The Maasai Stoves & Solar Project in Kenya
The Project aims to make healthier homes and living conditions possible for thousands. Since 2009, MSS expanded to include 3,000 homes in eighteen Tanzanian Maasai villages. The community welcomed a Ugandan group into the Project, adding 400 stoves. In 2014 MSS began work in Kenya. In addition, the Project collaborates with Kenyan Maasai on innovation in cattle management practice.
Maasai across the Kenyan/Tanzanian border
As a straight line going right through Maasai lands, the Kenya/Tanzania border should not be a barrier for our work. The Project received a grant for a 60-stove pilot project in Maasai settlements. These are near the towns of Oltiasika, Lemasusu and Orbili in the Imbirikani region of Kenya. MSS thanks the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) for making the initial work in Kenya possible.
Training the Kenyan women
Women from Kenya traveled to Monduli to see homes with stoves. They were very impressed and wanted stoves in their own homes.
Metalworkers from Kenya visited the MSS firebox factory in Tanzania. With funds from the African Wildlife Foundation Project, women from Tanzania traveled to Kenya early in 2014.
They launched the stove installation training of new teams of Kenyan women. Project Manager Kisioki Moitiko visited the new Kenyan sites, bringing three of the men from Tanzania. Each of the men had sold livestock to raise funds to purchase stoves and solar systems for their wives. The group spoke at the initial Kenyan village meetings to motivate more support from the men.
Healthier homes for the Kenyan Maasai
They have seen the difference. Maasai women of Kenya want the stoves to make their homes healthy, safe, and clean. The MSS is hopeful that the AWF and the women and men of Imbirikani, Kenya, will find it practical to continue with stove distribution. The Project is prepared to supply fireboxes and share necessary skills and resources, as this work moves forward.
Expanding the Project into Uganda
At the invitation of the Ecolife Foundation, the International Collaborative expanded the Project to Uganda.
The Ecolife Foundation is trying to help the Batwa people of Uganda. Exiled from their traditional homeland in the Impenetrable Forest, their lives have become very difficult. Replacing their traditional cooking fires with our stoves goes a long way to improve health and quality of life in the new location.
The Batwa of Bwindi
In 2013, the Project made its first visit to Bwindi, Uganda to demonstrate stoves. Project Manager Kisioki Moitiko and Vicki Daniel, Mery Yohana, and Niamini Yamati (three Maasai women from our Women’s Installation Team) put in the first stoves and chimneys.
Our collaboration with the Ecolife Foundation has many exciting facets, including health education. We gave a talk at the Bwindi Community Hospital about the health benefits of the Maasai Stoves & Solar Project stoves.
Smoky houses and health issues
Many Batwa (and Maasai) do not yet realize the direct connection between smoky houses and health issues of women and children. The Ecolife Foundation will be working with the Hospital to develop health education materials in English and Rukiga languages to address this need.
Batwa women elected to the Bwindi Stoves & Solar Installation Team traveled to Monduli to receive training. Leaders from the Maasai Installation Team in Monduli traveled to Uganda to give on-site instruction and support. The Bwindi team is in the process of installing the first 400 fireboxes shipped from our factory to Bwindi.