Tanzania. Volunteering project

Continuing the Journey: An update on initiatives with Maasai women

Morten Skøtt

Morten Skøtt

Head of Communication

Læsetid, 4 min.

In November 2023, 25 of our colleagues volunteered to provide educational support to Maasai women in the areas of entrepreneurship, human rights, and health.

The project has now formally come to an end. Read more about the project here. Over the past four years, our dedicated colleagues have joined the project, creating a significant impact by empowering the Maasai Women Community through education, fostering their own social innovation and development.

The heartfelt feedback and evaluation from the Steering Committee, representing the community of 3000 Maasai Women, clearly articulates the positive impact of the project. 

“We have become aware and changed our mindset of our own value and worth. We now know that we have rights and we have built confidence in being vocal and run for election without being shy or afraid of punishment” states one of the women from the project. 

The women have built confidence in;

Politics and womens Rights: More and more women are stepping up, sharing their opinions, and running for election without being scared of punishment. With an understanding of the law and knowing their worth, Women are now contributing to family decisions in a more equal manner. They have built confidence and capabilities to take an active part in politics and in decision-making in the household.

Entrepreneurship: The women have built confidence in land rights and ownership. They have established village shared banking, cultivating a shared capital that enables micro loans to empower Women across to start their own businesses.

Health & Food Preparation: Education and experience in adopting the alternative way of preparing food has unlocked health benefits by moving away from the traditional way of cooking that involved dangerous smoke.

Reproductive Health: The women have gained knowledge within reproductive health, empowering them in becoming aware of their individual body and cycle. Young Women have leveraged this knowledge to embrace a bead-based method to track their menstrual cycles and improved their ability to manage pregnancies.

Livestock: The Women have acquired the ability to assess diseases of their livestock through symptoms and identify the correct medicine and the doses. They have built confidence in giving medicine and doing the treatment on their own.

The great volunteering work of our colleagues has cultivated financial contribution, through Benevity, to empower the Maasai Women Community in embarking on their new entrepreneurial adventure of creating a homestay in Longido district.

 

The opening of a homestay

Last month, two of our colleagues Siw Melchiorsen and Emilie Stenskrog travelled back to Tanzania to help empower the community of Maasai Women in kickstarting a new project; the creation of a Cultural Maasai Hotel, where tourists can stay to get an authentic experience and insight into the unique Maasai culture. The project is of great desire for the women in order to build as a source of income and to preserve and pass on authentic insights of their proud culture and its traditions.

“The Maasai culture is truly unique. The traditional ways of living in symbiosis with nature and nurturing the family and village, is of proud and great desire for the Maasai Women Community to preserve and show others. Yet, the Maasai Women are really curious and eager to extract knowledge, which is why the desire for building a Maasai Hotel is of great interest to facilitate inspiration and encounters with other culture and ways of living.” states Siw Melchiorsen.

The Maasai Steering Committee will have the ownership and drive it collectively. The income will be allocated to maintenance and, in addition, to activities they agree on, such as more training within capital for micro loans to jointly finance start-up capital to kickstart businesses, additional workshops within livestock or Politics, or funding for the children’s education.

What the future holds… 

The Maasai homestay in Longido District will offer an authentic cultural experience for tourists. Located amidst the stunning landscapes of Tanzania. This venture aims to promote sustainable tourism while empowering the Maasai community.

Together with the Community of Maasai women, an area of land has now been bought with a stunning view faced towards Kilimanjaro. Shortly, the foundation for the first lodges will be built. Soon travelers are welcomed to visit and experience the Maasai culture.

Look through the pictures below from the volunteering trip from November and May.

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