ASSISTANT CHIEF NICKSON PARMISA, 39 (left), is our Maasai Program Director. Parmisa is a close friend who was chosen to be chief several years ago as he was considered the best-suited, most viable person in the community. There was no competition! Parmisa has proven his leadership skills as a traditional Chief, an appointed Government Official, a Game Conservationist and Acacia Moyo's international ambassador. He is skilled at conflict resolution, whether it be minor family issues or more significant land issues, using both traditional methods and the legal framework of Kenya's constitution.
Parmisa is skilled with social media, using whatsapp to sell his livestock and Facebook to keep the community and global supporters closely knit and informed. When he's unsure of how a certain ritual or rite of passage ought to be conducted, he looks it up on google!
ACACIA MOYO founders Anthony Carlson (center) and Kenny Mann (right) with Assistant Chief Nickson Parmisa.
Photo: Daniel Quat Photography
HOSEA KIRANTO, 22, is a fourth year student at Nairobi University. He is a youth legal adviser at the ward level. He herds his cattle and is a keen practitioner of all Maa traditions.
NELLY SIMALOI MUNTUNKEI, 31, is a business woman and farms poultry and livestock. She participates in all aspects of Maa culture.
DANIEL KIMITI, 36, is the local school chairman and church leader ,studying electrical engineering. He is conversant with all Maa culture and traditions.
GIDEON LILAH, 42 works for the UN International Civil Service in Nairobi. He is knowledgeable about climate change and indigenous cultures.
! welcome !
We are very excited to welcome the new members of our fledgling team in Kitengela, hand-picked by Chief Parmisa. Already, the team is guiding us in selecting the most pressing needs of the community. They represent three different age groups, which mirrors the way in which Maasai society is organized. We will be hearing more from them very soon and adding other members of all ages to ensure that the community is well represented.
THE WILDLIFE FOUNDATION (TWF) is a well-established Kenya organization based in Kitengela that has a long-standing record of excellence in conservation education and training. TWF has offered us an office in their compound, which comprises several guest cottages, washrooms, a communal dining room and lecture hall, a workshop and other facilities. We call this compound the Acacia Moyo/TWF Campus.
Currently, TWF receives approximately 60 paying students from British universities who come in the summer to participate by collecting data, tracking game, learning about wildlife patterns and conservation and being exposed to the Maasai culture.
Acacia Moyo will eventually add a compatible tourist component in which participants may join the TWF programs as well as our own.
British students at the Acacia Moyo/TWF Campus
THE CENTER FOR EMERGENT DIPLOMACY (CED), based in Santa Fe, NM, was founded by Executive Director Dr. Merle Lefkoff. CED leads 21st century thinking and practice in fields related to conflict resolution, integrative peace-building, the study and analysis of complex systems and emerging solutions, climate change and many other global issues that affect humanity today. CED's main purpose is to encourage new ways of perceiving such issues, to see them as whole ecosystems rather than isolated cases, and to find solutions that emerge out of seeming chaos.
CED has worked successfully on human rights and conflict resolution in conflict zones around the world, including South Africa and is assisting back-channel negotiations in sharing dwindling water resources among competing Middle East countries. Dr. Lefkoff teaches workshops for Canadian diplomats at the University of Ottawa, applying the new science of Complex Adaptive Systems to peacebuilding in societies facing transition because of climate catastrophe.
SANTA FE COMMUNITY COLLEGE (SFCC) - TRADES AND ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY CENTER boasts a state-of-the-art green campus offering courses in greenhouse management and sustainable technologies, as well as specialty certifications in green building construction and systems, green infrastructure/IT, solar energy and water treatment operations and resource management.
Formerly nomadic, the Maasai have never grown their own food and are only now learning how to cultivate vegetables that can survive in the harsh terrain. In Kitengela, they grow pumpkins, spinach, potatoes, corn
SFCC is currently working with Assistant Chief Nickson Parmisa and our local support team in Kitengela to develop online curricula in basic organic food growing, the use of algae, water harvesting and the construction of more advanced growing technologies. These will be freely available to the Kitengela community using The Wildlife Foundation's computers at our TWF Campus.
In addition, we are seeking to link SFCC with Kenyan agriculturalists in Kajiado County, which includes Kitengela, who have already installed green technology, solar-driven boreholes for water and other measures in order to develop the area into a "food basket" for Nairobi City.
Maasai herding cattle
We look forward to hosting joint workshops with local leaders on our Acacia Moyo campus, not only for the Kitengela community, but also for others in Kenya, where a new generation of Africans is at risk of losing their centuries-old culture and timeless knowledge.
Sustainable agriculture practices affect the ecological health of New Mexico and the world. SFCC provides instruction in Controlled-Environment Agriculture, which assists in efforts to revitalize agriculture production and to support local food systems; greenhouse operations and management techniques; aquaponic and hydroponic production systems; and a variety of sustainable methods to enhance all crop production efforts. We may eventually develop exchange programs between students in New Mexico and in Kitengela.
Already, massive amounts of tomatoes, corn, cucumbers, spinach, pumpkins and other vegetables are being harvested and sold in Nairobi markets. While the manure produced by Maasai livestock is used on vegetable farms in Kajiado, the Kitengela Maasai have not been included in this development as food growers themselves. We will bridge this gap as efficiently as possible. Being able to grow their own food and sell surplus to the Nairobi markets will provide the Kitengela community with yet another source of sustainable income.
Massai learning horticulture