Laikipia Maasai Projects

Laikipia

Laikipia District is one of the seventy-one districts of Kenya, located close to the Equator in the Rift Valley Province of the country. In additional to the Laikipia Maasai, there are many other ethnic communities in this region including Kikuyu, Samburu, Meru, Borana, Kalenjin, Somali, European, Asian, and Turkana, giving the district a diverse population. Most of the land is owned by a small population of old Kenyan settler families, and increasingly non-Kenyan wealthy landowners and international organizations.  In spite of losing most of their lands and residing within such a culturally diverse region, the Laikipi Maasai are fighting to retain their cultural heritage.  

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The Laikipia Maasai are the northernmost clan of the Maasai, a pastoralist nomadic tribe originally from Sudan. Their society is organized by age groups. All boys undergo circumcision when they are 15-18 years old, and thus join the warriors ranks. After approximately 10 years the warrior age group is closed and its warriors graduate to junior elders, while a new age group of warriors is opened. Today, the Laikipia Maasai still they have a seminomadic lifestyle: the warriors spend months in the bush with the cows in the dry season, while families remain stable in their homesteads.

A few generations back, in the early 1900s, the Laikipia Maasai lost a war with the southern tribes and reverted to a hunter-gatherer's life for a few years while rebuilding their livestock herds. Perhaps for this reason they have developed a very deep respect and understanding of the natural environment around them, of how to preserve it and protect it. There is a widespread knowledge of medicinal plants, and great concern about the sustainability in the use of resources.  While the warriors retain many of the old customs, the elders are striving to teach these customs to the younger generation.  

Please view the projects that we support in the Maasai community using the links above.

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