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The Manyatta Project

The Manyatta Project began as an experiment:  What if we put a library inside a traditional Maasai village (a manyatta), where the homes are made of earth and have no power or light? It had never been done before. What would happen? Would anyone come?


In 2022, we launched this project by building a little library in the manyatta of Ololchura, near Sekenani, establishing the first library and study center inside one of these villages. With the blessing of the elders, we built it simply out of iron sheets with concrete floor and curtains made out of Maasai shukas (shawls). A plug-and-play solar on top provides enough power for lighting inside and out, also making this the only lit structure in its village. Our question was answered, as the Manyatta Library just steps away from where people live was wildly popular from the start. 

We visited the little library 3 nights after opening and found it full of children reading under solar-powered lighting, already! A few days after that, they even moved the tables out to make room for more children to sit on the floor. 

Today, this humble Library is full of children every afternoon and evening, as we continue to fill it with materials for study and fun for all ages. Thanks to the Ololchura librarian Andrew, the little structure is even used for preschool classes now — something else that's never been done before in one of these villages. In 2023, we will build a second Manyatta Library, this time in the Mara North region.

The Manyatta Project is a pilot program enabling us to test out and launch an ecosystem of ideas and services at the village level. This is just a start.

The 1st Days of the Manyatta Library

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