Annie O.

The Pastoral Women’s Council (PWC) work with the Maasai women and children of northern Tanzania. The Maasai are one of Africa’s most recognisable tribes. Imagery of their vibrant dress and beaded necklaces are almost as ubiquitous in popular culture as an image of a silhouetted giraffe walking into the setting sun over the Serengeti plains. They have become icons of tribal and traditional Africa, and are world renowned in that regard. Their land, in Kenya and Tanzania, where the Ngorogoro Crater, Serengeti National Park, The Rift Valley, and Mount Kilimanjaro all call home, is a highly touristed area, and undoubtedly the Safari capital of the world. The beauty and history of the land and the wildlife present make it a highly desirable place to visit…But for all that we do know and have seen about this highly photographed culture in this very popular corner of Sub-Saharan Africa, there is a great deal more to know. The Maasai culture is a pastoralist one, they are traditionally nomadic cattle herders. They are also a very patriarchal community and the women are incredibly marginalised with very limited rights. There are a lack of educational opportunities for the girls and women, lack of access to healthcare, lack of property rights, forced marriage, and a host of other inequalities. The women began to rise up to fight these inequalities and in 1997 a Maasai woman named Maanda Ngoitiko founded the Pastoral Women’s Council with nine other women. Since then, the Pastoral Women’s Council has been Maasai led and managed, and has worked tirelessly to implement long term structures that help reduce the inequalities and promote justice and empowerment for the Maasai women and children. From Song and Dance Projects, to Women’s Right’s Committees, to Sponsored Girls, to Women’s Livestock Projects, the Pastoral Women's Council is working on projects in the field 27 hours a day, 8 days a week, beyond their means, to help change norms in Maasai society. To read more about their work visit: www.pastoralwomenscouncil.org

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