This day was all about why we were climbing Kilimanjaro to raise awareness and funds for projects like the Ketumbeine ADP (Area Development Project). The main goal of this project which began in 2009 and is completed in 2024 is to contribute toward the improved and sustained well being of children, their famllies and community members, especially the most vulnerable. The hope is that these households and communities are socio-economically empowered to insure the wellbeing of children in that region. So the theory of a hand up, not a hand out.
The main tribe is Maasai and the main religious denominations in the ADP are Christian, Muslim and traditionalists.
The economy of the Ketumbeine ADP is predominatly based on livestock rearing and subsistence agriculture along Mt Ketumbeine. In the areas, there is no cash crop grown. The peasants used to cultivate beans, maize, sweet potatoes for food grown in very small areas of approximately a half acre. The animals (Cattle, goats and sheep) are used as mainly a food and as a cash source in many of the households. The staple food is milk and meat.
The major challenges of this community are lack of water, lack of health facilities, shortage of educational materials, lack of poor or existing school buildings, low level agricultural production and poor livestock keeping. The water used for domestic consumption is not clean. Poor health services results in high child and maternal mortality rates.
Our first visit was to see some of the Maasai leaders and their herd of camels….yes, camels. I have to say when I came over the crest of the hill to see this herd of funny looking cattle, I wondered where I was! However camels have been imported by World Vision for this project and the Maasai have been trained on the use and care of these animals who fit very well into the dry climate. They are being used to collect and haul water from distance sources, they are used for their milk and will be trained to be ridden and long term may be used to produce tourist income.
And finally we spent some time with the Maasai women’s group who had been provided with business training on how to raise chickens and create and re-sell beaded ornaments for profit.
The leader of their group stood up (and with a translator) explained to us just what this has meant for the women of this Maasai community.
She said they could now stand tall and be proud of their ability to contribute to their community. She said this had earned them so much respect from the men in the village and these women were now able to pass down these skills , this sense of self-worth and empowerment to the children of their village.
This will enable these children to have the confidence to pursue an education, improve their own living environments and protect themselves from all kinds of exploitation, abuse and threats. And promote their rights as children.
It seems such a simple thing to do – but changes the future for all the children of this small village. As they say, give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach him to fish and he eats for life. He also gains self worth, confidence and belief in his/her abilities and that will allow children to have the confidence to stand up and not be exploited to work in dirty, degrading or dangerous jobs.
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“We are all better than we know if only we can be brought to realize this. We may never again be prepared to settle for anything less.”
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