Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust is a community-based conservation organization whose goal is to preserve wilderness and natural resources by providing sustainable economic benefits to the local Maasai people of Kuku Group ranch. The ecosystem is critically positioned in the southern part of Kenya, in between Tsavo and Amboseli national parks – thus making the area very important for the free movement of wildlife from one national park to another, and a key grazing area for herbivores.
However, the community is facing a number of challenges. Land degradation is one of the main difficulties. It is chiefly caused by overgrazing, as the Maasai people are predominantly pastoralists. The Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust is working to address the land degradation issue through various interventions such as grass seed banks, water bunds, and tree planting projects, with the objective of restoring the degraded lands while creating economic benefits for the local community.
The Moilo grass seed bank is one of the pioneering restoration sites in Kuku group ranch. Established in 2016 in collaborations with the Justdiggit foundation, with the objective of not only to provide a sustainable economic benefit for the women but to also bring back the lost grass species that were endemic in this area (Maasai love grass and Cenchrus Ciliaris species were introduced). The project is a success story that has resulted in other members of the community establishing the same on their own.
Through the support of the GLF funds, the Moilo grass seed bank fence has been reinforced with a chain link and treated posts to prevent livestock intrusions hence an increase in the yield of grass seeds and hay and more income for the women. Other conservation-oriented projects like beekeeping have been established within the grass seed bank with fifteen beehives, the beekeeping project will also benefit the women economically through the sale of honey. A tree nursery has also been established with the objective of planting over 10,000 tree seedlings to be distributed to the local schools, this is to help create more awareness to the young generation on the importance of conserving the environment.
Personally, the program has helped me improve my knowledge and skills in restoration work and working with the community through training and workshops. I have also learned a lot from my fellow stewards who are restoring different landscapes. This experience has helped me gain confidence and more experience in restoration. I have also shared these skills with my community members.