The very foundation of Mara West Camp is based on sustainable community development. In 2001, Andrew Aho hosted the first group of volunteers on the plot of land that would become Mara West Camp. Over the years, hundreds of volunteers have participated in development programs assisting the local community with basic health care, construction of school facilities, improved water and sanitation systems, and educational programs.
Mara West Foundation works extensively with the local Maasai leadership to identify projects that will improve the quality of life for the community. Through the affiliated non-governmental organization, Africa Mission Services, Mara West Camp is able to offer clients an opportunity to not only go on breath taking safaris but also experience first-hand the beauty of the local culture through humanitarian service. Mara West Foundation welcomes clients to visit the local projects or become engaged in the work.
The Foundation believes that the key to sustainable development is providing the local children with educational opportunities. Early on the Maasai elders were asked what their community needed, “schools” was one of their answers. While they feared their children losing the traditional way of life, their greater fear was that without their children being educated – they would lose all – their land, their rights, their voice. Through partnering with Kensington Cares and various other donors, Mara West Foundation has built a local primary school that hosts over 600 children and the first local girls’ high school. It is our desire to empower the local children to become the future leaders of their community.
In addition to education, we realize that the key to a life of opportunity is health. The Mara West Foundation, through Africa Mission Services, runs a full time maternity and community health center. Established in 2008, the health center has become the primary medical facility in this community offering emergency services, ambulance transfers, outpatient services, well child immunizations and assisting over 500 women a year in childbirth. Our aim is to offer families a healthcare center where they can receive expert care, be treated with respect, and their cultural practices valued. In alignment with our belief in sustainable development, the majority of the health center staff are local Maasai who have been educated through our sponsorship program and have returned to be leaders in the facility.
By staying at Mara West Camp, clients contribute to community development. It is through our clients and donors that we are able to continue to work with the local community. Should you wish to donate to the Mara West Foundation this can be done at check out at Mara West Camp. For those who wish to make an online donation, payment can be made through our partner organization, Africa Mission Services. For online donations, USA based donors will receive a 501(c)(3) tax exemption receipt.