education, conservation, community
We work with the Maasai community living alongside the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, in collaboration with local teachers and community members. We focus on the villages of Talek and Aitong and surrounding rural area (map). The community is pastoral, with many families living a traditional way of life herding cattle. This is also one of the most wildlife-rich regions of the world, and much of the land is now Maasai-owned wildlife conservancies. Our approach is a holistic blend of educational support, community-led conservation, and community empowerment.
We are registered in Kenya as the community-based nonprofit OliveSeed Kenya Trust, with all local management. Amos Kipeen, local leader and native of Aitong, is the Director.
Quality education has the potential to change everything for the better!
MARA GIRLS PROJECT We've been working with Mara Girls Leadership School in Talek since 2017, on their library, conservation club, laptops for teachers, and other support. In 2020, while students were home during COVID we delivered Solar Home Libraries to their families. Mara Girls remains an important partner of ours.
In 2021, we began a scholarship program, sending a student from Mara Girls Leadership School each year to one of the academic high schools in Kenya.
MARA PUBLIC SCHOOLS INITIATIVE In 2020, we launched a bigger program developing Learning Resource Centers for public schools throughout the Talek/Aitong region. These centers provide libraries and other resources, depending on the need at each school. We began with Talek Primary School. Next we're working on a library and science lab for Maasai Mara High School and latrines for the rural Olemoncho Primary School.
COMMUNITY & SUSTAINABILITY
We see community centers as transformational hubs for locally led empowerment and sustainable livelihoods. Imagine a space where it all comes together: community meetings, skills and job training, conservation leadership, literacy classes for all ages, sewing and beading workshops, tree planting, recycling, internet access... Places like this are so rare — and yet so vital.
In 2020, we renovated and enhanced the Mara Discovery & Community Empowerment Centre in Aitong, the only community center in the area. Founded and run by local Maasai, Mara Discovery has been delivering a broad range of services since 2008. In 2022, we intend to scale this successful model by developing a second community center, building upon the years of experience at Mara Discovery. This second center, nestled at the convergence of several wildlife conservancies, will also provide a regional platform for locally led conservation.