September 21, 2017

Blog: ‘Maasai women doing business’

Blog: ‘Maasai women doing business’

A short update from the field, from a fabulous workplace in Kuku, while enjoying the evening sunset. We had a great meeting today with the 10 women running the grass seed bank at Moilo! Seated underneath a tree, Lanoi Meitekini (MWCT), Lana Muller (MWCT), and myself discussed their plans for the future.

The idea was that we would train them on understanding the business case. And then guide them  step-by-step towards the conclusion that it would be very beneficial for their income to expand the grass seed bank. But as it turned out, they were already so convinced by their first successes that they were already planning to double the size of the grass seed bank on their own initiative! A surprising start of the meeting!

Their idea was to expand the grass seed bank in the direction of the trees, because in the future they’d like to keep bees for honey. The bee hives could then be put between those trees, providing shade protection and blossom.

How smart!

We helped the Maasai women by working out the business case for their expansion plans. Together we calculated their expected income, and looked at ongoing expenses and costs for expansion.

The women discussed all the costs, and we wrote down everything on a white board brought from the MWCT office. By doing this, it became clear what they can earn per year, that they could do the investment and what they will earn next year. Which is three times as much!

A nice anekdote from the meeting:

The cost of sowing the new grass seed bank was quite high, since the women wanted to hire women from outside the group to assist them. After some discussion between themselves, they decided to work twice as long and keep the money in their pockets.

Our question: “But are you going to pay yourselves for the extra work?”

The answer of a Maasai woman:

“I’m not paying myself to wash my shirt either, since it’s my own.”

So they already feel like they own the project, which is extremely important for the continuance.

I am really impressed with the will of everyone here to continue the re-greening projects, and especially of these ladies who intuitively understand that they can greatly improve their lives by doubling the grass seed bank in size! What an amazing Maasai women!


Hydrologist Justdiggit