Of course we (Nelson, Margaret & the community) would LOVE you to come visit us in-person, but for those who cannot (or maybe not this year!) you can still become involved and an important part of the Nashulai Conservancy.
“70% of the wildlife of the Maasai Mara is not in the main park, it’s actually outside in the community lands. If we don’t get the community to come together, to preserve the land, then this will box in all the wildlife and they will not have enough as a habitat. So, the communities hold the key.” – Nelson Ole Reiyia
School for Girls
Imagine yourself as a girl in the Maasai Community. The promise of a dowry to your family is a powerful incentive for arranging your daughter’s marriage as soon as she “crosses the childhood bridge”. The cultural pressures against women’s education are nothing short of overwhelming. While growing up, FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) was a core cultural practice among the Maasai community. Over 35 years later, it’s sad to say this practice continues to deny many girls an education. This is the situation of many girls in the Mara.
Girls shunned by their villages, and even their own families, run to Nashulai because they want to go to school instead of getting married. I’ve seen girls who had to run away from home and leave everything they knew just to get an education!
Community empowerment is not possible without education. Although there are several schools in the Mara, many of these schools lack basic facilities and are plagued by a shortage of teachers, absenteeism from students and dropouts. Through the Mara Learning and Development Centre, my wife Margaret and I are involved in facilitating community work in the area surrounding the Nashulai Conservancy. We have been involved in various initiatives to support these schools, including: the provision of solar lamps, toilets, scholarships, community library, clean water, desks, and mobile computer training facilities.
Your donations to this project will go directly to:
- Showing families WHY educating their daughter is a better idea than marrying her off early and cutting off her genitalia. Using myself (Margaret SakianKoshalReiyia – Nelson’s wife) as an example, we teach families that an educated daughter can work and provide income to the family her whole life; versus the one-time payment of a marriage dowry. We offer a FREE education for these girls, but our condition is that the family does not subject her to FGM (female genital mutilation).
- Building classrooms as the school expands
- Paying teacher’s salaries
- Paying for school supplies, books and equipment
- Building a dormitory for the older girls. Many of our older girls have to walk long distances from their villages. They are often attacked or raped along the way. If we can house them at Nashulai, they will no longer be in danger or traumatized just to get an education.
If you can come visit us to help build facilities for the school, or to teach, or to bring school supplies, that would be fantastic!
But equally wonderful would be any amount you can donate – and remember that when we hire local people to do this work on the Conservancy, your money then also helps to break the cycle of poverty among the Maasai. So you get double-the-result for your donation! We are thankful (Asante!) for any amount you can donate with joy in your heart.
Purchasing Conservation Land
We currently lease our 6,000 acres from various Maasai landowners. However, this land can also be sold to an investor at any time and sometimes family situations or health issues result in that outcome.
The investor is then often a farmer or some other interest that immediately puts a fence around the land! This then blocks the migration routes of the wildlife as they travel to their birthing grounds. And many species – such as elephants and giraffes – birth right here at Nashulai.
“70% of the wildlife of the Maasai Mara is not in the main park, it’s actually outside in the community lands. If we don’t get the community to come together, to preserve the land, then this will box in all the wildlife and they will not have enough as a habitat.” – Nelson Ole Reiyia
We are thrilled to be able to lease this land to preserve plant biodiversity and the wildlife migration routes and birthing grounds, however, our long-term goal is for the Conservancy to purchase the land and keep it safe forever.
Following the enactment of the Wildlife Act of 2013, wildlife conservation is now a recognized form of land use. The Nashulai Conservancy is the last remaining Elephant corridor in the Maasai Mara. The community agreed to coexist with wildlife and create a mixed-use conservation model; not pushing indigenous people out of their ancestral land, but co-existing peacefully the way we have done for millennia.
If you are passionate about protecting wildlife and preserving their natural way of life, and would like to play a key role in keeping endangered. species alive…
Dignity Not Charity
Our Oldarpoi Safari camp doubles as a tertiary level training center where Maasai youth come to learn skills in tourism and hospitality. That way, they gain practical experience in the camp, opening other doors of opportunity for them – either in finding employment elsewhere, getting absorbed into our camp, or starting their own business.
Most people know that the Rhino and Elephant populations have been devastated by poachers. Yes, some of these poachers are after the money. But many are only poaching to provide food for their own families. When extreme poverty is all around and there are zero jobs or ways to earn money… poaching is often the only way for illiterate local men to earn money.
Here at Nashulai we are changing that – by providing schools for both girls and boys. By hiring and training local men to work at our Safari camps. And by hiring the best poachers (who are also the best trackers) to become our Rangers who now protect the wildlife.
We are proud to say that we have not lost ONE animal to poaching on Nashulai since our inception in 2015! If you love the idea of using your money-energy to empower others to create a better life for themselves and the planet…
Our Oldarpoi Safari camp is run using solar power. We also implemented an eco-friendly well and water filtration system to provide clean drinking water. Next, we would like to implement a grey water recycling system along with other eco-friendly, sustainable solutions.
We recently secured a grant from a rotary club to supply our clean piped water to more than 2,000 people living within a 7 mile radius of the camp. The water is piped straight from the camp to overhead tanks located within the local villages and schools.
Previously, women and children had to walk for up to 3 miles to the nearest river to fetch water. The river is heavily polluted, and thus waterborne diseases were prevalent and poor communities ended up spending the meager resources they have to treat diseases ranging from typhoid fever to amoebic dysentery.
The mortality rate was also quite high in infants due to the contaminated water. BUT all that has changed now.
In addition to piping in clean water, each family has also been provided with a water filter, an eco-friendly cooking stove and solar lanterns. The cooking stove (known as an EcoZoom Dura rocket stove) enables families to prepare meals using just a few sticks for firewood – this means less trees are cut down for cooking.
The Maasai live in small round houses made by interweaving sticks covered with cow dung. The houses are quite dark and so by providing the solar lamps, schoolchildren can now do their homework and improve their school performance.
We would love to continue our efforts to help the local villages and communities within the Nashulai Conservancy (and beyond!) and welcome whatever donation feels good to your heart.