A Maasai women group from the Greater Maasai Mara region in the former Ol Kinyei Group Ranch has benefit from a 3,000-litre solar-powered milk coolant donated by the World Wide Foundation for Nature(WWF) with funding from the German government in partnership with Gamewatchers Safaris and Porini Camps.

Dubbed “Ol Kiwu Self-help group” the 18-member group received the milk coolant as a result of leasing their land out for wildlife habitat conservation and tourism. Land which today constitutes the 18,700-acre Ol Kinyei Conservancy. 15 out of the 18 group members are Ol Kinyei landowners.

The coolant, officially launched on 30th April 2022 at Endonyo Narasha, is aimed at providing an alternative income to the Maasai women who will sell their product to commercial milk suppliers at a better price thus improving their livelihood. The Maasai’s life is largely centered on cattle herding and this project will enable them to increase the income they receive from the same cattle.

WWF has installed a total of 56 solar panels to power the milk coolant. Speaking during the launch of the project, WWF Kenya, Sub-landscape Coordinator, Samson Lenjirr said that the WWF is committed to improving the livelihoods of people who commit their land to wildlife habitat conservation.

“This is a purely 100% funding from WWF Germany and what we call the BMZ II that is through the Federal Ministry of Corporation through WWF and majorly what this has done is to ensure improvement of livelihoods that touches more on the people directly but of course with an inclination in wildlife conservation,” said Mr. Lenjirr.

In addition, Gamewatchers Safaris and Porini Camps paid for the piping for water and provided a loan to the women group to enable them to pay rent and for a security personnel among other things before they start making a profit from the project. Gamewatchers Safaris and Porini Camps Managing Director, Dr. Mohanjeet Brar, says that the project is important as it helps landowners reap greater benefits from setting their land aside for wildlife conservation.

“This is an area where there is no other milk cooling plant so what happens is that during the time that the cows have produced plenty of milk, there is no market for it. So, often the milk gets wasted, and they are not able to access higher prices. However now with the milk cooling plant in place the women will be able to actually buy from the surrounding community members, so people will have access to sell their milk at all times and they can now sell in bulk to commercial companies like Brookside,”  says Dr. Brar.

Kenya’s largest milk processor, Brookside Dairy Limited has already visited and shown interest in purchasing milk from the cooling plant. 

Ol Kiwu Self-help group Chair lady, Kileku Ene Sholo, who is also a landowner expressed her gratitude to the WWF and Gamewatchers Safaris and Porini Camps for the project saying that she now sees the importance of wildlife conservation. 

“This is something amazing because today we are with donors who have brought a project great as this. We thank you very much because you have brought us something very important. Something that most people would only dream of having. And now whenever I see this milk coolant, I will be thanking the wild animals,” said Shololo.

Over the years, Gamewatchers Safaris and Porini Camps have participated in various projects to provide benefits and amenities for communities that live outside the conservancies including providing bursaries and scholarships, digital learning, set up of predator-proof bomas and deterrent lights, toilet construction, beekeeping and more.  Learn more about our community outreach projects and how you can be part of it here: https://www.porini.com/about-us/supporting-communities/

WWF Kenya and Gamewatchers Safaris have been working closely with local communities and stakeholders in mitigating against human-wildlife conflict, habitat management, and securing existing rangelands while at the same time improving livelihoods.