The International Collaborative for Science, Education, and the Environment, Tanzania, (ICSEE (T))
“We didn’t know we could do work like this…we thought only men could.” —Paini Lorwasa, Women’s Stove Installation Team Member, Eluwai, Tanzania
Engaged with the Global Fund for Widows for a fruitful, growing and expanding partnership, the ICSEE (T), or International Collaborative, brings unique capabilities. It has built an unprecedented relationship with people of the Tanzanian Maasai communities, especially women. Learn more at www.internationalcollaborative.org.
The difficult situation of Maasai widows is a reality calling out for action made possible through this partnership.
Revealed through years of organizing and work in the field, the International Collaborative had directly observed the severe situation of Maasai widows. In response, it established two corn flour mills focused on a viable business providing earning opportunities, especially for widows.
This modest effort dedicated to widows can now grow to a much more significant level through new initiatives resulting from a partnership with the Global Fund for Widows.
The Maasai Stoves & Solar Project
Dedicated to improving the health, lives, and possibilities of the people, especially women, the sister organization, ICSEE (USA), founded the Maasai Stoves & Solar Project in 2009.
Through the Project, these organizations engage the people to find new ways to work together to make life better. Instead of focusing on a single need, it is the mobilization of the energy of the people, combined with new ideas and enabling resources that make the work so valuable, motivating, and successful.
Stoves & Solar right from the start
To address the toxic indoor air pollution from indoor cooking fires, the Project began with designing smoke-removing efficient chimney stoves. There are now 4600 installed in improved homes. It went on to installing solar-powered electrical systems located far off the national grid.
Addressing safe water needs
The Maasai, especially children, have serious health problems due to the terribly polluted surface water ponds that are their water sources. The Project’s concerns about this led to the introduction of innovative chlorination systems in remote areas where previously, no one imagined such technology could be applied. With four pilots successfully completed, the Project continues with these efforts on a village –to- village basis.
The need for changing livestock practices
The International Collaborative has new partnerships with Maasai herders to create better cattle management practices, now demanded by the more frequent droughts that challenge Maasai traditions. The International Collaborative also formed a breeding herd. The goal is to introduce a new cattle variety more capable of adapting to the difficult conditions that the pastoralists now face, due to climate change.
Women’s empowerment at the core
Through the flow of ideas, organizational development, and training, the whole community participates in the Project. At the core is the work of the Maasai Women’s teams in each participating village. These teams receive comprehensive training and become expert in the installation of the stoves and solar panel-based electrical systems.
More than two hundred of these empowered women, including many widows among them, formed the Monduli Pastoralist Women’s Organization, which now owns a successful bull fattening business.
A greater potential
The potential inherent in the merging of the Global Fund for Widows and the International Collaborative for Science, Education, and the Environment is enormous. All of us concerned for the developing and sustained welfare of Maasai widows are very energized and excited about what we can accomplish together.