Increasing economic opportunities, particularly for women, is imperative to building sustainable conservation practices and more equitable societies. We are proud to support Maasai women-led initiatives in Kenya’s rich biodiverse landscapes of Amboseli, Laikipia and Maasai Mara that cultivate community-based conservation, reduce human-wildlife conflict, provide educational experiences, and improve the livelihoods of all community members. These women are advancing conservation efforts and strengthening Kenya’s sustainability—everyday.
AMBOSELI: NAROPIL MILK COOPERATIVE
We initiated the formation of the Naropil Milk Cooperative, training over 300 women of Amboseli in dairy production, with the aim to provide an income for Maasai women and make milk more accessible. We purchased a milk cooler, backup generator and helped install electricity in the milk storage facility. Through the CONNEKT project, the women are taught how to handle cow milk, maintaining high standards of hygiene before delivering the milk to collection centers. The Naropil Milk Marketing Cooperative's 400+ members work together to improve the quality of their dairy cows, milk production, and rangeland management. Their efforts pay off in excess milk, increased income, and sustained livelihoods—benefiting their families, wildlife, and the greater Amboseli Ecosystem.
ACC Programs Manager, Johnson Sipitiek, coordinates business training for the women of Amboseli with the goal of ensuring the women know their business environment well so that they can plan well. ACC trained 30 women who will become peer educators—in turn training more than 1,000 women from their communities. The training is part of the CONNEKT cross border partnership project between ACC and OIKOS-EA, funded by the EU.
Milk Production & Storage
ACC donated 20 milk containers to the Naropil Milk Cooperative. ACC Programs Manager, Johnson Sipitiek, highlighted that the women view milk production as a business enterprise, changing their perspective from solely keeping cows as a cultural practice to gearing up to sell more than 100 litres per day!
Grass Reseeding & Harvesting
The communities near Amboseli have embarked on restoring degraded areas through grass reseeding and by improving their livestock breeds. Women at Osiram cultural boma, in Mbirikani, planted hay which, after harvesting, will be stored for use during the dry season. The women also harvested and sold 41 bags of grass seeds earning a total of Ksh 410,000 ($4,100). What was ACC's role in this?
LAIKIPIA: TWALA TENEBO CULTURAL CENTRE
Twala, a long-time conservation partner of ACC, located in a semi-arid area of northern Kenya, is run by a cooperative of six women groups, totaling over 200 members. The women earn their income through a variety of enterprises including renting accommodations to tourists and leasing their meeting facility to local and international organizations. They also design and sell Maasai beaded items for sale, offer educational and cultural experiences for visitors via their indigenous plant walks and baboon walks, and sell aloe and honey commercially. Their work supports their families as well as women and girls in the community that need additional support. Twala women care for abused girls and elderly women with no income, and support girls' education, maintaining a school onsite.
AMBOSELI: NOONKOTIAK COMMUNITY RESOURCE CENTRE
Noonkotiak was officially allocated land by Olgulului Group Ranch in 2013 and launched by ACC and partners in March of 2016. The Centre is a knowledge sharing hub, a women empowerment centre, and a research focal point for the entire Amboseli Ecosystem. The Women Empowerment Project within the Centre aims to help alleviate poverty. Currently, women in Kenya do the vast majority of agricultural work, livestock rearing, and marketing of food. Only 29% of the women are earning a formal wage, leaving most women to work in the informal sector without any federal support. The effect is severe with nearly 40 percent of household run solely by women who suffer from abject poverty. Collaborating with Amboseli Ecosystem Trust, we work with women in Noonkotiak to develop ecotourism that provides visitors with experiential cultural opportunities, integrating wildlife conservation with the Maasai way of life.
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