Ewangan Maasai Village
The aim of the Ewangan Cultural Village Self Help Group is to propagate Maa culture through the lives and activities of members in the village and its surroundings. The community has a great interest in sustainable development, conservation and ecotourism in the Maasai region.
Construction of the Ewangan village began in May 2016 on land adjacent to the Maasai Mara national game reserve and was completed in August 2016. The village comprises 25 houses, in a typical circle, surrounded by a branch fence.
The community agreed that the new village should be a showcase for environmentally sensitive and healthy living within a traditional Maa cultural setting.
The major design features of the houses and the village include the replacement of open wood fires with clean cook stoves to remove indoor air pollution, solar lighting and electricity, access to clean water through a solar pumping system, toilet and shower facilities to eliminate water borne diseases and improve health conditions.
The community supports the poorest and elderly, providing them with their own houses and food. Within the community there are more than 200 people including 130 children.
The goal for the community is to develop a range of environmental and cultural activities that can sustain the community and ensure that all children can complete their high school education and eventually college or university training. The community has also agreed that there will be no female genital circumcision and that all girls will be encouraged to complete their education.
The village supports local sports, including football training, sports kit, and participation in a recent football tournament in Nairobi.
Today the village is home to a wide range of client-based activities include guided wildlife tours in the Maasai Mara national reserve, medicinal plant and bush walks, cultural tours, jewellery making, honey production, cultural songs and dances, homestays and warrior training.
The village is actively working towards improving environmental conditions in the community and trading centre. This includes providing access to clean water for the settlements, encouraging efforts to manage waste products, installing a local waste incinerator and establishing waste collection, separation and recycling.
At the beginning of 2017, the village has begun a project with the local primary school to enable children to learn about their environment and improve biodiversity and soil quality through the construction of a nursery for medicinal plants. Key villagers are working with teachers to teach pupils to about the care and traditional uses of plants.The village will use these plants in a medicinal forest that is being planted on village land for local use and potentially for a wider community.
The village has also created facilities and can provide technical support for international organisations, universities and lodges wishing to help conserve the Masa Mara and the local environment.
The community continues to be faced by an ongoing drought and has lost livestock as a result. Having access to water has helped but grazing remains a problem. The resilience of the Ewangan community is shown in its ability to adapt by altering the balance of cattle, goats and sheep and by adopting to different patterns of food.
Daily life in Ewangan revolves around the semi-nomadic traditions and economic system of trade of the Maasai. Matters and decisions are discussed and communicated in ol Maa, the language spoken in the village. This is also the language spoken by the Maasai across southern Kenya and northern Tanzania, but it remains largely an oral language. To ensure that the language is not lost, village members in partnership with academic researchers engaged in a writing and story-telling activity to keep the Maa language and legends alive for the next generation.