Authentic Maasai culture

Amboseli landscape is predominantly home to the pastoral Maasai community whose economic livelihood is largely depended on livestock. Over the years, both the Maasai and wildlife have co-evolved in the east African savannah grasslands yielding to a harmonious co-existence. Pastoralism and wildlife conservation require considerably large tracts of land hence making the Maasai a trusted partner in all conservation endeavors. Further, the Maasai as a people are endowed with a fascinating culture that has greatly enriched Kenya’s tourism industry. 

A diversity of their material culture, simple life in the kraals, songs and dances culminate to the epical and charismatic jumping style of the young warriors that has become an appealing product for tourists seeking a glimpse of the cultural immersion. This has given the Maasai people global significance and their culture remains as an undisputed tourism product

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

Livestock breed improvement

Continued support for pastoralism is an extension of an olive branch to wildlife. Cultural status dictates that a legit maasai strives to keep a large herd of livestock. However, ecological findings ascertained that large herds of cattle are detrimental to the environment that consequently leads to reduction in range productivity. To ameliorate the foreseeable negative effects, AET together with a partner has initiated a livestock breed improvement program in the ecosystem. Through this initiative, the land owners have received 20 seed bulls of the Sahiwal breed of cattle that fetches high returns in terms of milk, meat and market value compared to the African Zebu. the desired result is the increase in market gains through high price while safeguarding the environmental integrity through less livestock numbers.

Cultural tourism enhancement

The ecosystem has a high potential for cultural tourism that AET is advocating for the land owners to seize. Through formation of community conservancies across the Amboseli pastoral range, the locals are steadily positioned to reap off substantial benefits from the lucrative tourism industry an objective captured in the new ecosystem planning going to the future. A notable example of this aspiration is the support of Noonkoiak cultural boma by AET. The entity is a women ecotourism enterprise that is geared to empowering the rural women to diversify sources of revenue through sales of handcraft jewelry and presentation of their guttural singing and thus enabling them to mitigate household poverty while at the same time build the positive relationship between people and wildlife.

Amboseli Ecoystem Trust

Grass Seed bank conservation and management

As the human population continue to surge, demand and scramble for the natural resources will take an exponential trend leading to depletion, degradation and loss of productivity of the environment. In regard to natural resources exploitation the world over, the greatest puzzle to unravel is maintaining sustainable levels of resources offtake. AET and partners with support from the JUSTDIGGIT FOUNDATION, has embarked on a regreening movement as a critical component of ecological restoration on the degraded lands within the Amboeli landscape. One of such interventions to mitigate resource depletion is establishment of grass Seed banks in the community group ranches as is the case with Osiram Women Group. Engaging the women in growing grass seeds for replenishment as well baling grass fodder enables them to access alternative source of money without relying entirely on proceeds from cultural tourism

Group ranches capacity building

The amboseli group ranches are large tracts of land that spports people and wildlife in a uniquely intertwined system of multiple land uses. Management of this important resources are entrusted to the group ranches elected leadership. Being a grassroot of the local community, AET engages the leadership in making them conversant with the government policy development pertaining natural resources. It is the responsibility of AET to enlightened the community on Wildlife Act 2013, community land Act 2016 and general environmental prerequisites on EIA. Further, the leaders are brought to speed on general principles of good governance especially considering that leadership in the maasai community is preserve of men. Again, AET is mandated to coordinate partners and community members in resolving resource -based conflict including advocating for gender equity and equitable sharing of resources