By visiting the Mara Naboisho Conservancy, you will be playing a part in protecting the cultural heritage of the local Maasai community and improving their access to vital services.
The Mara Naboisho Conservancy was established not only to conserve the environment and wildlife, but also to protect and empower the local Maasai community. When you stay at Naboisho, part of the conservancy fee is channelled back into the community, making the project more sustainable.
In addition to this, there are also a number of community empowerment projects run by the Basecamp Foundation Kenya, a non-profit organisation. These projects - which include training locals to become guides, supporting local schools, improving access to healthcare and clean water, and empowering women - help to strengthen and uplift the community.
Because all three elements - the people, the land, and the wildlife - are inextricably linked, progress has a knock-on effect: as the community becomes more aware of the benefits of tourism in the area, the argument for protecting the environment and the wildlife gains traction.
Most of the guides at the Mara Naboisho Conservancy have graduated from the Koiyaki Guiding School. The school, which provides local Maasai school leavers with education in guiding and conservation, was established in 2006.
The school serves the dual purpose of equipping locals with the necessary skills and knowledge to find employment, and improving the tourism industry by nurturing world-class guides. It has, on numerous occasions, benefitted from the generosity of patrons who have stayed at the Mara Naboisho Conservancy. Read more
Community empowerment is not possible without education. Although there are seven schools in the vicinity of the Mara Naboisho Conservancy, many of these schools lack basic facilities and are plagued by a shortage of teachers.
Basecamp Foundation Kenya and the Olare Orok Trust, which do in community work in the area surrounding the conservancy, have been involved in various initiatives to support these schools. These initiatives have included the provision of dormitories, solar electricity, toilets, clean water, desks, and mobile computer training facilities. Read more
One of the major healthcare challenges facing the community around the Mara Naboisho Conservancy is HIV/AIDS. As there are only three clinics to serve the entire community, the disease puts additional strain on the already under-resourced healthcare system.
Basecamp Foundation Kenya has attempted to support the system by, among other things, funding voluntary HIV testing, providing supplements for people living with AIDS, and constructing the new Ole Sere clinic. Read more
In Africa, water is a scarce resource. One of the biggest challenges that the conservancy faces is ensuring that there is enough clean water for the community, the wildlife, the livestock, and tourists.
It is currently conducting a hydrology survey, with the support of Norfund and the Basecamp Foundation Kenya, to determine what the water situation in the conservancy is. Once the requirements of each sector in the conservancy have been determined, it will develop a strategy to ensure that all parties have access to clean water. Read more
Basecamp Foundation Kenya, in collaboration with the Olare Orok Trust and with funding from the Stromme Foundation, is spearheading a campaign to mobilise 1000 women into micro-finance saving and investment groups by end of 2012.
The women who have joined the program are entrepreneurs who, among other things, own grocery shops, sell beadwork, trade livestock, keep bees, and lend money with interest. The micro-finance groups provide a useful structure through which to promote health education, adult literacy, advocacy against early marriages for girls, and education about good governance. Read more