Sekenani Maasai Development Project (SEMADEP) is a community based organisation. The project is owned and managed by the Maasai community living in the Siana location in Mara Division just adjacent to the great Maasai Mara Game Park.
The project started in 1997 through the effort of church leaders seeking opportunities to address community needs which ranged from a lack of health facilities, poor sanitation, poverty, illiteracy, human-wildlife conflicts and the increasing HIV/AIDS pandemic.
The Division has more poor people than other parts of the District. This is despite the fact that the area is endowed with many natural resources including the world-famous Maasai Mara Game Park.
The high poverty level in this area is attributed to the following factors: lack of employment opportunities; low levels of literacy (school dropout figures high); moranism; forced early marriages (of girls); food and income insecurity etc. The poverty situation in the district shows that Mara Division with a total population of 46,331 has 78% (36,138 people) living below the poverty line (i.e. < 1 US $ per capita per day).
The main initiative of the project is to build a strong supportive CBO that will care, support and develop programmes of great benefit to the entire community.
The community regards development with the highest importance. Self-motivation is the key factor that drives them toward achieving their desired goals. The management of the entire structure by community members in terms of labour, materials and finance is well demonstrated in all project activities. They are steward to serve the community with little supervisions.
As emerging challenges surface the project has embarked on an ambitious community sensitisation process to demonstrate that diversification of sources of livelihood for the community can work when socio-economic transformation and development are taken into consideration.
An increase in the HIV/AIDS pandemic, natural disasters and illiteracy are at the root of poverty in the Maasai community. There is need to embark on sustainable development that will end poverty in the region. Numerous people young and old have been touched by various calamities and are now living desperate lives. There is need for counselling to cover psychological, spiritual, physical and emotional needs, this will help change their lives and aid them to forget the past and allow them to move on to planning a new future.
It is because of the above justification that SEMADEP was initiated and officially opened in 1997 later becoming an NGO (non government organisation).
The project aims to improve the living standards of the Sekenani Area Maasai community by narrowing the poverty gap. It is intended to expand the project to cover the whole of the Siana location to meet the needs of the 6000 inhabitants living within an approximate 700sq.kms radius.
To create sustainable development projects and transform lives by realizing the community’s short term & long term needs.
To prepare and enable the Maasai pastoral communities to acquire the necessary skills that will enable them to manage their own development projects, in relationship to socio-economic development and transformation.