SIMOO – Maasai tribe, Kenya
December 8, 2006
The year 2006 is perhaps the best one so far in that SIMOO has been able to successfully
accomplish the planned activities. This has been complimented by favorable weather
conditions. Unlike last year, the rain pattern for this year has been moderate especially in
the last halls of the year. We are at the moment experiencing a more than average short-
rain season with lots of floods in some parts of the country. Again we are witnessing lots
of water everywhere streaming coastward. Then the same cycle repeats itself; three
months down the line water will be the rarest commodity.
Our challenge to break this cycle or at least reverse the trend. There is need to tap this
runoff in whatever way; be it roof catchments, earth dams, rock catchments etc. The idea
is to tap each an every drop and make it last an extra day.
We all know that climate change is here with us. In fact the United Nations Convention
on Climate Change which was held last November in Nairobi affirms to the magnitude of
the problem. The most hit by its effects are mainly pastoralists including the Maasai
whose livelihoods directly depends on climatic conditions. The situation is further
exacerbated by poor government pastoralists and their land use systems.
When the traditional livelihood is threatened, then food security in the community is
compromised. Another major challenge is to sustainably address food insecurity so as to
reduce vulnerability and subsequent dependency during the drought period. This can be
partly done by diversifying livelihoods including venturing into other economic activities
such as businesses.
The following activities have been undertaken this year:-
1) Water Projects: This remains our major challenge. Success of any other sphere of life,
directly or indirectly depends on water. It is our core objective and we are optimistic to
achieve it in the next four years. In this year, we have been able to achieve the
a) Two wells have been drilled at Ilngarooj and Olmeroi villages. The Ilngarooj well
dubbed as St. Peters well and supported by Byer's Choice through MCEP has in output
capacity of 4,000 liters per hour. About 3,500 people and over 10,000 livestock directly
benefit from this well.
The Olmeroi well, which shall be duly launched on the 16th December, 2006 by the
Minister for Water, has been sponsored by the Rotary Club of Doylestown, U.S.A. in
partnership with the Rotary Club of Langata, Nairobi. The well has an output of 3,500
liters per hour and shall benefit about 2,500 people and over 10,000 livestock.
b) Construction of Earth Dams. Inspired by the Older Olosho-oibor earth dam, SIMOO
was able to construct fine relatively smaller earth dams at different parts of the village.
This will not only reserve the run off but it shall greatly reduce the trekking of livestock
to the only Olosho-oibor dam which is far as ten miles from different points. As a result,
the livestock shall remain strong and healthy and probably survive through the drought
This project has been supported by the University Presbyterian Church.
c) Roof Water Catchments The greatest benefit of this is perhaps quality rather than
quantity. Tapping the roof water and collecting it in cistern provides a source of clean
water safe for drinking. SIMOO has so far in this year expended plastic cisterns to 400
(four hundred) households. The cisterns range between 1,100 liters to 2,300 liters
depending on the size of the family. This has enough capacity to provide clean water for
drinking only,throughout a season.
Other indirect benefits that come with availability of water includes improved education
and steady school enrollment. Women also get more time to do other worthwhile jobs not
to mention improvement of houses so as to tap the roof water.
2. Hay Production – SIMOO encourages farmers to cut grass at the time of plenty and
store them for future usage. This is intended to reduce effect of drought and minimize the
movement of livestock in search for the same pasture.
To successfully realize this it is necessary to fence off some portion of land so as to
protect from premature damage by both domestic animals and wildlife.
SIMOO with the support of University Presbyterian Church has fenced twenty-five farms
of one acre each this year for its project. Part of the land is for grass harvesting while
another portion is for growing of drought tolerant crops to supplement livestock products.
3. Education – This is another important priority area for SIMOO. Twenty three (23)
needy primary school kids and one high school student have been supported with funds
from MCEP. At the University level, two students namely Samson Tirike and Faith
Nemayian are being supported by Presbyterian University Church. Likewise, Pariel Salau
who is an employee of SIMOO is being supported by Tribal Link Foundation. All are in
Daystar University in Nairobi. Francis Sakuda the Director of SIMOO has just graduated
from USIU with a Master degree having been sponsored by Fund Foundation.
4. Women Empowerment Program. Maasai Women Education and Empowerment
Program is an affiliation of SIMOO and its members are not only involved in beadwork
as an economic activity but are also integrating i.e. with adult education. Two of the
members who are mature women are currently in high school. The group intends to
process milk products both for domestic use and for sale.
Another newly initiated Oloirien Women Group are partnering with MCEP through
Maasai Arts & Tours a local company, to establish a consensus initiative to export
handcrafts to the US market. Over 100 women will be involved and shall directly benefit
from this project. This shall positively impact on their social economic well-being.
5. Linking the Village with intermediate processes. Most of the international UN
processes, if not all has irreversible effects on the lives of indigenous peoples.The Maasai
is one of the indigenous communities in Kenya. The UN defines indigenous peoples as
those who "emborders fragile ecosystems, practice traditional livelihoods, still value their
cultural, heritage and marginalized politically and economically." The Maasai fits into
this broad definition.
SIMOO has been ably represented at the UN permanent forum for Indigenous Peoples in
New York in mid this year. Indigenous peoples seek not only recognition but
participation in national affairs and decision making processes especially those which
directly affects them. They therefore lobby with their respective governments through the
SIMOO's participation in this was supported by Tribal Link Foundation. The recent
process is the UN conventions on climate change held in Nairobi last month. It
deliberated on measures that continues should take to mitigate adverse effects of climate
1. SIMOO is under pressure from other villages and districts occupied by the Maasai who
are equally in need of water and development. At the moment, Olosho-oibor village is
particularly under pressure as people from other villages migrate to share the water.
2. Need for financial resources - Most of there projects are capital intensive. Moreover,
budgets are never consistent due to changes in fuel prices, poor infrastructure after the
rains, inflation etc. For example, last year, USD 30,000 is enough to drill a well, install a
pump and diesel engine and construct a cistern. This has linked to $40,000.
Francis ole Sakuda