BEHIND THE STARTING GUN
In 2008, the cultural “fathers” of the new warrior generation asked Big Life Foundation to help them eliminate lion hunting from the Maasai culture.
In response, Big Life partnered with the Maasai of Amboseli/Tsavo to conceive and raise the funding for this first-ever Maasai Olympics, part of the larger initiative to help to shift the attitudes of the Maasai toward a commitment to wildlife and habitat conservation as a preferred way of life in the 21st century.
This larger initiative incorporates Big Life’s warrior conservation project, Menye Layiok initiated in 2011, consisting of two parts:
“There will always be lions?”, a film produced exclusively for this project, is central to the education program. Following its showing, discussion and teaching around the film’s two major themes: lion killing is no longer culturally acceptable and must stop now, as must the killing of elephants and all wildlife species; and failure to follow the “path of conservation” and reap its economic benefits will result in an unsustainable future of the Maasai people. Their noble way of life, traditional land, and ancient culture will be lost.
Three levels of competition: local, regional and ecosystem-wide.
- Local level : the warriors receive basic sports training in the six events and compete for selection to one of four teams across the Amboseli-Tsavo ecosystem. Each will represent a warrior manyatta (village) that will host in aggregate 4000+ young men during their 12 to 15 years of warriorhood.
- Regional level : each team will compete in organized competitions against the other three manyattas of the ecosystem.
- Ecosystem-wide event : Olympics Day, will take place at the end of the year before national and international media, celebrities, government officials, friends, family, and tourists. The four manyattas will compete for event medals and prizes, and for the overall winners a trophy and prized bull.
**The Maasai Olympics is only possible thanks to the contributions of all of our partners & sponsors.
WHAT ABOUT THE GIRLS?
As girls are often the motivators behind warriors wanting to hunt lion, they are also potential conservation advocates. Therefore the inclusion of girls in the education phase – and the inclusion of two competitions for girls on Olympics Day – are considered key components of this conservation project.