Thomson’s success is the Maasai’s success
For the Maasai, the land is life. Livestock is grazed and bomas are built here. In recent years, families have become estranged from their nomadic existence and set up camp permanently. But a stationary life means an increase in competition for grazing and settlement. There’s only so much land to go around. Fuzzy property lines and rival clans only compound the issue. You’re left with a catalyst for conflict.
Thomson has quickly determined their place in the bigger picture. With the help of FoTZC, the company has established relationships with villages outside of Enashiva to help manage the land, but also establish key development projects in the communities.
A newly constructed housing block for teachers at Sukenya Primary School; a borehole in Laitayak; a women’s cooperative selling beaded jewelry – these projects seek to benefit the community and set the stage for capacity building. “We want to ensure that these communities are being empowered,” says Happiness. “They are just waking up and seeing the importance of engaging themselves in development work.”
Cooperation with the local Maasai communities compliments Thomson’s conservation efforts in Enashiva. But the company’s message is clear – they’re here to collaborate, not dictate, the needs of the people. “We strongly believe that in order for any project to be sustainable you need to have the community take ownership,” says Happiness. This isn’t charity, it’s a partnership.
Thomson is heavily invested in the community, and for good reason. Without their support, sustainable tourism would not be possible. “They have their views which is to do with cattle. And we’ve got our objectives which is conservation,” says John. “It’s a process of education to bring the two together.”
The success of tourism at Enashiva will trickle down to the local people. Thomson’s success is the Maasai’s success.