MCV is excited to inform you that we just started off our most ambitious project yet! Last month we opened the first and only community-led Maasai Heritage Museum on the outskirts of Amboseli National Park.
After ten years of implementing successful programs to empower the Maasai through various projects including clean water, human rights advocacy, and cultural conservation, we decided now was the time to take the next big step to launch a legacy project to sustain Maasai ancient heritage and economically empower the Maasai through tourism.
The Maasai are in a race against time to protect their world-renowned heritage rooted in thousands of years of tradition. It is documented by UNESCO and other multinational organizations across the board that Maasai cultural traditions are in urgent need of safeguarding. MCV has been planning a museum for the past eight years with the Maasai cultural custodians and providing technical training to document tangible and intangible cultural heritage and collect rare cultural materials.
Thankfully two months ago, MCV entered a 10-year partnership with the Kenya County Government of Kajiado to turn an abandoned building into a Maasai Heritage Museum. When we started renovations in August we received a vandalized building with no water or electricity. Our team worked diligently to get the museum opened and miraculously within a six-week window the museum successfully opened on September 10th, 2019. The grand opening coincided with a national conference showcasing Maasai culture to government officials from 29 counties.
The Museum is located where the culture is still thriving in the heart of Maasailand at the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro on the border of Kenya and Tanzania just 2 miles from Amboseli National Park that welcomes over 600,000 tourists annually. The museum is surrounded by luxurious hotels, the high traffic exposure is vital to the economic sustainability of the Museum and to sustain the Maasai livelihoods.
The area is designated as a UNESCO biosphere and is famous for being one of the best places in Africa to get close to free-ranging elephants, lions, giraffes, wildebeests, zebras, antelope, and over 600 species of birds. Visitors enjoy safaris to view the abundant wildlife that exists thanks to the Maasai harmonious way of life. The Maasai are protectors of the Earth and their indigenous wisdom plays a key role in preserving nature and wildlife.
One of the key purposes of the museum is for the local Maasai to benefit economically from the tourism industry through exhibition fees, cultural workshops, entertainment, and selling local handicrafts. Currently, over 90% of the local Maasai in the area are unemployed, despite the high traffic of hundreds of thousands of tourists visiting their land. The museum will provide employment and training to the local Maasai, enabling them to stay in the community instead of relocating to cities in search of employment; decreasing displacement which is a major cause of cultural degradation.
The Museum serves as a community center and research hub. It is a place to explore and learn about indigenous herbal medicine and other traditional practices and a place to discuss tribal issues and host cultural ceremonies. The museum is significant for research, cultural preservation, as well as for education and public programming.
Be a Part of History: Give Generously Today!
The Maasai have so much to offer the world, being one of the oldest cultures – but we need your support to continue this important work and advance the museum. Thanks to our recent 10-year partnership with the Kenya government, the largest expenses have graciously been provided to open the museum. It is truly remarkable that the Museum is now open, however despite our success thus far, we can’t proceed without the generous support from our friends and supporters.
MCV must raise $5,000 / month to keep the museum opened. We need your support to raise $30,000 immediately to cover operational expenses for the next 6 months – any amount you can donate will help us keep going.
Funds allocated to open the museum:
The Kenyan National Government Constructed Museum: $400,000
The Kajiado County Governor’s Office Renovated Museum: $100,000
MCV Furnished, Curated & Facilitated Grand Opening Exhibition: $20,000
Local Community Donated 20 Acres of Land
MCV’s gap funding urgently needed to operate the museum for the next 6 months: $30,000