The women of the Maasai Stoves & Solar Project are deeply committed. They love the work and the feelings of new power and freedom that comes from their participation.
To determine and achieve their own goals as Maasai women, they formed a new group last spring. Called the Maasai Pastoralist Women’s Organization (MPWO) the group now has more than 100 dues-paying members. They meet to address their most urgent concerns, and continue to work towards the health and home improvement goals of the Maasai Stoves & Solar Project.
The women elected officers and set up mechanisms to coordinate participants from two different areas, those from near Monduli Town and those from the Rift Valley.
Kira Levin, a student from Brandeis University was awarded a grant from the Davis foundation to spend the summer with the MPWO to help them learn and manage modern electronic communications. She facilitated the launch of a two new chicken and egg businesses to serve as their learning laboratory for business management and marketing.
The women’s organization held a celebration for Kira Levin’s arrival. The elders at a boma where we had recently installed a solar micro-grid gave us a blessing. We sat on the ground and they blessed us with sprigs of grass and drops of milk.
Kira has returned to the U.S. to complete her college studies, but will continue to participate with the Project. Joyce Olitai will oversee the chicken ranch at her boma. The women eagerly await the egg production.
The MPWO started livestock businesses with capital from ICSEE. They anticipate a good profit this summer when they plan to sell their first 40 goats and 30 bulls.
This sort of business is unprecedented for Maasai women, and the men are extremely interested in seeing their wives and sisters making a success of it.
However, they do not want to stick to traditional Maasai financial activities, and applied for money to start a concrete brick manufacturing business. As their ultimate goal, they aim to help all women and girls get the education and independence they need. The MPWO realizes that it will be a gradual process.
Congratulations to the MPWO on the launch of their new website!
In addition to graduate students Elise Willer and Rebecca Sliwoski, Kira Levin is one of three Brandeis women who have been helping the MPWO establish themselves in this world of online communications and sophisticated fundraising procedures.