They have to take their rich and muchloved culture nationally and internationally as a rare opportunity that could completely reshape their lives for better, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children (Community Development), Dr John Jingu said over the weekend.
Dr Jingu told women entrepreneurs at Nkait Ward in Babati District that they are in a pole position to have substantial increased income.
According to the PS there are so many tourists who are eager to see the Maasai, learn of their culture as well as buy some goods from them, such as clothes, bracelets and many others that Maasai can produce.
One of the groups that he toured is Ereto in Minjingu village.
Dr Jingu was of the opinion that given the fact that Maasai communities are surrounded with a lot of opportunities, including their culture that is different from other tribes in the country hence attractive for people to learn, it was then within their reach to make their lives better.
Apart from coming in the country to see tourist attractions such as national parks and conserved areas such as Ngorongoro Crater, some tourists like to tour Maasai villages for cultural tourism, whereby they get sung by the Maasai group and are always paid due to nobility of the tribe.
The Maasai culture is renowned for its music and dance, in which a leader (known as the olaranyani) sings the melody while others sing polyphonic harmony on call-and-response vocals and make guttural throatsinging sounds to provide rhythmic syncopation.
Dr Jingu said the Maasai culture is being talked about in many countries, so that should be taken as a source of revenue to the tribesmen and women.
Sadly, Dr Jingu said the opportunity has not been tapped well enough, urging leaders to raise awareness among the communities and go forth in promoting the culture in line with what some institutions and organisations do in promoting national parks and other attractions that the country is endowed with.
“People from many nations of the world travel to Tanzania for different purposes, one of them learning our cultures, and one that most of them are interested at is Maasai Culture. Why not then tap that opportunity and make it as a source of revenue? A lot has got to be done by you (Maasai) in this and it is for your benefit,” said the PS.
He called upon them to improve the quality of goods they produce culturally so that they are accepted in the international market.
By doing that, there will be more demand for such goods and that means prices going up, individuals making money and the government gets its right share.
The PS urged the Small Industries Development Organisation (SIDO) and others of the sort to support such Maasai groups so that they come up with improved goods and broaden the market scope.
Babati District Council Executive Director, Mr John Nchimbi assured Dr Jingu that his office will work hand in hand with the Maasai, including extending loans on a monthly basis to women entrepreneur groups.
In the first quarter of the financial year 2020/2021 the district issued 117m/- to women groups.
Ereto Group member, Ms Jesca Kipara, thanked the government for the loans extended to them, saying that with goods production and sales, their families get their basic needs, such as food, medical services, education and clothing.