What Does Justice Mean to You?
To us, justice is not limited to human rights defined by states. Justice is a collective accountability of human communities to land and all of the life it sustains
A just world is one that has been regenerated by this understanding
We are MERC, the Institute for Maasai Education, Research and Conservation, a collective of Maasai people striving for more than three decades for the cultural, economic and political self-determination of our community, Olosho le Maa, and our rights to the stewardship of Maasailand.
MERC was founded in 1987 by Meitamei Olol Dapash to amplify the voice of the Maasai community in its efforts to protect wildlife and promote Maasai land rights.
Today MERC leads community efforts to reclaim occupied land, restore coexistence and protection of wildlife, achieve political self-representation, and benefit from the industries taking place on our land.
We are MERC
And this is what we do
MERC has participated in conservation for over thirty years through many partnerships, always understood through the premise that conservation of Maasai lands will only work as long as the Maasai people are involved and benefiting
Maasai must reclaim our rights to our own leadership that is selected through our own cultural processes
Maasai people must be the architects of development in Maasailand, which is being built through our accountability to all beings that share the land and to our global human community
We want to work with you!
The MERC/Prescott College Dopoi Center offers semester and summer programs for university students
We work with a wide variety of organizations who come to Maasailand, not to ‘help,’ but to collaborate as equal partners
The Mara Guides Association would love to introduce you to Maasailand, the wildlife and the community itself.
We welcome researchers to collaborate on the challenges and opportunities in Maasailand.
What is Happening Now?
Maasai Cows Lives Matter
MERC stands with the Black Lives Matter Movement
The entire culture and way of life of the Maasai people is inseparable from our relationship with Nkishu, cows, and for that reason police violence is often directed against Maasai cows in the context of land disputes. After a brutal slaughter of hundreds of Maasai cows in 2018, people coined the phrase “Maasai Cows Lives Matter” to express the depth of this injustice and in solidarity with communities everywhere who stand in the face of police violence.
Coronavirus has led to Hunger
Maasai are experienced with pandemics and are surviving through the use of traditional medicine
Pandemic is not new in Maasailand, where people have confronted deadly viruses since at least the arrival of the British in the late nineteenth century. There are no hospitals in rural Maasailand, and so we have developed ways to survive pandemics by relying on the medicine produced by the land. Our greatest challenge at this time therefore stems not from the disease itself but from the breakdown of supply chains that has led to widespread hunger in the community.
New Life in the Mau Forest
Melo Enkop: the forest is coming home
The Mau Forest is the most critical watershed in Maasailand and the source of a dozen rivers that feed East Africa’s most critical wildlife habitat in the Maasai Mara and Serengeti. Historically protected as a Maasai community trust, the Mau was illegally privatized and deforested beginning in the 1980s. Recently the Kenyan government has begun to support decades of efforts of Maasai activists to clear the forest and allow its recovery and regeneration.