Maa Beadwork (like all of the projects facilitated by The Maa Trust) has been founded on years of baseline research. Our team traveled door-to-door and held countless meetings with communities and individuals to assess the needs and wishes of Maasai people, how they felt about conservation and conservancies, and whether they were seeing the benefits of tourism in their world-famous ecosystem.
When Maa Beadwork was formed to increase the social impact of wildlife and tourism on community-owned land, the 430 women in our collective were each interviewed so that they could self-identify their personal goals, aspirations and requirements. What could they save for to make the most meaningful improvement to their home, family and prospects? The most common responses include:
  • RAINWATER HARVESTING SYSTEMS (corrugated roof, gutters and water tank) to bring clean safe water to their homes and save many hours every day carrying 20litres/kgs as far as 9kms each way from rivers and springs.
  • SOLAR POWER (small solar panels connecting to light bulbs, phone chargers and battery banks)
  • ALTERNATIVE SOURCE OF FUEL TO FIREWOOD (refillable gas cylinders), so that women and children no longer have to walk into conservation areas to illegally collect wood and are no longer at risk on these journeys from encounters with dangerous wildlife. Burning firewood inside homes also has major health and respiratory implications to the inhabitants, and gas provides a safe alternative, which is affordable and more sustainable.

The Maa Trust helps the members of Maa Beadwork to save for their wishlist by training them in accounting, and by bringing in materials like water tanks at cost price from Nairobi, thanks to partnerships with various companies to facilitate this. This allows women to make fast and meaningful changes to their daily lives, freeing up many hours that they would otherwise spend collecting firewood and water, so that they can be more economically productive with their time.

We continually monitor the success of Maa Beadwork and the impact that this project is having. Not only is this social enterprise changing the lives of the people involved, getting thousands more children into school, and reducing the workload of the women at home, but the conservation of their land is benefiting enormously too...

If people no longer need to enter the conservancies to collect firewood and water, wild animals are left in peace to roam free and undisturbed, so that their populations can rise and their pristine habitats remain unpolluted. Trees are growing taller, stronger and more plentiful, and the emissions from households are reduced when smoke from wood burning is no longer a problem. The health implications of this change are also very apparent, with family members no longer suffering from lung and eye conditions caused by smoke in the home.

To find out more about The Maa Trust, our outreach projects in the Maasai Mara, and how you can get involved, please visit The Maa Trust website.