I have just spent the past 3 days school a school assessment for Iltilal Primary School, located on the Maasai Wilderness Trust land by Tsavo. Only an hours bumpy flight on a little Cesna, it is rumored to take anywhere from 3.5-9 hours by road, depending on who you are talking to. Dominating the landscape there is Mount Kilimanjaro, who’s base is only 30 km from the school.
The Foundation has agreed to do a library for Iltilal Primary, so this will be one of our new projects for 2013. We are partnering with Maasai Wilderness Trust on this project, who’s 280,000 acres of land encompasses 2/3 of the Maasai Mara.
The community is entirely Maasai, and thus herders. During droughts and the dry season they must take the cattle/goats/sheep to other lands. This is very disruptive to education, as it is usually young school age boys that used to watch over herds. The principal told me that in the area surrounding Iltilal, the enrollment rate is only 50%.
As the Maasai Wilderness Trust has a focus on conservation and environmental stewardship, which are themes critical to the survival of the Maasai way of life, we will have a significant focus on this in the library. Thus, this will be a new model for us. It will be a primary school library model that also serves as a community library, with a focus on conservation. It will also be a model for libraries on conservancies. What I am most excited about is that we have decided to make this library a state-of-the-art library with a Smart Board and computers, and perhaps even reading tablets.