Famous for its vast herds of hoofed mammals as well as iconic predator populations, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is also home to Maasai people. Patriarchal cultural norms combined with high poverty and remote living conditions mean many Maasai girls miss out on education, are subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM) and end up being married off at a very young age. Lack of access to family planning causes high teenage pregnancy rates and many women end up having more children than they can provide for, leading to high infant mortality.
Maasai Harmonial helps send girls to school by covering school fees and supplying equipment, such as textbooks and uniforms. They also provide school lunches, as well as sanitary pads to prevent girls from missing school due to menstruation.
Photo: Secondary school students. © Maasai Harmonial
Maasai Harmonial trains peer educators who hold health classes for community members on family planning and reproductive health. In addition, as many Maasai don’t speak Kiswahili (the national language), they train medical interpreters who help community members receive health care. Maasai Harmonial also organizes an annual celebration to sensitize the community on the harmfulness of FGM and on the importance of girls’ education.
Photo: A Maasai woman receiving family planning advice. © Maasai Harmonial