NABOISHO CONSERVANCY – COMING TOGETHER IN A TIME OF NEED
Over fifteen years of working closely with the Maasai, Basecamp has tried to empower the community and create opportunities for them. To prevent landowners from selling their land – their lifeblood – to outsiders, Basecamp tried to find a sustainable and financially viable alternative that would allow the Maasai to retain their land. The solution became the establishment of a community-owned nature conservancy, which would be leased by tourism operators, yet owned by the Maasai.
Five tourism partners, including Basecamp, would pay a set land lease fee every month. The tourism operators were carefully selected based on their commitment to natural resource management and community development. The establishment of a community-owned nature conservancy bordering the Maasai Mara National Reserve would additionally help protect an area vital for the survival of the entire Mara ecosystem. Both the grass eaters and the carnivores of the Mara are dependent on vast grazing grounds and hunting territory to survive, and the government managed national reserve is not large enough to sustain the ecosystem by itself. Basecamp recognized this need for private engagement and sought to create a model for conservation worldwide.
After years of relentless commitment and unfaltering patience, Basecamp finally succeeded in convincing the Maasai landowners to sign a 15-year lease agreement, a time frame superseding any similar lease agreement in the Mara region. The community-owned conservancy was named Naboisho – after the maa expression of ‘coming together’. The name symbolizes how the Maasai community came together in a time of need and was chosen by the Maasai community.