Maasai Partners works primarily with the Maasai living in Alailelai Ward, located in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA).
The NCA is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Arusha region of northern Tanzania. It is best known for the Ngorongoro Crater, a volcanic caldera rich with wildlife, and for the neighboring Serengeti plains. Both are protected areas that draw hundreds of thousands of tourists each year for safari expeditions. Entrance to the conservation area is highly regulated, making it difficult for both foreign and domestic NGOs to work there.
Alailelai Ward, which consists of the three subvillages—Alailelai, Alchaniomelock, and Sendui—lies deep within the conservation area and is a two-hour drive from the nearest outside town. The area is extremely remote and far from tourist paths, keeping the indigenous locals and their lives generally unseen by foreigners who stay in lodges.
Maasai Partners has also partnered with organizations to serve the community of Karatu town, outside of the conservation area. Here the population is largely composed of the Iraqw tribe and the people have comparatively easier access to social services and higher qualities of life.
While we focus our work in Ngorongoro, Maasai Partners does have partnerships based in Karatu. Most notably, we founded and continue to sponsor the Tanzanian hub of the Women’s Microfinance Initiative, known as the Ganako Women’s Community Organization (GWOCO).
The offices of our staff working on the ground are located in Karatu.