MARA DISCOVERY CENTRE
The Mara Discovery & Community Empowerment Centre in Aitong has been a well-loved resource since 2008 for families throughout the region — providing life skills and vocational training for adults (especially women), conservation education for youth, recycling, a venue for community and conservancy meetings, public access to IT, and many other services not found elsewhere. Mara Discovery also hosts meetings for other organizations, as there is nothing else like this in the region. Amos Kipeen founded this center, and the patrons, employees, and volunteers are all local Maasai. Mara Discovery has been largely self-sustaining through the services it provides.
The center was in need of a little Tender Loving Care. Thanks to a grant from the Rotary Club of Woodside / Portola Valley (California) and a few private donors, we renovated and enhanced the center in 2020: patching and painting every surface inside and out, upgrading the IT, repairing the recycling center, landscaping the grounds, and much more.
We also added a Wildlife & Children's Library, which was the #1 request from patrons, and it's now the first public library in the area. The wildlife materials will be valuable to the many students, tour guides, conservation leaders, and researchers in this region. We added a Tree Nursery as well, which is already providing seedlings for tree plantings and enhancing after-school nature training for students. To kick off the renovated center, we held a Writing Competition for local students in January 2021.