The Maa Trust has partnered with Mara Elephant Project (MEP) to distribute staple food packages donated by the Sidekick Foundation to Maasai communities in the Talek and Pardamat regions of the Maasai Mara. The global spread of the COVID-19 virus has forced the temporary closure of The Maa Trust, including its scholarship programme and social enterprises: Maa Beadwork and Maa Honey. This temporary closure has left 637 families without a source of income. The Sidekick Foundation, as an annual supporter of Maa Trust’s programmes, including Maa Beadwork, donated staple food worth 1.79 million KES for The Maa Trust to distribute to these 637 families, with logistical support from Mara Elephant Project.
“The Sidekick Foundation is focused on striking a balance between human development and sustaining biodiversity in the Maasai Mara, Kenya. Sidekick’s bedrock mission is to protect wildlife, communities, and habitat by supporting organizations that thrive in a partnership model. This is why when the COVID-19 pandemic ceased tourism in the Mara, a main source of income for communities living with wildlife, we wanted to help relieve the burden by providing basic support. Being in the fortunate position of serving as a trustee of both The Maa Trust and Mara Elephant Project and the Executive Director of Sidekick Foundation, we were able to quickly focus on bringing organizations together with similar missions to make an impact. It’s vital that all organizations doing work in the Mara do what they can to rally around the wildlife and people during this difficult time.” Brian Kearney-Grieve, Executive Director, The Sidekick Foundation Inc.
“We are so happy and we are going to make sure that we are going to protect our wildlife because that is why we are getting this food. We are so happy because you have remembered us at this difficult moment and everyone is going to appreciate it. This Coronavirus is affecting the whole world, so we are happy for The Maa Trust that they remember us at this difficult time and we are so happy that they are holding our hands. Thank you in the name of Jesus.” Ntiwal Naurori, Maa Beadwork member.
The Maa Trust has arranged distribution at 12 sites that are accessible to the families and aims to have all food packages distributed by May 2nd, if the weather permits. The Mara Elephant Project is also lending a vehicle and personnel support for this distribution exercise. Permission has been sought and secured for this exercise from government authorities. The Kenya Ministry of Health’s safety protocols are being followed for the food distribution and training is being provided to the community members on handwashing and social distancing measures to prevent the further spread of Coronavirus.
The distribution started on Saturday 25th and will continue until all 637 packages are distributed. The Maa Trust understands that there are many more than 637 families struggling at this time, however, they are very grateful to Sidekick Foundation and its partner MEP for assisting the families who The Maa Trust support through this very difficult time. This initiative will provide food security for thousands of local residents. One bundle of packaged food will last a family one month. All of the families being supported by this grant from the Sidekick Foundation live in the Maasai Mara alongside the wildlife MEP protects.
Endaa tenkaraki ing’uesi – Food because of the wildlife