Maasai Partners (MP), under Ngorongoro Community Network, was founded in 2011 by Judith Lane.
Judy visited the Ngorongoro Conservation Area on an off-the-beaten-path excursion that exposed her to remote areas of the NCA that are usually missed by tourists. She had the opportunity to connect with a Maasai community member from Alailelai Ward and hear firsthand about the challenges facing Maasai in NCA today.
“When I went and stayed for the first time and we had village meetings, I was sitting and listening to them talk. They explained they had no healthcare, no water in two of the villages, impassable roads; you very quickly become aware that there’s such an immense problem,” Judy said.
The seeds of a community network were planted that trip and soon after, the first MP partnership began with the Tanzanian community-based organization Alailelai Maasai Sustainability Organization (AMSO).
Having walked from village to village on foot as part of her trek, Judy got a glance of the remote reality for Maasai living there. She also saw that there was no NGO presence in this particular ward, and very little in the conservation area in general, and that in order to bring about any significant impact, a network would be an ideal model to serve the community.
“You can’t just isolate one problem and deal in one area. You have to look at it as an ecosystem that’s falling apart,” she explained.
Since then, MP has continued to partner with and support a growing number of local and international organizations. With each new partnership the network potential is amplified, as partners are then connected to each other.