Income and Economy

The Maasai have benefited from tourism, as it has allowed them to develop businesses from selling beads, masks, carvings and other hand made goods to tourists. They also perform ceremonies for a tourist audience, and it has been suggested the tourism is actually helping to preserve cultural traditions by rejuvenating old customs and encouraging the Maasai to continue and maintain current customs without changing the fundamentals of the culture (African Crafts Market, n.d.).

Maasai women have recently began playing a primary role in this type of business (the selling of beads and crafted goods). One business organization called "Merrueshi Women's Cooperative" was   established by a small group of Maasai women in Merrueshi Village, and states it's mission as "To empower ourselves and improve our community through income generating activities such as handmade crafts, folklore, and livestock production". Their goal is to alleviate poverty and similar socio-economic cultural challenges, while encouraging women to start their own businesses, promoting the investment in and empowerment of women, supporting the education of girls and supporting women's health (Merrueshi Women's Cooperative, n.d.).

In addition to profi
t from the tourism industry, the main form of income in Longido is livestock and agriculture. Livestock is not a dependable source of income, however, as the y are susceptible to disease due to lack of vaccination, and require a large amount of water to maintain. Droughts can have a devastating impact on livestock population. Additionally, livestock products and other natural resources do not provide substantial income (Bowen et. al., 2011). There exists a need for business creation (micro enterprises) that makes use of resources that they have access to, but are not entirely dependent on water, or have a sustainable water collection method integrated into them.

Why This is Important:

Micro-Enterprising has become a popular idea to integrate into designs . If we as designers plan to incorporate a business aspect into our designs, we must first understand how the market and economy works within Longido. By understanding which enterprises and businesses are working well already, we can use them as launching points that will lead us to viable solutions and businesses for the cultural context.


African Crafts Market (n.d.). Maasai People Traditions & Culture. Retrieved September 19, 2014, from

Merrueshi Women's Cooperative. (n.d.). Retrieved September 19, 2014, from 

Bowen, P., Simons, C., Hillyard, J., Hartwig, K., Langford, S., Harvey, M., & James, S. (2011). The Whole Village Project. Retrieved September 26, 2014.

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