Started in 2000 by Ndinini Kimesera Sikar, Maria Keheta, and Josephine Gabriel Simon, the Maasai Women Development Organization (MWEDO) envisions Masaii women in Tanzania to have an “Improved sustainable livelihood”. The three founders are Masaii women themselves and as a result of their own experiences, they conglomerated to form an organization that would have the capacity to support and encourage other relegated women to have access to education, health, and economic rights. The organization works to empower Maasai women via economic and social initiatives of increased accessibility towards education, health assistance, and enterprise development. Currently, the organization has a relationship with 5,000 grassroots women from Arusha and the Manyara regions of Tanzania.
In 2011, MWEDO started its Secondary School with more than 100 students attending. the central goal of the school is to allow girls to reach empowerment by means of education. With the ultimate goal of making education accessible to marginalized communities, the school boards most of its students because of the distance and remoteness of their homes to the school, which makes obtaining and education more of a reality.
An extension of its Secondary School program, MWEDO created the Education Access Program which provides adult women with the opportunity to obtain literacy. The women who are being targeted in this initiative did not have the ability to have access to formal education as children. The Adult Literacy Education has evolved into a pivotal empowerment tool for the women as they learn more about leadership skills. The organization hopes that as a result of this program, women will be able to contribute into the decision making skills of their own lives and demonstrate their demands to the local and national government.
In addition to their focus on education as a tool for empowerment, MWEDO also works to help women gain knowledge and become aware of maternal health, HIV and AIDS, as well as prevention and care. Maasai women and girls are more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS infections due to lack of information, knowledge including women disempowerment. MWEDO has therefore worked in this area to raise awareness through information dissemination and empowered women in the fight against HIV and AIDS infections.It has successfully been implementing HIV/AIDS Awareness, Prevention, Care and Nutrition activities since 2003, MWEDO works with a team of community volunteers who complement our efforts in different communities
By means of raising awareness of health, education, and economic right, the Maasai Women Development Organization continues to promote these vital attributes so that their mission of female empowerment can be fulfilled to all Maasai women in Tanzania.