Rural Maasai Land in Kenya

GEOGRAPHICAL ISSUES

Maasailand lies at the south-western tip of the Republic of Kenya and is found at the south part of the vast Rift valley. It borders the Republic of Tanzania to the south, Bomet and Nakuru district to the north. The MEA covers

  • Narok
  • Kajiado
  • Mulot
  • Oloitokitok
  • Samburu
  • Trans Mara districts

Maasai Children

AGRICULTURE AND POVERTY

Average rainfall in the area varies from 500 mm to 1,800 mm a year. This is not a lot, and sometimes there is very little rainfall and can cause long droughts. The dry season can extend to three months: no rain at all, in a hot and dry climate.

However, there is widespread poverty caused by two main factors: natural calamities and the lack of proper skills and knowledge to exploit the land. Maasai people are largely pastoralists who lead a traditional Maasai lifestyle - mainly rearing livestock such as sheep, goats and cattle.

Due to influence from agriculturists who have come to settle and occupy some of the land, the Maasai are now farming in some areas on a small scale. The land is fertile and favourable for the growing of crops such as maize and beans.

Because of the lack of money, the community cannot afford to treat livestock diseases, so animals die in their hundreds. There is little diversification in economic activities to buffer these natural disasters. Due to lack of literacy, knowledge and skills, the community has become vulnerable to exploitation by middlemen who rip off huge profits.

LAND SHORTAGES
With population increase and land subdivision (individual ownership) there is every indication that the land available is not enough. Some families, especially polygamous ones, are larger than others and subdivision of land has not favoured them with larger parcels.

 

 

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