The Maa Trust, in partnership with Mara Elephant Project (MEP), distributed food worth Kshs. 1.79M ($17,500) donated by Sidekick Foundation to 677 families in villages around wildlife conservancies in the Maasai Mara.

“I was amazed that we managed to complete the distribution of 677 parcels of food in the scheduled 8 days. This was the result of hard work by a whole team of volunteers and local Maa Trust staff who all pitched in to help, regardless of their usual role at the trust.” Dr. Crystal Mogensen, Chief Executive Officer, The Maa Trust.

Women waiting to get food from one of the 12 pick up locations

In response to the global coronavirus crisis, Sidekick Foundation donated $17,500 to The Maa Trust to provide food for the families of women engaged in Maa Beadwork or Maa Honey social enterprises and children in The Maa Trust’s scholarship programme. This emergency food relief was needed in the Maasai Mara because all tourism activities have ceased, leading to mass unemployment, livestock markets closing preventing the Maasai pastoralists from selling livestock, and all activities at The Maa Trust have been closed down to adhere with government regulations. This resulted in a cash flow crisis for families, which prevented them from being able to buy staple foods.

A woman carrying donated food

“During this difficult period, everything has stopped. We have never had a shortage of food before, but during this COVID-19 pandemic, we don’t have food because the markets have been closed. Even our beadwork jobs have been stopped and children are no longer in schools. But you have given us food. As Olesere beadwork group, we say thank you. Let us continue holding each other’s hands.” Kitirring’a Soit, Maa Beadwork member.

Women getting food from The Maa Trust Women Craft Centre

Despite heavy rain in the Mara, which made the journeys to distribution locations treacherous, The Maa Trust, MEP, and volunteers including Olare Motorogi Conservancy, and Asilia Africa successfully transported and distributed the food in 12 central points.

The Maa and MEP transporting food to a distribution location

“We don’t have enough words to express our joy. We would like to thank Sidekick Foundation, The Maa Trust, and everyone who contributed to help us with food during this COVID-19 pandemic. And to The Maa Trust, especially the CEO Crystal, as Maa Beadwork ladies, we say thank you for this wonderful job.” Nashaluni Maitai, Maa Beadwork member.

Depending on the size of the family, we anticipate that the food distributed will last for one month. We are very grateful to The Sidekick Foundation and everyone who made this successful.