The Story of the Maasai Cows

Cow queues, a thing of the past

– Kenya is well known for its spectacular scenery, diverse wildlife and the culture of the Maasai people, semi-nomadic cattle herders with a unique culture of art and dance. However, the country has been affected by devastating droughts in recent years.

A Maasai prayer says: ‘May the Creator give us cattle and children.’ These are the most important aspects of life for the Maasai people. However, as a member of the Ilmisigiyo Self-Help Group explained, “We’re having to change our traditional ways. The droughts over the last few years wiped out almost 80% of our cattle. We are still recovering.

Project_107AF_Kenya_Utooni_Sand dam

The new sand dam

Since the sand dam was constructed, it has really made a difference to our lives. Before, we had to walk long distances with our livestock to the borehole and queue for hours with other herds. We also had to pay 32 shillings per cow, per month, for the water. We could only afford to take the cows every other day, which made them weak. Now their water is closer, we do not pay and they don’t have to queue!

The dam has provided us with other benefits as well. We have planted fruit trees and trees for timber around our shambas[i]. We have started working with our hands; we never used to do that before the sand dam. Some of us are also using the water to make bricks. One member made 6,000 bricks and now has a very nice, new house.” 

Click here to read more about the project.

(i) Shamba: garden or farm