The Peder Von Heland Youth Centre and Library
This project is the brainchild of Karl Von Heland and Eva Hamilton in memory of their late son Peder Von Heland. The family and friends formed a Trust Fund through which they funded the construction of a Youth Training Centre at the local Siana Boarding Primary School.
The Peder Von Heland Youth Centre is a beautiful building and due to its large capacity; the Ministry of Education identified it as an examination centre for the Mara division. The Youth Centre also holds community training seminars and a variety of workshops. For example young Masai men attend carpentry and masonry training courses at the centre in the hope they can get a job in local camps and lodges as first class fundis (handymen).
The trust has also built a library in Ololaimutiek School and is providing scholarships for young women to further their education.
We always encourage our guests to donate towards this project and all contributions go towards keeping students and paying teachers as well as buying books and any other additional education equipment.
The Rescue Centre
Masai girls still face a lot of challenges in life from early marriage, female genital mutilation (FGM), rape and a number of other challenges. The girls Rescue Centre is based at Siana Boarding School and was set up in order to rescue Masai girls at risk of these illegal practices.
Visiting the Rescue Centre is a very rewarding and memorable experience for our guests. As the centre solely relies on donations any contributions are hugely encouraged and appreciated. It is even possible to ‘adopt’ one of the girls and sponsor her through her schooling. A number of the girls at the school are only in education due to the generous support of some of our previous guests.
We are now working to build a big kitchen and dining hall at the secondary school for girls to be used primarily by the Rescue Centre. But we still need more help to finalise the educational kitchen for vocational training in cooking and housekeeping.
The Conservancy Project
The Mara-Serengeti ecosystem contains about 40% of Africa’s remaining wildlife. In the last 50 years Africa has lost about half of its mammals – in order to stop further reduction we must learn to co-exist with the wildlife. Most of this ecosystem is community owned land outside of the reserves. Since 2004 the size of protected land has doubled thanks to the formation of conservancies in the surrounding area.
Entumoto has been a driving force in establishing the Siana Conservancy. Masai landowners in the past have turned such precious land into grazing pastures and farmland. However, with the formation of conservancies, they now receive a fixed annual lease plus an occupancy lease in return for staying off this land. Therefore seeing a direct benefit from tourism and the preservation of the land and wildlife.
This is our way of giving an alternative form of income to the local community. We see how important it is for the Masai to co-exist with the wildlife, and in order to create harmony all parties must benefit from eco-tourism and conservation. So not only do we pay the 3500 Masai families who have an interest in the conservancy, but we also employ mainly local staff, we train young Masai, engage in the schools and aspire for mutual development all round.
Siana Secondary School for Girls
The Siana Boarding School opened a new department in 2017 - a secondary school for Masai girls from the area. This is truly a great achievement, as these girls would normally be married at a young age and be looking after their children instead of getting an education.
Entumoto has been promoting this new project in many ways and we have now built a very big assembly hall at the premises, with the help of sponsoring from our guests and our owners families. The building shall function as a dining hall, kitchen etc but also include a section for vocational training for the girls in housekeeping and cooking. Primary will be for the girls in the Rescue Centre next door.
We place an emphasis at Entumoto in hiring largely local Masai staff. Furthermore we support our employees if they wish to develop further. We support them through guiding schools and cooking programmes amongst other trainings they wish to undertake.
We also offer internships to students from the local schools to further their development and experience - this includes aspiring guides, cooks, fundi’s, security etc
The Beadwork Project
The Masai people are renowned all over the world for their beadwork. We have partnered with the local women’s co-operative who supply the camps gift shop with an array of beautiful hand made bead products. Any purchase made by our guests goes directly to the individual women of the co-operative.
We at Entumoto dedicate ourselves to preserving the landscape around us - being part of its protection and to this end our camp functions in the most eco-friendly way possible.
We have our own water filtration plant with crystal clear water that is enough for the camp and for the waterholes serving the wildlife. We use only environmentally friendly liquids and cleaning materials. We are driven by the ambition to have as low an impact on the natural habitat as possible and have our own organic vegetable garden. Through this we reduce transport to and from Nairobi not to mention the advantage of eating wonderfully tasty organic produce.
Hot water to the tents and the kitchen is solar powered and our new sun power system will help reduce the amount we use the wood burning water heaters for the showers. Solar powered battery systems generate electricity with a back up diesel generator for surplus requirements. All electrical fittings are low consumption based products.
We are actually developing the idea of electrically motored safari vehicles - we would be the first in the Masai Mara - our policy is to keep up with and use the latest eco tech.
We are always looking to expand our corporate social responsibility and have identified a number of projects we hope will make a big improvement to the local Masai community. We intend to further extend the Rescue and Youth training Centre. Furthermore we would like to initiate projects to incentivise the pupils to clean the rubbish from local villages in return for improved food.
The Masai have adapted to modern economic strategies, they have applied for titles for their lands and have incorporated farming. In addition, schools have been opened up and there is a significant number of Masai incorporated in the local workforce. However, despite the fact that Masai culture is changing, there is still a sufficient amount of evidence that they have damaging traditional practices such as female circumcision as a rite of passage and early marriages etc.
Entumoto is identifying new sustainable development plans and community projects and sponsoring those that it can. The Mara region is set aside for wildlife but also the local Masai must be able to co-exist and develop alongside conservation. We try to engage in projects having this delicate balance in mind.