The focus of the sustainable livelihoods programme is not just to generate income, but rather to reduce household poverty.
Research revealed that rather than improving the quality of life, additional income generated through such programs reduced the need for households to sell sheep to pay for their usual household expenditure. When the Maasai Mara is beyond its livestock carrying capacity, this has negative environmental consequences.
The Maa Trust has undertaken a survey with every member of one of their sustainable livelihoods programs to ask the households directly what their greatest challenges are. These were identified as: collecting water which is often far away and dirty, collecting firewood to cook on, having no electricity or lighting at home, children (especially daughters) not attending school because of a lack of fees.
The sustainable spending project, facilitates those earning an income to use this to address what they self-identified as their greatest problem at home. This may be buying a rainwater tank for their house, installing a small solar power system or saving for school fees. In 2020, solar lanterns and gas cylinders will be added to this program, as an alternative to firewood. In 2019, The Maa Trust sold 56 water tanks and 4 Mkopa solar systems through the sustainable spending program. These purchases improve the quality of life for families, reduce poverty, ease the chores to be undertaken by women which frees up time in which they can be economically productive and also reduces their household environmental impact.
By the Numbers
water tanks sold.
mkopa solar systems sold.