What is your vision of Justice?
In Maasailand, Justice means accountability to the land and to all living beings
MERC is a collective of Maasai people who have been working for more than three decades for justice for our community, Olosho le Maa, and for a future our planet beyond the destruction of 500 years of global colonization.
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 join us to bring the best of Western science and Maasai knowledge to bear on the challenges and opportunities in Maasailand.
Maasai Cows Lives Matter
Maasai stand with the Black Lives Matter Movement
The Maasai people love our domestic animals and we live together as a community, feed and protect each other; our entire culture and way of life depends especially on our relationship with cows. For that reason police violence is directed also against Maasai cows to force the community to back down from asserting our rights, especially to the grasses of our occupied land. In 2018, during a drought when our cattle were starving, government police brought machines guns to drive Maasai off of disputed grazing land and they murdered thousands of cows who committed no crime. Maasai coined the phrase “Maasai Cows Lives Matter” to pay tribute to the U.S. based organization Black Lives Matter, and to show our solidarity with communities around the world standing for their rights in the face of police violence.
Coronavirus and Indigenous Medicine
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—over 50 different herbs are used specifically for viruses–and on Maasai culture which directs us to care for each other and share resources with the most vulnerable community members. 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
After more than three decades of occupation and destruction of trees and rivers, the Mau 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, which run to Lake Victoria and feed the entire Nile River watershed. Historically protected as a Maasai community trust, the Mau was illegally privatized and divided up through political corruption beginning in the 1980s, especially to the community of then President Moi, leading to destruction of the forest for agriculture, which has led to dangerously low water levels in the Mara and other essential rivers to the south. Conservationists from around the world have gathered periodically to try to solve this problem, but without either the partnership of Maasai traditional leadership or the commitment of the Kenyan government. However the government has undertaken an effort recently to clear the forest of all human economies other than those of the Ogiek, traditional dwellers of the forest, and they have worked with the Maasai community which fully supports these efforts. Seventy thousand acres has been cleared and the full recovery of the forest is eminent.
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