The Initiative

The Maasai Mara Science and Development Initiative (MMSDI) is an African-European public-private partnership founded in 2014 by a local community in the Maasai Mara, universities in Kenya, Denmark and Germany and a private company. Governmental institutions are supporting the initiative through the High Level Advisory Board.

The aim of the partnership is to develop initiatives with a clear goal:

  • To contribute to conserving the Maasai Mara ecosystem, its rich wildlife and culture through interdisciplinary research and development initiatives.

Why is research important?

Conservation interventions and management strategies are rarely based on evidence and research based knowledge. This is widely recognised as a key weakness in conservation development.

The Maasai Mara Science and Development Initiative wants to develop a new research based kind of conservation in the Maasai Mara. And if the model works here, maybe it can work in other conservation activities around the world.

Conservation is a mix of complex and interconnected challenges that requires an interdisciplinary and systemic approach. Solutions will require knowledge and methods from many disciplines. The members of the Founding Group represent a diverse selection of competentes and research networks, enabling us to analyze the challenges from many perspectives and propose new solutions.

We are therefore aiming at creating solutions across disciplines and sectors in a unique way that will bring about new, relevant, efficient and effective answers in close cooperation with relevant stakeholders.

We intend to work closely together with the local population, conservancies, NGO´s, governmental institutions and others, who are doing an important effort to save the Maasai Mara ecosystem. Many of these stakeholders are already part of our network.

Our growing network of Kenyan and international researchers is ready to contribute.

The process

We started up this journey two years ago. The founding group is highly committed to the cause and has already contributed with many in-kind resources.

  • December 2014: Founding group meeting at Karen Blixen Camp, Mara North, Kenya
  • April 21-23, 2015: Summit at Maasai Mara University
  • April 24-25, 2015: Research strategy workshop, Karen Blixen Camp, Mara North, Kenya
  • October 2015: Launch of report Maasai Mara – the challenges of a world unique ecosystem 
  • Catalogue with 30 research project proposals ready
  • November 23-24, 2015: Strategy workshop, Aarhus University, Denmark
  • January 2016: First meeting with High Level Advisory Board at University of Nairobi
  • January 2016: First research team field trip to Maasai Mara: Oral Diseases and Infant Oral Mutilation in the Population of Masai Mara
  • November 2016: Second interdisciplinary field trip, seminar with stakeholders
  • January 2017: First scientific publication “Fencing bodes a rapid collapse of the unique Greater Mara ecosystem”, has just been published in  Scientific Reports.
  • March 2017: Presentation of Fencing research result for Kenyan political stakeholders at Green Growth Learning Forum 
  • February 2018: Interdisciplinary field trip, stakeholder seminar