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  • Writer's pictureInternational Lawyers Project

Capacity Building for Maasai Communities in Kenya

Updated: Nov 27, 2023


ILP supported the Narasha community in Kenya with legal training on their land and human rights, including registering land holdings to reduce land theft by corrupt actors. Our support has benefited three Maasai villages which are the focus of geothermal development by private corporations supported by the government.

This geothermal development has led to conflict when community members have been forcibly evicted from their homes without sufficient or any compensation and subjected to arbitrary arrest. Unsafe construction techniques have led to death and injury, as well as pollution of local land, water and air. The communities were keenly aware that their lack of knowledge of their legal rights and the investors’ responsibilities was hindering their ability to resolve conflict, negotiate on more equal terms and demand compliance with environmental, governance and land registration laws.


ILP’s Action

ILP’s land lawyers provided a bespoke series of workshops reaching 1,050 community members through direct training and public forums. When the COVID pandemic prevented physical gatherings we took to the airways with call-in discussions on land rights hosted on Mayian FM in Maa language. The radio shows reached an audience of 245,000 listeners across rural areas and due to popular demand ILP’s lawyers were asked to host more radio call- ins.


Mayian FM Reporter, Enkakenva e Mayian, presenting ILP’s radio call in programmes.


Our evaluations demonstrated that women in particular benefitted from the change in format, and often drove the radio discussions; whereas in more formal settings, discussions are often led by (male) community elders.

Women are also disproportionately affected by evictions and by lack of legal title to land. As a result the communities say they have become more able to defend themselves. Specific actions taken by the community include:

  • Filing a legal challenge to the Kenya Land Commission.

  • Successfully annulling a planned eviction.

  • Initiating a case with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights seeking recognition as rightful owners of the land.

  • Negotiate with a company to cover very deep trenches that had been a fatal risk to children and livestock.

  • Persuading companies to hold grievance forums with local communities.


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