About The Maa Trust
The Maa Trust is a non-profit organisation based in community-owned conservancies in the Maasai Mara, Kenya. We work to increase the benefits of wildlife and conservation to Maasai families so that they appreciate, and contribute to the protection of, wild animals on their land, and we aim to unite communities by involving them in conservation at a management level.
At The Maa Trust, we believe in research-based development and undertake detailed baseline and endline assessments so as to both quantify and qualify our impact. Our team has spent years going door-to-door asking thousands of ordinary people for their views, needs and aspirations. We listen carefully to what they say, think and ask for, and we act on this, rather than what donors want to give. By directing funding appropriately, and ensuring projects are set up and handed over in a sustainable manner, we help people to help themselves.
Unlike many organisations working in remote areas of Kenya, we are a permanent presence on the ground in the Maasai Mara and we directly oversee all of our projects. While we strongly encourage communities to take ownership of projects upon completion, we continually monitor our work, and we are on hand should they need advice or guidance with repairs or maintenance issues.
The Maa Trust empowers local people by promoting small business startups & micro finance schemes, enabling them to make their own money and to invest in their family’s development. For example, in our social enterprises, Maa Beadwork and Maa Honey, we measure the success of these projects not only on how much money the ladies earn, but also the impact that these earnings have upon their lives. Our members self-identify their needs and wish list of items, and The Maa Trust helps them to save up for and attain these. Despite a severe lack of education granted to girl children in previous years, our female beadwork and honey members are now affording and investing in clean drinking water for their homes, solar power, alternative fuel to firewood, and they can now send more of their children to school.
We believe that education is a key to the success of the Mara conservancies and to the survival of this world-famous ecosystem. In collaboration with donor organisations, The Maa Trust builds classrooms and dormitories with electricity and clean water; connects children in need with scholarship and bursary sponsors; and organizes conservation education for students and teachers.
History of the Maa Trust
When the Olare Orok conservancy formed, it’s founders, Ron Beaton, Jake Grieves Cook and Chief Saiyalel, set up the Olare Orok Conservancy Trust to spread the benefits of conservation and tourism to the families of landowners. The Trust was funded by a $5 per guest per night fee from all of the four camps on the conservancy. In 2013 Mahali Mzuri was built on Motorogi Conservancy, and the management of the two conservancies merged. Consequently, we were renamed the Olare Orok and Motorogi Trust.
More recently, as the scope of our projects expanded to include parts of Naboisho and the Paramat region as well, it was agreed that the Trust name should be changed one last time, to The Maa Trust. As our organization and projects go from strength to strength, there are no limits to our outreach capabilities and we are excited to expand into more communities, bringing thousands of Maasai people into the united conservation effort.