We have been working with Community Research and Development Services (CORDS) since 2002. They are a Maasai organisation working among Maasai pastoralist communities in northern Tanzania.
Integrated Community Development Programme
The pastoral Maasai people depend on their ancestral lands for the feeding and watering of their cattle, the mainstay of their lives and economy. This land is being encroached on by illegal settlers, large agricultural companies, and foreign interests buying land for private hunting estates and nature reserves. In 2013 the Tanzanian government announced plans to reduce Maasai land considerably. As part of the Integrated Community Development Programme, CORDS advocated against this. The government later reversed their decision.
CORDS’ work helps communities legally register and demarcate their traditional land, make land use plans, and obtain land certificates – preventing illegal appropriation. CORDS also strives to build resilience in the face of climate change, through incorporating new and traditional practices to minimise the impact and risk of disaster.
The integrated development work that CORDS does has seen a number of benefits, from improved adult literacy and health, to the income that women are earning from cultivation and small businesses such as jewellery making. Women are increasingly confident in proposing problems to challenging situations within their communities, and in demanding their access to rights, education and representation in leadership councils within their communities and villages.