MCV was honored to once again participate in the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Rights, April 22 – May 3rd, 2019 at the United Nations headquarters in New York. It was empowering to unite with over a thousand indigenous leaders, organizations, and member states to strengthen Indigenous people’s collective rights. Indigenous peoples inhabit 80% of the world’s intact forests and high biodiversity ecosystems, and play a key role to the sustainable development for all humanity. This year’s theme “Traditional Knowledge: Generation, Transmission and Protection” aligns with MCV’s current work to establish a community-led Maasai Museum in Amboseli, Kenya.
On May 3rd, 2019, MCV hosted a side session titled “Safeguarding Maasai Heritage: Documenting Maasai Ceremonies & Traditional Knowledge.” The session was hosted by MCV in partnership with the Kajiado County Government of Kenya and the panelist included Jessica Censotti, MCV president, Hamilton Ole Parseina, Kenya Government of Kajiado County Land Planning Executive Committee Member, John Kamanga, Kenya Government of Kajiado County Cultural Task Force Committee Member and Executive Director of South Rift Association of Land Owners (SORALO), and Lesley Etherly, MCV Cultural Committee Member.
Jessica Censotti, opened the session. She welcomed all guests and thanked the Maasai leaders from Kenya and Tanzania for joining the panelist and stakeholder discussion about the modern challenges the Maasai people face to protect their land and heritage. She commended the leadership of Governor Joseph Ole Lenku and his cultural task force team for their vision and commitment to safeguarding Maasai culture to promote Kenya’s national rich heritage. Censotti also announced MCV’s partnership with the Kajiado County Government of Kenya to launch a community-led museum near Amboseli National Park.