inspiring stories have emerged as a result of this project. The women of these communities are utilizing the revolutionary technology in innovative ways, while coming up with creative ideas that are benefiting the groups and themselves
The women of the Kuku Grass Seed Bank are also given the opportunity to receive Luci Lights
Learning about the solar charging abilities!
The growing women's group in Langata!
Predominantly inspiring has been the women's group from Langata village. Having grown from a small number of 7 members, to a sustained number of 37 members since the Luci Lights idea was introduced to them, the Langata women demonstrated a true expression of commitment to the mission of the Luci Lights as well as excitement to be a part of a new and innovative project on Kuku Group Ranch. 

The women of Langata learn about their Luci Lights
The chair lady of the Langata women's group had previously expressed a concern to MWCT about the low number of members in the group, and the disconnect of membership that she was witnessing. The group has now shown tremendous achievement in their now very large following, their desire to attain environmentally friendly lanterns, to rid of their kerosene, and to do something substantial as a group that will benefit them. MWCT looks forward to witnessing the women of Langata as they grow as a group, and efficiently and systematically save their kerosene funds to benefit the group as a whole, contribute to the betterment of the environment, and to their families health. 

We are thrilled to hear of success stories within the community, resulting in the empowerment of women, reduction of harmful emissions, and contributions to the creation of a unified groups becoming a powerful entity within this community. 

Even in the daylight, the power of a Luci Light is something extraordinary! 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Education Program Update: Kuku Group Ranch Celebrations Education Day!

On an annual basis, the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust hosts the Kuku Group Ranch Education Day. This day long celebration is hosted for the purpose of congratulating the schools that emerges the best in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examinations. This year, Olorika Primary stood amongst the 20 schools in Kuku Group Ranch and scored the top position. 

Olorika Primary School's new Administration building
The ceremony took place the last week of March and was attended by the local area Member of Parliament, Ministry of Education Officers, Group Ranch Officials, school head teachers, government chiefs, parents, and pupils

Pupils of Olorika Primary School
Although the ranking of schools and pupils has been banned by the Ministry of Education in Kenya. the ranking of schools within Kuku Group Ranch has had a positive impact by promoting healthy academic competition which has helped to improve academic performance

The Ministry of Education Officers have allowed MWCT to continue ranking schools within Kuku Group Ranch at the request of the local area Member of Parliament. 

The opening of a new Administration Building for Olorika Primary School also took place on Education Day! This building was constructed with thanks to the Kenya Constituencies Development Fund
Hon. Katoo, local Member of Parliament speaks at Education Day

This is the third year that Olorika has been awarded the top position since the inception of the Education Day celebrations 4 years ago when MWCT introduced the trophy.

The 2013 trophy recipient, Langata Enkima Primary School Head Teacher,  hands over the Education Day trophy
In the first year Iltilal Primary School was awarded the trophy, followed by Olorika Primary School in 2011 and 2012, Langata Enkima Primary School in 2013, and Olorika Primary School again in 2014.  The performance of the top school has improved every year since the introduction of the trophy!

MWCT president Samson Parashina in attendance
The Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust sends congratulatory wishes to Olorika Primary School once again! We are always recognizing that along with a healthy, sustaining environment necessary for traditional Maasai pastoralist culture and livelihood, one of the top priorities will always be Education!
Local Member of Parliament, Hon. Katoo, presents the trophy to the Olorika Primary School Head Teacher
The trophy is handed over!
Parents and teachers gather from around the Group Ranch

Monday, April 27, 2015

Health Program Update: Community Health Workers Forum

Last month, the Maasai Wilderness Conservation department hosted the inaugural Kuku Health Workers Forum at the Chyulu Hills Conservation and Research Centre (CCRC). This forum sought to bring together all clinical staff working in the five health facilities within Kuku Group Ranch. 

Dr. Gabriel speaks on behalf of MWCT

The need for such a meeting arose from the recent transfers of the new health staff to three new health facilities. The forum also acted as a platform for presentations and comparisons in performance of health delivery indices such as immunization coverage, hospital deliveries, and uptake in family planning methods. 

All those in attendance at the Health Workers Forum

During the forum, health staff and invited guests learnt about the organizational structure, mission, goals, and health priorities of the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust. Partner non-governmental organizations working in Kuku Group Ranch, named Dorcas Aid International and Malteser International also had the opportunity to present their activities. The Ministry of Health Kajaido County Office was represented by Mr. Orundu (Sub-County Disease Surveillance Officer). 
A representatives from Dorcas Aid Internationals speaks about their programs and activities in the area

A continuing medical education session was conducted  by Dr. Edward Omete (a medical officer working in Loitokitok). Health workers learnt about the differentiation of the various causes of early pregnancy and new approaches to treatment. 

Together with the collaboration and understanding of local partners, MWCT continually strives to bring adequate and accessible health care to the community of Kuku Group Ranch!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Conservation Program Update: Kuku Grass Seed Bank Taking Shape!

We are thrilled to provide you with an extensive update on the progress of the Grass Seed Bank project in Kuku village! The Grass Seed Bank Project, located in Kuku village, centrally located on Kuku Group Ranch, will seek not only to empower local women to generate a sustainable form of income, but also create awareness in local communities of the benefits of rangeland protection and restoration
The official Grass Seed Bank women's group gathers to discuss the purpose, aims, and benefits of the project
Kick starting the project, after the initial installation of the infrastructure for the fence, community meetings took Kuku by storm! After the community was introduced to the project idea in December of 2014, an additional community gathering was held at the beginning of February. Community leaders, members, government officials gathered to discuss the timeline in the coming proceedings and developments, and members to be involved. 

The 20 women members of Kuku who compile the Grass Seed Bank women's group
Further, an inaugural meeting was held with the women's group in charge of the grass seed bank on February 18. A total of 20 women were chosen from the community to be members of the project, to  to take ownership, manage it, and benefit from it. The timeline moving forward was discussed, and the women communicated extensive gratefulness and anticipation for the coming results! 

Ploughing of the approximate 40 acre grass seed 
The ploughing for preparation of the land was completed over a span of four days. Using two bulls, ploughing was done to ensure the creation of a desirable soil for the seeds to germinate and grow. 

Proper sowing techniques were demonstrated and practiced
On February 18 following the meeting, the 20 women were trained by two representatives from the Kenya Agriculture Research Institute (KARI) on proper sowing techniques, seed division and seed segregation. The training was very well received and it was very evident in the successful continuation of the sowing process. 

The women practice sewing the seeds in an effective way
The grass seeds differed in preparation, here KARI representative demonstrates the preparation of the horse-tail grass
Seed preparation was completed by the end of February and fence construction commenced immediately! The portable solar electric fence spans the whole perimeter of the grass bank. The grass bank is guarded 24 hours by a local watchman, responsible for communicating messages to the community of the dangers of the electric fence whilst also ensuring the herding of livestock is avoided in the area within the proximity of the fence.

The fence will seek to keep out wildlife and livestock while giving time for the grasses to grow to their full potential. Upon growth in the coming weeks, controlled grazing will be permitted within the grass seed bank, allowing for healthy growth and proper re germination.
A completed solar electric fence!
Moving forward, the community of Kuku, and the Grass Seed Bank women's group anticipate a generous rainy season in the coming weeks so the grasses can grow! We are thrilled to see this project coming together for this community, and to demonstrate the effectiveness of land restoration and protection! Stay tuned for more updates as we wait for the rains!