Mau Mara Serengeti Sustainable Water Initiative (MaMaSe)


Representatives of the Netherlands Embassy in Kenya recently toured the MaMase Project in Narok and Bomet Counties within the Mau Mara basin that is undergoing a series of restoration efforts.

The team led by Marielle Geraedts, the Deputy Ambassador, also comprised of Noeke Ruiter, head of Water resources and Melle Leenstra, head of economic development and food security at the embassy. They expressed confidence on the transformative power of the project on the community.

“This project is on a good path. So far it’s well organized and executed. We at Embassy have classified this area as special and we want to change lives for the best,” Marielle said during the tour of the projects. The aim of the tour was to monitor progress of the interventions, engage Water Resource Users Associations (WRUAs) and water users targeted by the project.

The team visited Rose Kigen’s Farm in Olerai where she is practicing improved and environmentally sustainable farming methods from training received through MaMaSe.  They also toured Merigi Farmers’ Cooperative Society where the cooperative is pioneering fodder for control of soil erosion. At the Enonkishu Conservancy, in Mara, the team learnt of alternative farming techniques the conservancy provides that serve as a demonstration of best practice to the local community. Enonkishu is a poster-child of the confluence between rangeland management and livestock farming.

Mara Farming, a Dutch and Kenyan owned horticultural export firm was toured. It is to serve as a learning center to local small scale farmers on agroforestry, and to large scale farmers’ on efficient water use for agriculture. The complex large scale irrigation systems at Mara farming provides lessons on water management in agricultural production.

The deputy ambassador expressed her satisfaction with the dedication, and inclusion of stakeholders in addressing the challenge of water and soil conservation in the Mara basin. “This project is unique and fantastic, we see the farmer happy having learnt from MaMaSe training and the Water Resource Users Association optimistic of the progress. It’s impacting everybody since water and soil is important to all,” Noeke said. She urged other farmers to learn from the demonstration centers on the MaMaSe project so that they can adapt to the new technology for economic and environmental sustainability.

“Water and soil conservation are key for both agriculture and livestock production and we want to see how the two can be integrated for economic development of the people of this area,” she added.
The Dutch Embassy awarded MaMase eight million Euros grant for improvement of water safety and security in the Mara River Basin in support of structural poverty reduction, sustainable economic growth, and conservation of the basin’s forest and rangeland ecosystems in four years.

The tour concentrated on several Result Areas in the project that focus on interventions in the upper and middle basin, respectively, to conserve forests and rangelands, pilot innovative wise water economic development activities, and facilitate the adoption of improved practices. Public Private Partnerships involving private sector partners like the newly established Mara Farming Ltd. and HSBC Bank are central to the activities of these result areas.