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The Manyatta Project

Solar lit, the first library inside a Maasai manyatta

A manyatta is a small Maasai village of earthen huts, usually arranged in a circle inside a common fence. The homes have no power or light, and are quite dark on the inside with only a few small openings for windows. The Manyatta Project is an experiment, bringing services right inside the village, just steps from where people live.

 

In 2022, we launched the project in the village of Ololchura, establishing the first library and study center inside a manyatta. With the blessing of the community and the elder, we built this humble little library out of iron sheets with a concrete floor, windows, and solar power; and then filled it with books, portable solar lights to take home, filtered water, and tables and chairs. There is no other power or light in these manyattas. This is just a start, a pilot project that we hope will launch an ecosystem of ideas at the village level.

We went to visit the library just three nights after opening and found it full of children reading under the solar-powered lights! And a few days later, they even moved the tables out to make more room for children to sit on the floor.