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From maasai nomads to zero grazing by Maasai zero grazing team

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Maasai life is getting harder every year. Our solution is change of lifestyle from pastoralist into agro- pastoralist than zero -grazers.



The East - African maasai tribe live far away from cities, out in the fields, among the green hills, and live a nomadic life. They still maintain their lifestyle and their unique culture in this world, where most of the African tribes were eaten up by our civilization. They love cows and keep dozens and hundreds of them. They still measure wealth in number of cows, not in money. If there is a need in the family they take a cow to sell, to get money. The cattle for them is like the money on the bank account for us. But their wealth is very fragile. It can come and go like the seasons. While for us a bankruptcy to happen has a very low risk, for them it is getting higher and higher, as the global warming is overpowering the seasons. The original sequence of the rains has been changed a lot in the last decade. Sometimes it can delay even 2 months. All the fields are getting dry and us, city people can notice a significant rise in the price of the packed milk in the shop. For us this is just a small annoyance of life, while for the maasai it can be fatal. They can loose all their cattle once. In the lack of rain there is no grass, no food for the animals. Only those can survive, who can take their cows hundred kilometers away from home, to places, where there is still grass. The other problem with the nomadic life is, that whether there is draught or not , on the way to the grass fields the cattle enter into the maize fields of swahili farmers, who live in the same areas. They eat up a lot of maize from the farms and this causes conflicts between the tribes.We want to solve 2 problems: the lack of food in draught  and  the conflict between the maasai and the swahili people caused by the cows habit of eating  maize plantations. Solution: we drill borehole for permanent water supply for irrigation farming and we teach farming skills for the maasai. This way slowly they will be able to grow enough food for their cows, so they can change their nomadic life to zero grazing. 

Is this proposal for a practice or a project?


What actions do you propose?

1.Drilling a borehole until the water level about 40-50 meters depth ( hiring a driller )

2.Buying pump , solar panels ( the solar panel is power supply for the pump ), watertank, pipes for irrigation, steel for making a stand for the tank

3. Connecting components

4 .Educating maasai communities about irrigation farming

5. Starting farming

6. Later when the farming goes well, we can start preparation for zero- grazing

Who will take these actions?

  Individuals will take these actions:

    Raphael  maasai man - leader 

   Technician - implementation of solar power and irrigation pipes

    Villagers - helpers

    University students from the field of agriculture - educating villagers

    Margit - financial manager

Where will these actions be taken?


Scale is about 50 acre plot in a maasai village in the Tanga region of Tanzania among the hills.

In addition, specify the country or countries where these actions will be taken.


Country 2

No country selected

Country 3

No country selected

Country 4

No country selected

Country 5

No country selected


What impact will these actions have on greenhouse gas emissions and/or adapting to climate change?

These actions will not reduce emissions, but reduce harm of the maasai tribe , whose unique lifestyle, tradition can get extinct in the next few decades if they won't be helped in getting food for their cattle, when the rainy season delays. This project helps the adaptation of the maasai to the changing climate.

What are other key benefits?

1. Exploiting the groundwater storage under East -Africa

2. The maasai nomads start production  first only for self - maintenence, later for selling.

   a, replacing maasai cows with dairy cows they will have milk for selling

   b, improving in agriculture, they will have agricultural products for selling

3. The maasai society will adapt to a different lifestyle. The conflicts between the farmers and the maasai will get  to the end. ( The reason of current conflict is, that the maasai is walking with the cattle and looking for the grass to eat and the way is leading among the maize fields of the farmers. The cows are hungry and since the grass field is still far they start entering into the maize fields and eating the maize of swahili farmers. This causes serious fights every day. Other conflict is between the maasai and the national parks. Traditionally the governmental laws allowed the maasai to grass the cattle in the national parks, but these days when the lions are endangered species there are problems. For example , when in the dry season all the impalas are out of the lion family's territory and the lion is starving, it frequently happens, that it catches the grassing cow of the maasai. After this happens several time , the maasai decide to kill the lion. This causes conflict with the government. )

The Tanzanian and Kenyan governments want to change the rules, regarding maasai grazing in parks. If they can provide them land to grow food for the cattle, that can compensate their exclusion from the parks.)


What are the proposal’s projected costs?

Economic cost: 

                           Drilling 50 meters        2000 USD

                           Pump                              1000 USD

                           Pipes                              500 USD

                          Solar panels                   1500 USD

                          Watertank 5000liters     500USD

                          Education                      2000 USD

                          Seeds                              500 USD

                         Other payments             2000USD


Negative side effects : The traditional maasai lifestyle will change

Challenges: cooperation with local people


1 - 15 years : the conflict between farmers and maasai will reduce 

                       the conflict between government and maasai will reduce 

                       the maasai will learn new skills , which help their survival

                       generate income

15-50 years:  the maasai tribe will still be able to keep its trdaditional lifestyle with adaptation to the environmental changes , changing maasai nomads to zero grazing , create employment for people


50- 100 years: when almost the whole world will be globalised, there will be a tribe , the  maasai , who is still able to say no for globalisation

About the author(s)

Margit Szirak - Born in 1979 in Szeged( Hungary ), studied architecture in Budapest University of Technology and Economics, worked in Nairobi ( Kenya ) from 2010 - 2016 at Triad Architects, married a maasai man and have 2 children, from July 2016 lives in Hungary , blog:

Ningai Raphael Andrew - Born in 1984, Korogwe ( Tanzania), grew up in a small maasai village in the Usambara mountains, grazed the cows and attended school until age 16, started working in Dar es salaam , mainly as a security guard from age 17, than from age 22 he worked in Zanzibar in beach hotels. From 2010 - 2016  he lived a dual life ,2 months in Nairobi  2 months in his Tanzanian village, in 2013 he completed a course of tour - guiding , currently lives in Hungary and visiting his Tanzanian home every year for 3-6 months periods.

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