Having visited Hell’s Gate National Park a few weeks prior, GHS-A students saw the potential the Maasai Cultural Centre could have for the community.
The Maasai community in Kenya is rich in history, culture, and tradition. However, due to displacement (due to the development of KenGen geothermal energy industry on traditional lands), poor infrastructure, and limited resources, the community is also facing many challenges particularly in regards to their health and education.
GHS-A students saw an opportunity to use economic development to make positive change within the community. Working with representatives from the Maasai community, they developed a project whereby they would use using marketing and promotional materials to increase visitors and enhance the existing Maasai Cultural Centre in Hell’s Gate National Park. Increased visitors would generate more revenue for the community through admission and retail sales, which could then be used to fund other immediate community needs.
GHS-A students developed a Facebook page (check it out here), and website (see here), a promotional video (see below), and posters to be hung in hotels and resorts in Naivasha in order to showcase the Maasai Cultural Centre as a tourist and cultural site. Future ideas include the development of educational signs throughout the Cultural Centre, with information about Maasai traditions (e.g., stories, traditional fire making practices, manyattas, healers, etc.), as well as more formal kiosks for the women to sell their handmade beaded jewelry. A long-term idea would be for the Maasai community to start the process of registering the Maasai Cultural Centre with the National Museums of Kenya to promote visibility and attract more visitors.
Maasai leaders have emphasized the importance of education for the future of the community. When the students visited the Olkaria Primary School in the new settlement, it was expressed that the school food program increased school attendance and ensured students were receiving at least one meal each day. The ultimate impact we hope this project will have is to increase revenue to support the school food program, keep students in school longer to improve their overall education, and subsequently improve community well-being.
Group 5 – Maasai Cultural Centre. Adèle Richardson, Nicole Saunders, Sevan Boudakian (MMASc in Global Health Systems in Africa Candidates) and Joyce Mutiso (BSc Egerton University)