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On 280,000 acres of African plains in Kenya, the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust (MWCT) works to protect more than 1,000 species of wildlife including giraffes, lions, and rhinos, and also a thriving community of more than 7,000 indigenous people called Maasai.
Illustration by Jessica De Jesus
Helping to preserve the balance between man and nature, the MWCT funds three major initiatives to keep the community strong: conservation, health, and education.
Its funds go directly towards helping the Maasai pay for community health clinics and a doctor; provide books and funding for 20 primary schools in the area for children; and protect their unique African wildlife and habitat for all to enjoy.
Read more about these initiatives here.
Edward Norton’s face is instantly recognizable thanks to his career in movies but you may not be aware that he’s currently the president of the U.S. arm of the MWCT.
Norton became involved in the Trust a decade ago after visiting its eco-lodge for visitors, Campi ya Kanzi, as a guest. He developed a friendship with its founder, Luca Belpietro. Impressed by the nonprofit’s dedication to environmental protection, he agreed to head up the U.S. office a few years ago.
Norton’s MWCT page on Crowdrise has raised more than $11,000 so far, and the donations keep rolling in.
Read more about Norton's work with the Maasai here.
Italian-born, but Kenyan by choice, Luca Belpietro first visited Africa with his father as a small child. He never forgot his love for Africa and in 1996, he left the world of financial consulting and followed his heart to Kenya. He and his wife Antonella Bonomi are the founders and owners of Campi ya Kanzi, the Maasai community eco-lodge, and helped found the MWCT.
Read an interview with Belpietro here.
Sixteen guests at a time can stay at the luxury tented lodgings at Campi ya Kanzi, located on 400-square miles of Maasai-owned land. More than just a luxe resort for relaxing, it’s also a community venture. The Maasai own the eco-lodge and help Luca Belpietro and Antonella Bonomi run the place. So when you’re out looking for cheetahs and fringed ear oryx (a type of antelope), you’ll be walking through pristine wilderness led by local trackers who can show you the lay of the land from an insider’s view.
Read more about Campi ya Kanzi and how you can help the MWCT here.