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Equator Initiative Case Study – Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust

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Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust preserves the wilderness, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Amboseli-Tsavo ecosystem – an important migration corridor between two national parks. The organization of Maasai communities has mitigated unsustainable practices such as overgrazing and water-intensive farming and introduced alternative livelihood options, including ecotourism. The community benefits from lease payments for conservancy zones, watershed protection, and the provision of ecotourism services. Ecotourism revenue funds community health and education programmes, including scholarships, teacher salaries and clean water.
An innovative programme called ‘Wildlife Pays’ compensates Maasai herders on a quarterly basis for losses due to wildlife predation in exchange for their participation in conservation activities. An innovative partnership model with the Kenya Wildlife Service has allowed for both local livelihood improvements and extensive wildlife monitoring to improve the protection of threatened species. The Equator Initiative brings together the United Nations, governments, civil society, businesses and grassroots organizations to recognize and advance local sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities. As local and indigenous groups across the world chart a path towards sustainable development, the Equator Prize--issued biennially by the Equator Initiative--shines a spotlight on their efforts by honoring them on an international stage. This project was awarded the Equator Prize in recognition of its contribution to local sustainable development solutions.

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