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Questions and Answers

What is the Purpose of the Maasai Education Project for Leadership? 

The purpose of project is to help the indigenous Maasai people to find a stronger voice than they have currently in the decision-making that affects their lives and rights generally, and their subsistence livestock economy in particular.

What are the requirements for the Project? 

Relative to their population size, and compared to their neighboring peoples inTanzania, the Maasai have the fewest numbers and the least supervised primary and secondary schools. This is why so very few Maasai students ever find opportunities for formal schooling, much less higher learning or training, and why administrative positions in Maasailand are frequently filled by people from other ethnic-culture groups. These others, moreover, are often enough completely unfamiliar with the exigencies of   subsistence animal husbandry in Maasailand, e.g., erratic and unreliable rainfall, periodic droughts, tick born diseases, etc. In the traditionally patriarchal Maasai society another basic need served by this project is the formal education of girls.

What are the problems of your community that this project will help resolve?

This project helps to meet the urgent need for indigenous Maasai workers, female as well as male, in the fields of general education, health care, veterinary services, local government, and legal defense.

What are the objectives of this project and what will be accomplished? 

By providing pre-secondary school preparation this project enables increasing numbers of Maasai boys and girls to qualify for post-primary education and/or various training programs related to the needs of their own people, e.g., teachers, nurses, lawyers, game scouts, assistant nurses, veterinary assistants, etc. One girl has become a registered nurse is now the assistant director of a center for handicapped Maasai children. Another girl is in law school. One boy has become a lawyer; another priest now studying in Germany.  Another girl has been invited to join the Pastoral council of Ngorongoro, the body that advises the Conservation Authority on issues of special concern to the local Maasai people.  Another girl is an assistant nurse at the Ngorongoro dispensary and still another girl is a veterinary assistant, helping her own people with health problems among their cattle.    

The objectives of this project are to give Maasai women the opportunity for education so that they may become articulate and effective leaders.  It is important to realize that the focus and total priority of Maasai women, as it is with women the world over, is their families, that their children be healthy and have prospects for a good life.  The focus of Maasai women is the family and village.  Therefore the aim of our project is to provide opportunities for education to the level where the women will be accepted in Maasai country on the decision making level in the various problem areas mentioned above.

Who will the project serve? 

The Maasai people of Tanzania.

What activities must occur so that the objectives are met? 

Able and committed primary school leavers, girls as well as boys, must be identified, prepared for, and supported through secondary school. This entails permission of parents, negotiating acceptance in selected secondary boarding schools (or other training institutes), tuition and some funding for personal needs of students as well as some­­­­ ­­­in-loco-parentis­ counseling. The objectives are gradually achieved, as the educated students eventually are re-inserted into the Maasai cultural world where their professional activities function after the manner of a leaven.

Able and committed young women must be identified and supported through secondary school and into specialties such as nursing, teaching and veterinary services.

How will the Maasai benefit from this project?

Although the benefits may not be immediately and empirically measurable, the whole Maasai society will benefit in due course, as the influence of its educated children functions in multiple ways. For example, thanks to the skill of one Maasai lawyer, many Maasai families have retained their immemorial rights to their own lands when outsiders sought to dispossess them of these lands.