MSU Professor To Help Maasai Community in Kenya with Agriculture
A Missouri State University professor of agriculture has received a fellowship in Kenya, where he will work with other professors teaching courses that will train the Maasai community on new ways to use agriculture.
The Maasai ethnic group in Kenya, known around the world for their traditional spears and bright clothing, have long lived off livestock like cattle.
But with new urban growth, Dr. Benjamin Onyango, a professor of agriculture at MSU, thinks the Maasai could really benefit from producing some high value crops.
“I know it’s a tall order," Onyango said. "But I want to sit down with the community, through focus groups, so that we can identify what is a priority in terms of what they can be trained on.”
Onyango's fellowship through The Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program will let him work with professors at the Kenya Assemblies of God EAST University in Nairobi to develop new curricula.
He says the Maasai's dependency on livestock carries more risk than crops would. For example, one drought could wipe out an entire community’s livestock. But the sale of crops could sustain a small family for a year.
Onyango hopes to travel for the fellowship in the next few months.