The Mara Guides Association (MGA) is the first labor association organised by Maasai people in Kenya. The MGA is comprised of Maasai tour guides who live and work in the Maasai Mara, which is part of the Serengeti ecosystem and among the most famous tourist destinations on the continent of Africa. Our community, the Maasai community, is well known for our pastoralism, which has ensured the survival of thousands of species of Africa’s most famous wildlife, upon which the tourism industry rests.
We have organised the MGA to increase our economic opportunity in the tourism industry that profits from Maasailand and to unite as workers around our rights to fair compensation. The MGA responds to the challenges we face beyond the workplace, which means the MGA is involved with the most pressing issues to the Maasai community: the process of land privatisation underway in our lands, our cultural survival and educational opportunities, and the conservation of East African wildlife.
The MGA supports the rights of all workers in the Mara. We recognise the hard work of Maasai women’s beading cooperatives and our role as guides to support their enterprises so that they are fairly compensated and treated with dignity. Our role as Guides is to help secure business so that we may share increased opportunity with other members of our community, including women’s cooperatives and Maasai youth.
As Maasai Tour Guides, we are positioned on the frontline of conservation in the Mara and seek collaboration with other conservation entities. The conservation of wildlife is a core value of the MGA and is essential to our livelihoods as residents and workers of the Mara. We take a firm stand against off-road driving to the degradation of wildlife habitats, poaching, and all forms of wildlife abuse in the Maasai Mara.
We see hope in the MGA and opportunities in the tourism sector to allow us to stay on our land and to practice our culture. We are working to forge a future in Maasailand where all workers are organised to be fairly compensated; where Maasai people are proportionately represented in the industry that profits from our land; where we have a say in the government and conservation decisions that affect the Maasai Mara; and where Maasai communities control the representation of our culture.