Endless skies and herds
With borders to the Indian Ocean, Tanzania, Uganda, Somalia, South Sudan and Ethiopia, Kenya hosts a rich diversity of natural abundance as well of ethnicities, with an estimated 42 communities including Kikuyu, Luhya, Luo, Kalenjin, Kamba, Kisii and Meru, European, Indian and Arabic. The country has made enormous economic and social developmental strides over the past two decades including reduced child mortality, near-universal primary school enrolment, and increased spending on healthcare, which includes free maternal healthcare at government facilities.
The resulting reduction in neonatal and young child mortality has resulted in a rapid population growth from 2.9-million to more than 49-million over the past decade, with almost three quarters of the population under 30 years old. However, poverty and inequality remain key developmental challenges in Kenya, and people in the rural areas are still heavily reliant on the natural habitat inhabited by elephants and other wildlife, putting humans and wildlife at loggerheads. Poaching as well as unsustainable agrarian practices being chief among them. Africa Foundation is active in 9 communities in Kenya, bordering the Masai Mara. These are well dispersed, largely cattle herding, communities with very limited infrastructure development.
The Maasai people pride themselves on living in harmony with the land and wildlife around them, a respect that supports the conservation of the wildlife in the area. Human-Wildlife conflict does impact day to day life however, with roaming animals a danger, particularly to children, and cattle. The isolated communities suffer as a result of their distance from towns, with poor roads and limited service provision locally.
Africa Foundation has been active in this region since 2001, predominantly supporting education and healthcare projects, to meet the needs of the communities. CLEF bursary programme was launched in Kenya in 2014, providing access to university for young people in these communities, for the first time.
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