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  1. 1. Maasai Development Forum Information Memorandum 2011 Page 1
  2. 2. MAASAI DEVELOPMENT FORUM.(M.D.F)Sustainable local developmentOne of the most complex and difficult issues facing the indigenous peoples on our planetis how, or indeed whether or not to reconcile their traditional life-style with what can beconsidered true sustainable local development. All too often, our vision of sustainablelocal development is culturally clouded by Western concepts of progress, but doesn’t failto take the issues and the wisdom of local traditions on board. sadly, many indigenouspeoples are buying into so-called “modernity”, to the detriment of their traditionalpractice. And the combination of outside exploitation of mineral and land resources,human greed, climate change and loss of biodiversity and of the natural balance oftraditional ecosystems all add up to a kind of local development that is ultimatelyanything but sustainable.But education can be seen as part of the way forward. This article tries to tell some of thestory of the Maasai population, keeping livestock such as cattle, sheep, goats anddonkeys .A traditional society based on a harmonious balance between men, women andnature: a little background informationFew people are aware of the complex traditional balance of Maasai society. They arepastoralists, with land that is traditionally a common good. Their territory covers bothKenya and Tanzania. Their society is based on traditions that are transmitted from oneage group to another. It has an open-minded, humanist basis, with a structured profoundspiritual wisdom, knowledge of medical virtues of plants and trees, and a social practiceanchored in honor, loyalty, sharing and respect. Their society is also based on the wisdomof mediation and conflict resolution rather than aggression.Their pastoral practice is anchored on a deep historical knowledge of their land and thealternating dry and rainy seasons. It used to include cohabitation with wildlife, and anaturally balanced difference between the way that cows graze (they eat the longgrasses), and other animals that eat only the shorter grass and browse the acacias trees Page 2
  3. 3. and other plants. Drought is not a new phenomenon in these regions, but the historicaccess to highland pastures alternating with grazing the steppe in the plains used tomean that ecosystems and cattle survived. Contrary to the loudly expressed opinions ofmany so-called development agencies, the Maasai never destroyed the land. Quite theopposite: their rotating grazing systems were a mighty factor of preservation! Until veryrecently they were a wealthy people, with herds of many thousands of heads of cattle,even though they do not necessarily attach much traditional importance to money per seas they have always used a barter system and paid livestock for dowry and peacemaking.HUMAN RIGHTS/ANIMAL RIGHTSLand reform, land-grabbing and the violation of human and animal rights Colonial and post-colonial land reform frequently granted private land rights to bothnatural wildlife reserves and parks (to be used to exploit tourism), and introducedWestern style cattle ranching on the best lands that were allocated to both black andwhite elites.The Maasai have progressively become marginalized and dispossessed of their lands.They have been excluded from their traditional grazing lands such as the Mara (now thefamous Maasai Mara game park in Kenya), and Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania. For apeople to whom land is a communal territory containing resources, rather than a resourceto be appropriated by individuals, (or the State) the above are totally at odds with theway in which traditional Maasai have always governed by social and political conventionsdesigned to reduce the risk of unpredictable climate and semi-arid conditions. Thebalance of culture and nature enabled the Maasai to live in harmony with other creatureson their lands. An example of one of many land-grabs is illustrated by one of several incidents that tookplace in 2009 (previous similar incidents took place in 2006). Non-pastoralist communitiesmassively evicted pastoralists in Tanzania from their traditional lands with governmental Page 3
  4. 4. support and collusion. They introduced modern intensive cattle ranches aimed atexporting meat. Farmers entered land that was not theirs, gained deeds to the land, andstarted to farm. The government supported them, stating that the Maasai wereuneducated and poor. Cows were impounded and died of hunger and thirst. There werephysical fights over land, and even deaths. Maasai homes were burnt. Access to water forgrazing became a serious issue. Cows were rounded up, and the Maasai had to pay30,000 Tanzanian shillings (about 18 Euros) a head as a fine for “damaging theenvironment” and 1,500,0000TZS (880Euros) to put them into trucks that they had torent (a further expense) to remove them from the “camps”. During the evictions,traditional leaders and the Maasai Bishop Jacob Mameo of ELCT Morogoro diocese wentfrom village to village, organizing traditional meetings to organize advocacy. The evictednomadic pastoralists informed members of the parliaments, the European Union, theUnited Nations, the African Commission on Human & Peoples’ Rights and Localgovernments of great violation of human and animal rights, but the impact of thisinformation has yet to be felt on the ground.From considerable wealth (their cows) the Maasai were quickly reduced to a destitutecommunity: typically, people went from owning from 300 cows to nothing overnight.Children were out of school, with parents who could no longer afford to pay the schoolfees. This was of course not only unconstitutional, but also a violation of the UnitedNations Declaration of Indigenous People’s Rights, Human Rights and also animal rights…The Prime Minister created a commission in 2007, but over two years later, the report stillhas not been published. The government position has remained one of prioritizing foreigninvestment in land and tourism… The regions of Arusha, Rukwa, Morogoro and Mbeyahave been the most affected. A population of 10,000 pastoralists have lost more than300,000 livestock. The affected families have been left by the government to die ofhunger and disease Page 4
  5. 5. Fighting against all oddsThe Maasai Development Forum was founded by the community as an informal CBO. Ituses traditional Maasai leadership as a natural form of governance. In 2008 it became aformal structure to enable it to receive outside funding for local projects. It continues todo much successful work at international level in terms of advocacy and defendingMaasai and pastoralists’ rights as well as providing basic needs for the maasai people intimes of disasters like drought and famine where relief food, medication and water isneeded. Maasai Development Forum is desperate in need of membership in theinternational platform establishments that defend indigenous peoples’, pastoralists’ andtraditional hunter-gatherers’ rights.EDUCATIONThe heart of the village project would be a well founded church, a dispensary, primaryschools, secondary schools, politechniques and adult learning centers. This will not onlycreate a platform for Maasai children to get quality education, but it will also enable themaasai generations to understand their changing environment, preserve the culture andimprove their livelihoods. By having these important facilities available within the reach ofvillages, means other sustainable modes of livelihood can easily be introduced to theentire community, rather than moving their animals from one area to the other forexample, the Maasai community can be taught on how to till the land and grow crops,high yielding animals also can be introduced to the farmers to encourage them keep fewanimals with high returns.As the article says, Maasai communities today are facing multiple challenges: humanrights issues, climate change, land grabbing, economic survival and the inevitablemigration not to new pastures and grasslands but towards the major cities and touristresorts, with all that this implies. Whatever the future impacts of government policy orclimate change on the pastoralist community, the emphasis in Maasai Development Page 5
  6. 6. Forum is on education, both through the modern school system and Maasai traditionsthat are part of this project. It is an important element that will help these young peopleto preserve their identity and face whatever the future holds in store.URGENT CURRENT PROJECT----DISASTER MANAGEMENTFood Relief Urgent for Kenyas Drought-Stricken Pastoralist Communities Thousands ofMaasai have been braving strong winds and stinging dust at the Seuseu center inOloshoibor, a community in the Ngong Hills, Kenya, to receive drought relief food for thelast five months.Distributed by the Maasai Development Forum (MDF) at both Oloigerunovillages,enkutoto,osero lempere,olomorooj and another community center in Olmaroroiapproximately 9000 people are at risk of starvation and urgently need relief food, waterand medication.The FIVE-month drought, famine and hunger has already claimed the lives of 10 people inthis tight-knit community, along with thousands of livestock, including donkeys, goats,sheep, dogs and cattle."This drought, it has made all people poor in this community," said John Mopel during aninterview at Osarara. "When livestock have problems, families have problems—and thatmeans those children that are lucky to be in school are sent home from school becausethey can’t study without eating, families can’t pay for anything, not school fees, not forfood, not for uniforms not for books and schools have to be closed down."A majority of those affected were women and children, who bear much of the burdencaused by the lack of rain. Some women had walk for more than four hours to Naroosurawhenever MDF has some food to deliver for them to pick up their share of the reliefgoods, these, they have to carry it on their backs for the return trip."Now that the cows are so thin, men cannot sell them. Many of the men have migratedwith the cows to the neighboring countries," mama nashipae explained in an interview."That leaves the women responsible for taking care of the children without help," shesaid. Page 6
  7. 7. In addition to her typical duties of cooking, cleaning, and fetching water and firewood,Nashipae is forced to make and sell charcoal to feed her extended family. But even that isbecoming difficult because the government has put to a stop any forest destruction andthese maasai women now have no other means of survival."Relief food has really helped the people live [through the drought]."Nashipae told us.Even though Joyce Tunta is thankful for the relief food, she said it is not enough. The twocups of cooking oil and 5kgs of maize flour she received will only last for two days. Tuntais a widow responsible for a family of nine.MDF receives funding for the food distribution through local government, well wishers,individual donors and students of Montreal university. this year, MDF has not received anydonations apart from the 100bags of maize it received from the Kenya Cereals Boardwhich was only fed to 3 village in 4days.The current drought has negatively affected many communities, but pastoralists, whodepend on their livestock for their livelihoods, have been among those hardest hit.Seventy percent of Kenya’s lands are occupied by pastoral communities."As we receive help, let us remember that God has given us the ability to change ourcurrent situation, through handwork, unity, determination and prayers. That way, we areguaranteed a possibility to help ourselves someday."Kenny Ole Sankale addressing a maasai gathering in a relief distribution village”. Maasai Development Forum(Relief food fund) I’ve been hungry, but I’ve never been starving. I’ve never been so desperate that I picked up individual pieces of spilled dried corn andbeans out of the dusty ground. I’ve never held out a plastic container and begged for Page 7
  8. 8. “just a cup” of corn. You probably haven’t either. But as food was distributed at theBaptist church in Maralal, Kenya and greed overtook some people who grabbed andpushed, others sat in the dirt with their plastic cups and bags and winnowed the remainsin the hopes that it might be enough to make a meal.I couldn’t see how such a little amount could make a difference to anyone, but I supposethat is the difference between want and need. I beginning to believe there is a certainpsychology accompanying extreme hunger that affects people in a way that most of uswill never understand. In the Maasai District in Rift valley Kenya, we have not seen a dropof rain fall for over 4 months. If drought persists, conditions will worsen. As grasslandsdry up there is no pasture for livestock. Cows no longer provide milk which is vital as asource of food and also money to buy other food staples like flour, tea and sugar. This isthe life of the pastoralist. The water holes where women walk daily have become littlemore than cracked and dried depressions of dirt. They now must walk much further andin some areas must wait for elephants for to have their fill before they dare draw theirown daily supply.Many Maasai are having a difficulttime these days; some more thanothers. While some are still able towalk and wait and survive on alittle, others are in real danger.most of them are sick withHIV/AIDS, elderly, widowed,orphaned. These are the ones wesought out as we gave foodprovided by Baptist GlobalResponse. Page 8
  9. 9. Over a period of 4 days, we were able to give beans, dried corn and fat. Each personreceived enough food to get them through the last month. Purchasing goods andtransport through local vendors with whom we have relationship allowed us to provideadequate nutrition for one month. Living and working in the area allows us to utilize localpastors, church members and community leaders who will work for free to distributefood honestly and with fairness. At the same time, we are demonstrating the incarnatelove of Christ as we give to the “least of these”.Thank you for your prayers and support of our work, our ministry and the Maasai peopleof Kenya. Continue to pray for rain. All her people groan as they search for bread; they barter their treasures for food to keep themselves alive... Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord; Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven." -Lamentations 1:11; 3:40-41 (NIV) Page 9
  10. 10. Pray for pastoralists who are watching their animals and their livelihoods die. Pray forthose advising “ Page 10
  11. 11. Pray for good health and quality medical care for those who have no access to cleanwater due to drought or floods. Pray for those with no or little income as the costs offood rise due to the drought and failed crops in flooded areas. Continue praying for thoseplanning relief efforts. Pray that government officials will truly look beyond theirdifferences and respond speedily to the needs of their people. Pray for wisdom andstrength as they plan and deliver food – there are limited resources and choosing themost needy recipients and getting the food is often difficult. Pray that through all of this,God’s children will be strong ambassadors of His love and salvation as they relate to thosewho are physically and spiritually hungry and thirsty, Page 11
  12. 12. I know my heavenly Father loves the little goat-minder, the potato seller, and even thebaby lamb. I know he expects those of us who are receiving His love to also care aboutthose who are suffering. He wants us searching for the hungry, thirsty and lost. He wantsus to minister to them – meeting their physical, mental and emotional needs, especiallytheir spiritual needs. Please continue praying for rain in Kenya and that the suffering fromdrought will soon end. Pray that the leaders of the country will end their politicalwrangling and focus on meeting the needs of their people. Pray especially that God’schildren will find ways to share His love with those who are suffering in Kenya and inother parts of our world. Page 12
  13. 13. "Winnowing the Remains-Praying for the Maasai" From Emily and Chris, volunteersworkers with the Maasai People:“I’ve been hungry, but I’ve never been starving. I’ve never been so desperate that Ipicked up individual pieces of spilled dried corn and beans out of the dusty ground. Page 13
  14. 14. I’ve never held out a plastic container and begged for “just a cup” of corn. You probablyhaven’t either … for more of how Emily and Chris, volunteers workers, provided food anda demonstrations of the incarnate love to starving maasai. Page 14
  15. 15. - As I photographed the opening prayer of a she said:“I know there are hungry children in Africa, but…” (her words) later returned to me …during a prayer time : “How often do I recognize a problem of people suffering and add a‘but’ before I move on to another concern?” … Please join me in praying for the hungrychildren of Kenya and of our world. Pray that they will get adequate housing, clothes,education, security and medical care. Pray that Christians in their midst will respond alsoto their spiritual hunger and be active and nurturing ambassadors of their Father’s loveand salvation. For the rest of this posting and an incredible illustration our Savior’s words,“For I was hungry and you gave me“The river was a babbling brook, not the customary mighty torrent. It could not begin Page 15
  16. 16. to quench the thirst of the people, animals and fields along its way as it meandered toEastern Province, just as it had left behind barren land and thirsty and hungry people inthe Central Province.” A perfect introductory sentence to my next prayer item on famine… Then it happened. We spotted people running with empty bags. Seconds later, womenand men carrying filled sacks or with gathered shirts and skirts holding something walkedpast the runners in the opposite direction. Then people appeared hauling damaged bagson their backs, heads, shoulders, bicycles, or between two sets of arms. A trail of cornkernels marked their paths. This is just but a mention of the many stories showing thedesperation of those facing famine,Pray for Those Ministering to the Hungry andAs you pray for those facing starvation, pray also for those who are responding to theirneeds. These men and women are facing physical, emotional, and spiritual battles. Praythat they will have exceptional strength in all these areas … Praise God for how Kenyansare responding to the needs of their brothers and sisters. Praise God for a renewed desireof Kenyan Christians to obey their Savior and feed the hungry and give something to drinkto the thirsty (Matthew 25:31-46). Praise God for their deeper commitment to prayer.“Cows are dying and many, many people are very hungry” From the Maasai Team: “Cowsare dying in Maasai area and many, many people are very hungry… we have close to 200pastors gathering and counting names of the ‘poorest of the poor’ in all areas of Maasai- Page 16
  17. 17. land in Kenya …, currently estimating about 180,000 people to receive food Please prayfor Gods will to be made known in this matter … pray with us for rain… Fromthe Maasai Team: “We plan to do a feeding project this month. Pray that the food will gomiraculously far … Pray that it will not only make an impact in peoples physical lives, butin their spiritual life, as well.”… pray for the estimated 10.6 million Kenyans, a third of all Kenyans, who are hungry andthirsty. Praise God for His servants who are responding to the needs of those facingfamine … Pray for wisdom, sensitivity and strength for all those planning relief efforts.Pray also that ministering Christians will be strong ambassadors of their Father’s love andsalvation to all those “who live on earth – to every nation, tribe, language and people”(Revelation 14:6).Pray for courage, boldness and protection for Kenyans who are asking questions andseeking change that benefits all Kenyans and not just an elite few. Praise God for thosewho are finding ways to respond to the famine such as the milk company ... advertising“Highly discounted prices on … to support famine relief” and provide nourishment for“Kenyan child(ren) on the brink of losing hope.” Pray for churches that are seeking thebest ways to minister in the name of their Father.Many children are too weak to attend school. Others are out of school as they search foror raise money to buy food. Pray for an end to the problems of distribution (of foods) …some children are not dying because of the lack of food but because of eating things thatare “unfit for human consumption” such as deadly cactus. Pray that long-lasting solutions Page 17
  18. 18. will be found that will end the suffering caused by continuing droughts.(Pray) that the Kenyan government will meet the needs of all her citizens, not just a fewwho desire personal riches and power … (pray) for brighter futures for the poor of Kenya – especially that they will come to know and fully claim our Savior’s love and joyPray that the assessments will be speedy and reveal the greatest needs and the best waysto respond … Pray … that people will have the means to clean water or be able to purify available water Page 18
  19. 19. … Pray that farmers … will not be exploited by others … Pray for … the increased higherprices that results from drought … Pray that additional deaths and hurt will not occur dueto the resulting tensions … pray for an end to their spiritual “drought” as you pray for anend to the physical drought … pray for the individual persons facing starvation, especially that each one will come to know and depend upon our Savior, the Bread of Life (John 6:35) Pray that additional problems such as this bird invasion … will not lead to “worsening an already fragile food security”My intention and my prayer is that as you read the specifics of Kenya’s current problems,you will not only pray for Kenya, but you will be able to come in and give a helping hand, better able to pray with all your heart, mind and soul for other places in our world experiencing the same problems … Pray for good health for the affected children – children will be the first to die due to the lack of proper food … Pray also for thesanitation situation – many … die due to … the diseases that occur when there is little or no water … Pray that war, corruption and bad decisions do not compound the hungerproblems. Pray for those accustomed to only eating certain foods … Pray that Christians among those bringing help to the areas will be bold witnesses of their Father’s love and salvation. Page 19
  20. 20. Our world that faces another hunger – they do not know of our Father’s love and salvation. Pray for these people where schooling is not an option as parents are joined by “young children … in their daily search for means of livelihood” ... These people need a miracle – They need water and food … available food items to be priced fairly … animals to stay healthy so they can sell them for good prices … a break from locusts invasions which worsens the availability of food for the people and animals … quick response by government and aid agencies – They need the few Christians in the area to be bold witnesses of our Father’s love and salvation!Kenya and Kenyan Baptists need your prayers and I want you praying specifically and purposefully because our heavenly Father hears our prayers and He responds… I also send prayer items to educate you … My goal is to open your eyes, ears and hearts so that when you hear future bits of news and information about Kenya and other places, your prayer tool box will be ready – You will know how to pray when needed without detailed directions. Page 20
  21. 21. Join me in praying that those who can bring about positive change in Kenya will allow God’s Word to direct their “soul and spirit … thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Pray that the Christians in leadership will be bold servants and ambassadors of their Savior’s peace, love and salvation. Pray that Kenyans will receive the needed physical and spiritual nourishment. Pray that Kenya will become a nation who truly worship, obey and serve only our heavenly Father and be a witness to their neighbors of God’s love and salvation. As you pray for food, water, medical care, etc, for those facing starvation, pray that government leaders will make wise decisions … Pray that the decisions/plans will not be to the benefit of a few who desire to profit from the problems of others in the country. Pray that Christians who are affected by the drought and those ministering to them will be bold Page 21
  22. 22. ambassadors of their heavenly Father, the one they depend upon for not just their daily bread, but for love and salvation.”Pray for all those…facing drought and hunger…that not only will government and aidorganizations bring physical food, but the Christians among them will bring spiritual food …Pray for the children who will have to delay schooling due to the drought ... pray also that thefarmers will be prepared for the next growing season and not become deeper in debt due tothe increased food prices and purchase of seeds. Pray that through all of this, the Christians inthese areas will be strong ambassadors of their Father’s love, peace and those who are“unreached will be reached by our Savior’s love and salvation. Page 22
  23. 23. FEEDING PROGRAMME FOR 7M0NTHS.(6000 people) Maasai Development Forum is laying emphasis towards permanent food securityamong the pastoralists and nomadic communities, this could be a more worthy projectrather than relying on handouts and donations, but this is a long term project than needsto be implemented in phases with a bigger budget and reliable funding.As for now, people are dying every day, not because of malaria, AIDS or road accidents,but because of starvation. It is shameful in a world where others bounce in luxury, andcalls for urgency, we are doing our best to feed the starving families at least for7months,hopefully the rains will fall and then we can start educating them on how to tillland and get themselves food on their tables on a long-term basis.Blessed is the hand that gives than the hand that receives.If you are reading this, am sure there is something you can do, we need your best shot inthis, May God give you the ability to see and act towards helping the suffering brothersand sisters out there. Remember, a ready plate of food only costs approximately2dollars.If a million people buy a plate each, how many plates shall we have?Much regards and God’s protection from the Maasai people, Kenny N.Ole Sankale(C.E.Oand Maasai Cultural Ambassador MDF).Bahati Wanja S.(Director MDF) and Edwin Kasaine(Legal Adviser MDF). _______________ GOD BLESS YOU _______________ Page 23