Maa Beadwork social enterprise was established to create sustainable alternative livelihoods for women living around conservancies in the Maasai Mara so that they become direct beneficiaries. From the income generated, women are able to improve the lives of their families by providing clean water, install a solar power system to provide lighting for homework and enabling children who previously could not afford to go to school, to start their education.
The beautiful handcrafted beadwork items are sold at the Trust HQ outlet and partner camps within the Mara conservancies as well as ethical stores around the world and ranges created in partnership with one of the 10 designers that we are currently working with.
We welcome designers to come and visit us and spend time with the ladies producing their dream creations.
Jonathan and Angela Scott from Big Cat Diaries with their designer son, David (For Your Eyes Only)
Elaine (Kushukuru) visited several times in 2018 to perfect her beaded cushion range.
Thanks to the astounding support that Maa Beadwork has received, it is now reaching break even point. If sales continue at this level during 2019, this will be the first complete year that Maa Beadwork is financially self-sustaining. This is a huge achievement for the Maa Beadwork team.
On the chart below, period one is the end of 2017, period 2 is the beginning of 2018 and period 3 is the end of 2018, beginning of 2019.
Maa Bricks was conceived by the Maa Trust and partner organization Builders of Hope out of the mutual desire by both organization to improve housing conditions in the Maasai Mara region whilst making them more eco-friendly and affordable. It was envisaged that the project, making compressed soil blocks, would create employment opportunity for local youth, by enabling them to play a role in the growing housing and construction sector.
This project was launched in 2018. Training of 40 local youth took place in March, the Bricks received their safety standard approval certificate and the first trial building was constructed – a satellite office for Maa Beadwork.
The Maa Bricks team is currently creating 110,000 bricks in preparation for the construction of The Maa Trust’s new Community Outreach Centre.
Women’s Empowerment Program
In 2018, Isen Kipetu joined The Maa Trust to formalize our engagement with women’s groups. During 2018 she ensured that all 19 microfinance women’s groups are now formerly registered and have access to the government’s Women Enterprise Developmental Loans programme. Isen has also started organizing training workshops for these women. Themes to date include water and sanitation, menstrual hygiene management, nutrition and at the end of 2018 Isen and Programmes Manager Marias attended a Street Business School training workshop in Uganda in preparation for starting to train women and youth in entrepreneurial skills – how to start and develop their own business.
Whilst The Maa Trust’s children’s programme has stepped in to support children facing or recoving from abuse, reconciliation with families is an essential component of the programme. This was very successful and by the end of 2018, all 50 children within the scholarship programme were able to return to their families during school holidays.
Three times each year, during the school holidays, Great Plains Conservation Foundation supports a Conservation Holiday Club for the scholarship children. Each one has a different environmental and social theme. During 2018 this included sexual reproductive health (a major influencing factor for school drop outs), elephants, predators, mental wellbeing, circle of life and land conservation.
We really enjoy listening to the kids poems about each theme as they have a genuine and organic way of writing and expressing their thoughts and experiences. The children that we support are collectively one big family. The older students who are in secondary school are great mentors for our younger students, this shows that the children are growing and that they are able to put the teachings or learnings into practice.
Students on a game drive with Great Plains Litter pick up in Talek with Friends of Maasai Mara
In 2018 we placed a large emphasis on preventative action. While the scholarship programme greatly assists children once they are in a crisis, the goal of preventative actions is to prevent children from reaching this crisis point. Seleyian, our youth coordinator, has been visiting school to talk to the children about about sensitive topics including menstrual hygiene management, sexual reproductive health, drugs, peer pressure and family relationships.
Seleyian talking to School Children
During 2019 we have re-launched Maa Honey by meeting with the women in the respective groups, reforming the groups and resetting goals and mission of Maa Honey with the women. It was decided that the members of Maa Honey will assist with the packaging of the honey in groups of five. They will be invited to do the packaging after every harvest, the women will know the quantity of honey harvested and packaged for accountability and transparency purposes. In May 2018, we had our first small harvest and the other will be done in early 2019. The women are keen to increase the size of the harvests, and thus their income. It was decided to launch a fundraising campaign to raise funds to buy more beehives. The ladies will raise 50% of the cost and The Maa Trust will seek support for $50 per hive (50%). The goal is to add an additional 100 hives in 2019.
Water, Health and Sanitation.
Access to clean and safe water is a challenge to most of the households in the Mara, Women in particular are the burden bearers of ensuring that water is available at all times in these homesteads, in the process they spend a lot of time walking long distances to get water where they remain at risks and in danger from wild animals hence triggering human wildlife conflict. Besides walking long distances the collected water is shared between wild animals, livestock and human beings. Through this water, people are directly consuming animal’s waste hence getting waterborne diseases including typhoid, dysentery, and amoebiosis.
To address these problems, The Maa Trust constructs water projects in partnership with Dig Deep. This include five community rainwater harvesting systems, two spring protection and smaller rainwater harvesting systems at schools and households. In 2017 it was found that only 6% of the population collect water from a borehole, 4% were using protected springs. A repeat survey in 2018 found that only 18% collect water from their previous water points which are open and shared with livestock and animals, 82% are now using water from a rainwater project.
In addition to the construction of water projects, The Maa Trust places a large emphasis on water and sanitation (WASH) education within communities. Thanks to support from Dig Deep, The Maa Trust conducted 19 WASH training sessions within 2018, training 420 people.
Through the sustainable spending project, The Maa Trust in partnership with Dig Deep enables local families to buy tanks at a subsidized cost and install rainwater harvesting tanks on their homes. Ladies in Maa Beadwork and Maa Honey are privileged to have a further subsidized guttering system where Dig Deep pays for half of the installation cost. As a result of this subsidization, tank sales have increased, in the second half of 2018, 47 water tanks were installed.
A newly constructed house with a water tank at Rekero village.
With the growth of all programmes, The Maa Trust’s income and expenditure have continued to grow.
In 2018 actual income was $812,865 compared to $712,600 budgeted and actual expenditure was $713,258 actual expenditure vs $617,665 budgeted.
The top three 2018 funding sources and % each is of the budget were.
IEEE Smart Village 13%
OMC bednight donations 4%
Private anonymous donor 3%