Arrive in Kenya (ARRIVE) has partnered with local Kenyan non-profit organization Naretoi Empowerment Hand (NEH) to establish a center in Ewuaso Kedong, Maasailand, Kenya. The center will include three adjacent structures: an Eco-Lodge and cultural center, a business center, and ARRIVE Base Camp (ABC). The center will be built on preserved land (coordinates: 1°10’06.8”S 36°31’08.6”E) on the base of Mt. Suswa only 24 miles from Nairobi in geodesic distance, at the intersection of Kajiado, Nakuru, and Kiambu counties.
Through NEH, the business center will employ local women to make beaded and traditional African themed products, which ARRIVE will purchase and resell in international markets. This arrangement provides potential for substantial revenue and growth for all parties. The women will receive a generous and stable salary that will provide food for their families and pay school fees for their children. This scalable model will allow ARRIVE to amplify its impact on vulnerable children. By empowering these women, ARRIVE will also be investing in the 93 vulnerable children in their care.
From within the Great Rift Valley this project will launch with 16 local women, selected by ARRIVE and NEH employees. These 16 women have a total of 93 children. Many are widows; others are married to one man with multiple co-wives. All live in small traditional manyattas of mud and sticks and lack electricity, running water, and plumbing. The median number of children per woman is seven; the current average salary per woman is less than USD $4.00 per week. Most of the women received no formal education, were forced into arranged marriages as girls and are unable to buy food for their children, let alone clothes, shoes, school fees, or medicine. Through ARRIVE oversight and tangible positive impact indicators to measure success, ARRIVE’s investment will provide financial independence and security for these women and liberate impoverished children from the cycle of poverty.
The Eco-Lodge and cultural center will be constructed in a traditional Maasai fashion with modern amenities in order to preserve and celebrate the rich Maasai heritage and the natural environment of Maasailand. This anthropological center will serve as a community meeting spot for both local Maasai people and international visitors; it will take defined positions on matters such as opposing female genitalia mutilation and will be a source of information and knowledge to Maasai people who wish to learn more about these social issues.
ARRIVE Base Camp (ABC) will serve as the central headquarters for Arrive in Kenya, in Kenya. It is less than two hours from JKIA Nairobi Airport and will be the first place that volunteers arrive in Kenya. From ABC, volunteers can continue their stay in Ewuaso Kedong, travel to other ARRIVE locations (Light Home of Hope, Uriri, Migori County), or adventure on a variety of excursions across Kenya (http://www.arrivekenya.org/what-we-do/excursions/). ABC will be equipped with bicycles, exploration opportunities, bonfire pit, social area, and other essential amenities to accommodate local and international visitors.
These initiatives will expand ARRIVE’s impact while maintaining ARRIVE’s mission. ARRIVE is excited to begin work in Ewuaso Kedong and help empower the most impoverished women and children in Maasailand, preserve Maasai heritage and culture, expand volunteer opportunities, and provide visitors convenient access to incredible excursions and safaris throughout the beautiful East Africa region.