Thursday, August 1, 2013

Nearly 35,000 Maasai in Monduli district, Arusha region will receive training on intellectual property rights in order to start protecting their traditional knowledge against exploitation.

Mounduli Disrtict Commisssioner  Jowika Kasunga (right side)Launching a special  project aimed at empowering the Maasai  communities  on  intelectual Properties  right
Maasai is one of the few remaining African ethnic group, rich in cultural creativity but due to ignorance, the community has never benefited from this cultural wealth.

European Union (EU) in partnership with Maasai Pastoralists Foundation (MPF) has embarked on a two years project to empower the Maasai community to unlock the potential of their cultural creativity.

The project officially launched last week at Esilalei Village in Monduli district, will cost over 601 million/- and would cover all 22 villages in the district, MPF officials said.

“Our objective is to empower Maasai community through traditional knowledge, cultural creativity and social investment,” MPF Director Emmanuel Ole Kokan said during the launching of the project.

According to Mr Kokan, they expect to be able to create investment that will provide cultural, social-economic opportunities and income diversity for Maasai sustainable livelihoods.

He further said that to start with the project would raise awareness on intellectual property rights to the Maasai community.

 “The project would also enable the Maasai community to collect all their cultural arts and historical information, in the process so that they can protect them in future” MPF boss explained.

EU head of delegation to Tanzania, Mr Filiberto Sebregondi said that the cultural creativity is a wealth if well developed could transform the lives of many in Tanzania.

According to the envoy the cultural creativity is also one of the most important sectors for entrepreneurship and creation of new companies.

Mr Sebregondi noted that in Tanzania, creative and cultural industries would only flourish if the right drivers are in place and are enabled to reach out to wider markets.

Monduli District commissioner, Jowika Kassunga commended the MPF for coming up with the right project at the right time, vowing to provide all necessary support for the project to be successful.

“I know some few people have been benefiting from the Maasai cultural creativity, but with the introduction of this project, I believe the Maasai people would start reaping from their own traditional innovation” Mr Kasunga said during the official opening of the project.

MPF board chairperson Lois Francis Pulei, said the project would involve the exchange programme to neighboring Kenya in order for Tanzanian Maasai to learn how they can turn their cultural creativity into a serious business.

“I’m a Tanzanian Maasai who married to A Kenyan husband, I want to make sure that my fellow benefit from your Kenyan counterpart who have gone far in terms of cultural creativity business” Ms Pulei explained.

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