Why is a centre for experiential education so important
in the Maasai Mara?
"In Africa, Kenya has one of the highest literacy rates. At least 70% of the total population has
primary school education. This is due to the government’s substantial investment in the education
sector—a tradition that has been going on since the colonial era. Today, Kenya’s Ministry of
Education has the highest budget than any other ministry.
Nevertheless, this has not benefited the indigenous, nomadic Maasai people.
According to available statistics, more than 70% and 90% of Maasai men and women,
respectively, will never receive any formal education. They will never learn
to read or write or speak a language other than their native Maa. Further, 8 out of 10 Maasai children
will not complete primary education. Even when Maasai children are enrolled in school, the vast
majority are enrolled in local day schools because public boarding schools, which are not free, are
prohibitively expensive for most Maasai families. The quality of education in these rural schools is
rarely adequate to prepare students for the national tests, which are required to go on to secondary
school. This is primarily because Maasai schools are under-funded and woefully overcrowded,
sometimes with a student-teacher ratio as high as 100 to 1.
While some environmental and cultural factors also play a role in undermining Maasai children’s education,
the greatest problem lies in lack of tuition, supplies, uniform and other educational facilities in general:
many talented Maasai children never realize their dreams."
How Oltumo Project will deliver experiential education
Oltumo Project is based around the only secure and constant source of water within 3-6 kilometres. We are a perfect location to start an education centre. Our concept is to eventually transition the space around the well to become more run and cared for by the locals than the foreign volunteers and Oltumo employees. Oltumo will always remain as overseers, but community ownership encourages a space where they feel truly comfortable.
- We already have shelter, a kitchen, a shower (a first for many), and the well.
- The taps have been moved further from the well to create space for more of a meeting space and community centre under the nice roof we have constructed.
- With a stocked kitchen of pots and cooking supplies, they are welcome to make chai or food for the meeting members.
- Women's groups now have a space to meet in the shade while they multi-function by gathering water on the same trip.
- It is a space of experimentation and demonstration of work done by Oltumo. As these projects begin to make more and more sense to the local Maasai, they will begin to take more interest. We have already seen this with the success of our Bee Project.
This video is an intimate look at the heart of culture-based education and the indisputable evidence that children thrive in an environment that fosters a learning process they can relate to.