We work in the Maasai community living alongside the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, in grassroots collaboration with educators, conservationists, elders, women, and other local stakeholders. We are co-registered in Kenya as the charitable Oliveseed Kenya Trust, with an all local team on the ground. We are part of this community.
The community here is pastoral, with many families living a traditional way of life herding cattle. The Maasai Mara is extremely disadvantaged, partly because of a lack of support for education, with the highest school dropout rate in Kenya. This is also one of the most wildlife-rich regions of the world, and much of the land is now Maasai-owned wildlife conservancies. These families here are the stewards of this wildlife heritage, and yet challenges are increasing every day because of habitat loss, climate change, and human-wildlife conflict. Our approach is a holistic blend of high-quality enrichment of rural schools in need, empowerment through sustainable livelihoods, and clean water and energy, while also encouraging environmental stewardship through our initiatives.
Our Goals for 2023
Strengthen education of young people most in need by expanding the capacity of underserved rural public schools with high-quality Libraries, Computer Labs, and Science Labs; encouraging literacy and self-expression by hosting writing competitions for young people and publishing their stories in books; expanding our Solar Home Library Project; expanding the Manyatta Project; and supporting students in need through scholarships.
Launch the Clean Water Project near Aitong, with borehole, solar pumps, water storage, filtration, and reusable bottling. In partnership with Global Water First, this project will bring safe water for drinking and other uses at an affordable price to over 20,000 people who now get their water from rivers and open pits shared with cattle and wildlife. Sell purified bottled water to safari camps and other businesses to help sustain our education and community projects.
Launch the Oliveseed Women's Work Center near Sekenani, providing income-generating opportunities for women in sewing, beading, and milk delivery to refrigeration centers by e-bike. This solar-powered center is a pilot project for community centers, building upon the sustainable livelihoods model we learned from Mara Discovery Community & Empowerment Center. It will include business skills training for women and a small library for their children.
Launch the first Public Library in the Maasai Mara, offering library, computer, and learning resources to over 10,000 students and adults, along with safari guides and visiting conservationists. This regional library will also provide a place for literacy classes and business skills training, and a platform for our Indigenous Story Project.
The Public Library and Clean Water Project are the first phases in the Maasai Mara Center for Sustainability, a comprehensive community resource center we are planning for 2024 on 10 acres near Aitong, donated by the community.
Amos Kipeen on Oliveseed & His Community
"Oliveseed is a program that is so close to my heart. It has brought a window of opportunity for this society through education, through livelihoods improvement, and through conservation. We are seated here in the Maasai Mara National Reserve, and all you can hear is the birds, all you can hear is the crickets and different kinds of wildlife species. This cannot be sustained without thinking and bringing a transformative program like what we have today in Oliveseed."