I traveled from my temporary oasis home to visit our ACI Maasai Community Development Project of Kijiji, just 39 kilometers north of the Kenya – Tanzania border town of Namanga, Kenya. Our project sits on a 20 acre plot of land that was sold by the Maasai family of Mzee Kali Kali to ACI’s Kenya partner Kijiji ya Sanaa Trust. Experiencing drought conditions, and with no water, The Maasai families of this community send the young boys with all their animals on a 50 kilometer journey to find green grass and fresh water, while the young girls walk 5 kilometers each day for water to drink and cook with. Although education is becoming more and more important to this community after ACI helped start the Billibo Community School this past January, the lack of water equates to over half of the school’s enrollment of 43 to be absent just to work to survive.
The reforestation plan for the project has been severely hampered by the drought as the many trees planted since January have died due to the lack of water, not to mention the fact that herds of animals cut through the land in search for food and water and trample the few remaining struggling seedlings. Reforestation is crucial to the survival of the ecosystem and to alleviating poverty in the area.
There are a number of needs in this community. A fence around the project property to prevent the animals from destroying the new trees and to provide security for the school is crucial. Another need to community leaders voiced to me was water. Both these items are very important for the long-term sustainability of this community, the school, and any future development at the project. Additionally, the school building needs a cement floor to be installed. A brick making machine was purchased by the trust to be used to put walls on the school, but without water to mix the mud, it has sat idle.
The Maasai are a proud people and they have a wonderfully rich culture, but they are struggling with the hardships they are experiencing. This particular Maasai community understands that they must adapt by educating their children in order for them to be able to succeed in this ever changing world which demands that people be educated in order to get jobs. Having access to information is especially important and ACI is working with the trust and the community to provide this access using Information Communication Technologies (ICT’s) provided by broadband internet access along with the necessary training required to use the ICT’s. This access would provide the community with eEducation, eMedicine, eVeterinary, and eCommerce opportunities. Yet, none of this is practical without local access to water.
A hydrologist report has already been done by the trust and all appropriate governmental permits have been issued for a well to be drilled. Water is on the property, just 200 meters deep. Estimates have been obtained for building the fence, drilling the well, and installing the floor for the school. The costs for these items are as follows:
- The estimate of the stone fence is approximately $31,250.00 this is inclusive of Labor and Transport.
- The estimate for drilling the well is approximately $15,000.00 inclusive of everything.
- The estimate for the classroom floor and the sides inclusive of transport and labor is approximately $2,250.00.
There is a lot to be done to help this community to survive and ultimately thrive. ACI will do its part to help raise these funds through developing partners who are willing to help. Consider how you might be willing to be involved.
Well, it’s getting late. I hope this report has opened your eyes to the need. Thank you to all our supporters. Your investment in making a positive difference in the lives of those who need your help is greatly appreciated.
Making a difference with you,