In the Masai Mara, we have many projects which we work hand in hand with the local community to protect this unique and wild area of Africa. We try to ensure that the community who neighbour the National Reserve see real benefits from tourism and are thus encouraged to participate in conservation. These have taken many different forms from our projects with the Mara Rianda Charitable Trust to develop the Mara Rianda Primary School and Aitong Schools, serving the local community, a renewable energy project at the local Masai Manyatta to provide biogas a carbon neutral source of energy to the Masai which has many tangible benefits including reducing deforestation and providing free energy to the community, our local tree planting project which has so far planted over 5000 indigenous trees, our zero waste and recycling project which recycles all recyclable camp waste and produces briquettes for camp fuel (in turn supporting a community project in Nairobi), our eye clinic restoring eyesight to Masai previously devastated by blindness, our Kenyan Kids on Safari project which seeks to introduce children from the community to the flora and fauna of the Masai Mara in a new way, to the Karen Street Children's project where we offer apprenticiship programs at our camps.
Bordering the Masai Mara game reserve is a masai community called Mara Rianda. The community has one primary school, the Mara Rianda School. It was started by Masai parents who sold a few cattle to raise the necessary funds to build a few mud and wattle huts to educate their children. At the request of the local community Governors’ Camp Collection together with the BBC team from Big Cat Diary then got involved to help
All the work on the Mara Rianda School quickly made it one of the best schools in the area and the school was soon inundated with pupils. In order to relieve the pressure on the Mara Rianda School we have also started supporting the Aitong Primary School which is also situated outside the Masai Mara Game Reserve but a little further away towards the Aitong Hills.
The constant search for firewood to use as cooking fuel is a permanent problem for women in traditional Masai Communities. This problem occupies much time that could be otherwise used in more economically productive activities. The demand for firewood also puts pressure on and threatens fragile woodlands in the wilderness areas near these communities and all the interconnected ecosystems. In a pioneering effort to combat these twin problems Governors’ Camp funded the construction of two bio-gas plants in a Manyatta (traditional Masai homestead) near Mara Rianda village.
Governors’ Camp recently hosted a free eye clinic for the Masai Community in conjunction with the Kwale Eye Centre and AMREF. Eye disease which leads to poor eye sight and blindness is relatively common amongst the Masai communities living around the Masai Mara Game Reserve. Living in an area where there are lots of dangerous wild animals, blindness can be devastating for the Masai.
We have implemented a zero waste policy at our properties which means that all waste is sorted, separated and all recyclable material is then processed for recycling. In addition to this, in order to lessen our dependence on fossil fuels we have introduced a program to use recycled fuel for our hot water systems.
Elephants in their constant search for food knock down trees, it’s just something that they do….Often they will strip and eat a few branches of vegetation and then leave the rest of the tree to die. Over the years we have seen the Riverine forest of the Mara around the Mara river decline and shrink drastically. In an attempt to reverse this trend we have initiated a tree planting project.
The Karen Street Children’s Trust was established in 1995 with the purpose of rehabilitating children who had drifted on to the streets in the suburban area of Karen. These children all came from very impoverished backgrounds and were living desperate lives surviving on whatever they could find. The project was so successful in helping these children rebuild their lives and get back into education that there are now no street children in the area.
Governors’ Camp Collection supports the work of Kenyan Kids on Safari (KKOS). KKOS provides Kenyan children with the opportunity to join tourists, medical volunteers and others, while on safari and experience the wonder and uniqueness of their local wild environments. When local children participate in Kenya's renowned wildlife viewing, camping and other life skills, it enhances each child's personal development and self esteem.
Just outside the Masai Mara National Reserve is a Masai community called Mara Rianda. There is a traditional Masai homestead or Manyatta which consists of 48 traditional houses surrounding a cattle enclosure and 2 biogas plants installed by Governors’ Camp which provide the community with a renewable source of energy from their cattle manure. We encourage clients to visit this manyatta if they are interested in Masai culture to gain a unique perspective on the Masai and their way of life.
We are working with the Mara Cheetah Project, providing them with field data to help them monitor, research and conserve cheetahs of the Masai Mara.
We are delighted to announce that we are now featured on the Pack for a Purpose website http://www.packforapurpose.org/ Pack for a Purpose showcases responsible tourism projects around the world and gives clients a way of getting involved and contributing to those projects.
We are delighted to announce the opening of a new Health Centre at Mara Rianda just outside the Masai Mara National Reserve for our Masai community neighbours.This health facility will dramatically improve access to quality healthcare for the Masai community in the Mara Rianda area. We are very proud to have been partners in this great venture.