Violation of the Indigenous Rights of the Maasai
The infringements to the indigenous rights of the Maasai people have had a significant if not well publicised impact on the spread of HIV/AIDS among the community. The Maasai have been victims of land rights violations, environmental mismanagement, and forced evictions from their ancestral lands. This started with the Anglo-Maasai treaties of 1904 and 1911 which alienated Maasai lands and the same policies of alienations have been continued by the successive post-colonial regimes.
There also have been historical cases of violations and abuses of indigenous rights of the Maasai especially associated with the creation of game parks and game reserves. The Maasai, who from time immemorial have shared the habitat with wildlife, have been neglected and economically deprived only being treated as a secondary matter of concern in regard to tourism and conservation. Tourism has also brought about the commercialisation of the Maasai culture making the community more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS.
hiv/aids Maasailand Project
Whether in urban areas or in their traditional settlements, the Maasai are now facing increasing risk of HIV acquisition because of long-held cultural beliefs and practices that render them especially vulnerable. Maasai men who become HIV-infected when they seek work in the outside world can bring the virus back into their communities when they return. The Maasai have long been polygamous, and multiple partnerships are acceptable, especially for Maasai men. Specific traditional practices also expose the Maasai, especially young girls and boys, to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The risk is increased by their limited knowledge about HIV, including basic prevention.
The Maasai an indigenous tribe of semi-nomadic people inhabit the Maasailand the other target area of this project. The Maasai population in Kenya is estimated to be about 500,000. Maasailand is in the southern region of Kenya. The people are pastoralists. These are highly conservative people, with low literacy rate. The region consists of the larger Kajiado, Narok and Trans-mara districts. As a pastoralist community the Maasai are also found in Nakuru, Laikipia, Naivasha and Samburu. They are also to be found in coastal towns where they engage in tourism related activities.