Ewang’an is a Maasai word that means enlightenment.
Our Vision: Taking action at the community level.
our Mission: To promote the empowerment of the community through education, socio-economic, and cultural activities towards the realization of positive change in society.
Ewang’an Foundation (EF) is an organization that has been initiated by Miss Tourism Kenya-Narok County (2018/2019) and like-minded individuals that are championing the rights of women and youth in Narok County. The aim of the foundation is to promote the development of the pastoralist communities through facilitating their access to education, health, economic empowerment, and other social services. Further to this, the foundation is aiming at conserving the environment and promoting tourism as expressed clearly in its programs and pillars. This is through building on women’s and youths’ aspirations, education, economic empowerment, and celebration of their achievements.
All this with the aim of creating stronger and resilient families with the aim of breaking the vicious cycle of poverty. We Ewang’an Foundation believe that empowered women and youth are the keys to breaking the cycle of poverty and strengthening the economy. This will go a long way in the progressive realization of sustainable development in line with Kenya Vision 2030 of becoming a middle-income economy, the UN 2030 agenda of a world of universal respect for Human rights and human dignity, the rule of law, justice, equality and non-discrimination and the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).
For a long time, Maasai is one of the native communities in Kenya that were not entitled to an education, healthcare, and many other forms of social and economic development. Changing this narrative by ‘WE THE YOUTH’ who have tasted the fruits of social and economic development through educating and mobilizing our parents, brothers, sisters, and fellow tribesmen will eventually help in the eradication of this vice.
Ewang’an Foundation recognizes that women and youth form the backbone of the Maasai community and the Kenyan economy. Empowering these agents of change will bring a shift in the economic and social perception of the Maa community in general. Additionally, empowered women and youth are the key to healthier families, stronger economy, and breaking the cycle of poverty in family/community.
In Maasai land, the girl child is robbed of her youth and education. Traditionally, when a girl attains the age of 11, she is sold by her father to older men, for marriage. Her suitors pay a few cows to the girl’s father and the deal is sealed. The price is often negotiated between the men. Girls and their mothers have no say in the matter, hence no choice than to succumb. Mothers are not even allowed to give any marital advice to their daughters, let alone prepare them for puberty. In this case, girls discover things on their own. At a tender age, the young girl, now forced into womanhood, starts giving birth. This is a major setback in as far as her education is concerned. She ends up being illiterate and cannot be a reliable and sustainable breadwinner for her family in the 21st Century. This is a notorious cycle as the generations of girls continue to succumb to such acts.
The causative agent is poverty as Maasai men lack the education for blue-collar jobs. Men in families that are less fortunate in terms of resources and property give their daughters for marriage in exchange for dowries to meet their family need for food and clothing or replenish the dwindling and essential livestock.
Ewang’an Foundation strongly advocates and champions for the empowerment of women and youth in order to realize these changes that will help in bringing an end to this vicious cycle of poverty. To realize this, we will;
- Mentor youths to take part in entrepreneurship so that they can be able to create a job for themselves and also other youths who are jobless
- Provide avenues/platforms such as Saccos and Chama’s where women can get platforms to do their beads work, dressmaking and fashion in general while providing a market where they can sell their products,
- Partner with the Ministry of Education and the county government through TVET programs where our women and youth can be trained on the technical courses so that they can provide for their families.
“Education is the most powerful weapon that can change the world… the power of education extends beyond the development skills we need for economic success” as the saying goes. This is no doubt the only key to realize the social and economic empowerment of our youth. The majority of our parents didn’t manage to go to school thus the rigidity in the abandonment of harmful cultural practices and the change of lifestyle.
To realize this, Ewang’an Foundation has the following agendas in place:
- Mentorship programs in schools. Our motivational speakers visit different schools especially village schools to motivate the student. This helps the village students believe in themselves that they can as well achieve their dreams. In our Mentorship program we work with young professionals from local communities to go around the schools to mentor students using their own, volunteers, and our personal life stories and successes. The mentorship program is for both primary and secondary schools.
- Creating awareness of school dropouts on the importance of education.
- Providing and facilitating scholarships to needy children. Through the assistance of well-wishers, partnering with corporate organizations, local CBOs, NGOs, we will be able to lobby for scholarships for needy and bright students across Narok County to make sure that poverty will not kill the burning dreams in them for a better future
- Issuing, supplying, and teaching girls how to use reusable sanitary towels and undergarments. This is to help girls in rural villages, village schools have access to sanitary towels to avoid them missing classes or dropping out of school due to the lack of these basic necessities. Focusing on girls alone can’t solve the problem as they go home to share those pads with their mothers and sisters who have not gone to school and have no access to the pads. As a result, the problems of girls missing classes or even dropping out of schools continues. Ewang’an will try to help both girls and women in remote villages through donations of reusable pads and panties. Our aim is to avoid any girl drop out of school due to lack of sanitary pad
- Career Guidance. By organizing conferences, we will invite our youth to these conferences especially those in form four, and who have completed secondary education to provide career guidance on the same. More so, visiting of schools across the county, together with established professionals from the region, we will provide talks to these young men and women on their career path and the hopes that your origin doesn’t determine your destiny.
- Establishing a community library. This is to ensure that the needy children in the Maasai community are able to access reading materials that they are unable to afford and enabling the continuation of education.
- Establishments of a Maasai cultural magazine which will be used to: document the practices of Maasai culture for education and posterity purposes; sharing of success stories by individuals for motivational purposes
Enchula Cultural Festival
This is a cultural festival that will be held annually in Narok County to celebrate the rich Maa culture with the aim of raising funds for the advancement of our initiatives. The festival will be used as an education and preservative tool for the fast-eroding Maa culture, and enlightenment platform, a forum for the promotion of peaceful coexistence in Narok County, promotions and advertisement of tourism in Narok County and a platform for showcasing the Maa culture.
The Maasai Community in Narok county still has got deep-rooted culture which is undiluted. The preserved culture is what is making the Maasai community unique. Never the less, there are some harmful cultural practices that are still practiced. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Early/forced marriages are among the most harmful cultural practices in the Maasai Community. As an organization that is championing the right of Maasai girls and women, Ewang’an Foundation will be doing a campaign against FGM, early marriages, and teenage pregnancies in entire Narok county.
The campaign will be done from village to villages approach, testimonial approach from the individual who has gone through FGM, early marriages and teenage pregnancies, using youth as the campaign tool against this harmful cultural practices, using FGM women doctors and Traditional Birth Attendance to educate the community against this vice, problem identification through the door to door engagements with the locals and also through radio shows where we will publicly discuss the effects of FGM and the need of stopping it because it’s harmful to the health of the girls who undergo. Additionally, enlighten and educate on the effects of early marriages and teenage pregnancies on the individual socio-economic lifestyle/livelihood. Further to these, Provision of Rescue Centres/ partnering with organizations with already existing rescue centers for girls seeking rescue from the ax of harmful cultural practices
In order to preserve our positive cultural practices and tourism promotion, we must advocate for environmental protection and conservation. Maasai Mara our main tourism hub depends majorly on River Mara for its sustenance hence the need to protect the source of this river and its basin to realize its full potential.
Achieving this will be done by community mobilization on tree-planting programs both in our homes and schools, mobilization of the drivers of the law through multisectoral approach will enable more effective action against environmental degradation and destruction, community conversations to create awareness on the importance of environmental conservation, the introduction of dustbins in schools and Narok town and major centers to facilitate litter collection in order to maintain a clean environment