Income Generation and Empowerment
This phase will focus on income generation and employment creation, including providing opportunities for individual entrepreneurship and enterprise, as well as community-wide revenue generation. The following activities will be implemented as part of the income generation and empowerment phase.Dairy Production:
Dairy production presents an ideal opportunity for the introduction of new ideas and concepts within the community, to aid buy-in and support of future projects, requiring as it does little adjustment on the part of the community members. Maasai have long had a tradition of cattle herding, and cattle are culturally very important. Currently, the cattle kept by community members of Enkutoto-Elangata-Enterit group ranch are Boran cattle, a hardy species of cow well adjusted to the harsh climatic conditions but ill-suited for milk production, yielding no more than 300 litres of milk per cow per year – enough only for home consumption. Cattle are, therefore, kept as insurance and sold in times of financial need as whole cows, with very low profit returns. However, the introduction of a Boran/Friesian cross breed, a hardy and high dairy production mix, would enable production of between 3000 – 4000 litres of milk per cow per year. This would provide a continuous and reliable source of income for improved livelihoods and community rejuvenation.
A zero grazing model of cattle rearing will be introduced for sustainability and to prevent environmental degradation from over-grazing. The introduction of refrigeration facilities, through the micro hydro schemes, will enable storage of diary produce, increasing shelf life and bargaining power.Agricultural Diversification:
Current predominant crops grown in the Enkutoto-Elangata-Enterit group ranch include maize, kale and tomatoes. All these crops have a relatively low market value and are very vulnerable to price fluctuations resulting from over supply. Crop diversification, with a focus on specialised and higher value produce, would generate significantly more revenue from the available cultivatable land. More appropriate crops may include higher value fruits to replace the vegetables currently being grown and seed maize rather than food maize. Wherever possible, emphasis will be placed on low maintenance crops, such as tree crops which do not require replanting, as well as on value added end products, such as producing fruit juice or dried fruits. Eco-tourism sites:
The forest area, once it is demarcated as a conservancy, offers excellent opportunities for eco-tourism. A suggested model may be to lease small areas of the forest for the development of micro eco-tourism lodges. Further, once conservancy status has been achieved, the community will be better able to demand payment of entrance fees, which can be used both for maintenance of the conservancy and for re-investment in the community. Conservation of the forest can also be used as a means to access funds through the Global carbon credit scheme. Real Estate:
Leasing areas of land, identified as being of little agricultural or economic potential, to people as holiday homes or city retreats would provide a valuable source of reliable revenue for the group ranch and would require few inputs. Water Catchment Protection:
Preservation of the group ranch’s water catchment areas may present opportunities for community income generation by charging a fee to enterprises downstream which rely on the water source for operation. An example would be the Magadi soda plant, around which Magadi town has developed. This large scale enterprise has expressed their willingness to contribute financially to guarantee the security of their water source, providing a reliable and secure source of finance for the community. Generating Revenue for Community Institutions:
Whilst a number of the income generating activities described present opportunity for either individual or community-wide revenue increase, existing community enterprises must also be prioritised to enable sustainability and the continued provision of quality community services. At present there are five schools on the group ranch. With inadequate public funding, and parents unable to pay high fees to compensate, the schools are currently continuously facing the challenge of being unable to find funding for teacher salaries, maintenance or expansion. The development plan proposes to allocate adequate land to each school, formalised through individual title deeds, to enable small scale high value income generation activities to be conducted specifically to generate revenue for the school funds. The income generating activities themselves could include dairy production, allocating school land for zero grazing, or high value crop production. This same strategy could be adopted by other community amenities such as clinics and hospitals. Bio-gas Digesters:
Schools, being a gathering point for a large number of people, can become hotspots for environmental impact. Currently, schools provide lunch for school-going children but cooking is done on a wood fire, encouraging deforestation and wasting valuable resources. Bio-gas digesters are powered by methane produced from organic matter and waste, and present a clean, low cost means of producing gas which can be used for cooking, amongst other things. It is proposed that bio-gas digesters be constructed at each of the schools to replace the current wood fired ovens. Cow manure collected from the children’s homesteads, or from school-owned livestock, could be used to generate eco-friendly cooking power. Excess gas produced has a retail value and could be sold to generate school funds. Partner Schools:
An additional means of generating income for schools is to link them with partner schools in the West. Forging partnerships between a Western school and one in a developing nation has long proven an effective means of cross-learning and fundraising. Schools will be identified in the United States to link with the community schools, opening opportunities for funds to be raised for specific school needs which will be outlined by the Group Ranch Education Committee.