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How tourism benefits the grassroots communities around the Masai Mara

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang H. Thome, eTN Africa Correspondent  Aug 23, 2016

This cooperative initiative is geared towards safeguarding the Maasai traditional handicraft skills as well as empowering Maasai women in particular, but not only single mothers and widow Maasai women around Mararienda village, Mara North Conservancy, Kenya.

The income-generating activities pursued here are beading and beehives. The supporters of the initiative, among them Tina Frisk, General Manager of the Karen Blixen Camp, encourage young Masai daughters to join their mothers in the workshop in order to acquire their beading and beekeeping skills. 

All women in the group are offered language training twice a week at the Hospitality School. The project also aims to add additional skills like training on microfinance, HIV/Aids awareness and basic life skills education.

32 Maasai women are part of the bead project as it stands.

The development of a wider product portfolio of both traditional Maasai jewelry and a mix of Western and Maasai / Fusion jewelry is ongoing. The workshop has opened on the camp grounds and all Karen Blixen Camp guests are offered an Eco Walk where guest stop at the workshop.

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lay of Maasai traditional pieces of jewelry has been put in place, clients are given a short talk on the different meanings and uses of the items before being introduced to the story on how the project works.

The beehives are also visited and the honey is supplied to the Karen Blixen Camp restaurant. All products made by the 'mamas' are being sold in the shop according to fair trade principles. Each product is labelled with the producer’s name and the 'mama' keeps 65% of the selling price while 35 % is used for administration and material costs.

How tourism benefits the grassroots communities around the Masai Mara

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