Discover Aspinal of London

Guest Edit: Rosa Escandell, President of ADCAM

Having founded ADCAM 10 years ago, the work Rosa's team have done with the help of William Ole Pere Kikanae, a Maasai leader has changed the lives of so many in Kenya. We find out what impact ADCAM make on the local communities.

What is AdCam & how did it start?

ADCAM - Development Association, Microcredit and Alternative Trade it's an international NGO established in 2005 to develop cooperation programs, sustainable development, microfinance, fair trade, education and gender equality.

ADCAM looks for communities and/or cooperatives in underdeveloped countries, with sufficient production potential to help them get the training and marketing opening channels for their products. ADCAM certifies that these partners meet and respect the values and criteria for ethical and sustainable development and encourages a fair market according to the labor expended. At the same time, gives great importance to advocacy and media coverage, organizing national and international cultural and business meetings, artistic performances and exhibitions.

Our main project is carried out in Kenya with the Maasai Community, considered among the 31 most endangered tribes in the planet, according to the UN Declaration in 2007.

Our collaboration with them began when we met William Ole Pere Kikanae a Maasai leader who had been traveling to Nairobi during ten years, looking for support for their community. His dream was to start a school and give education to the children and support women so they could improve their income, helping with this to all the community. His persistence and advanced vision for improving their community convinced us that we should help them.

How does education look for the young people in Africa?

Education is a right that unfortunately in many parts of Africa, especially in remote areas is not accessible to all children. In order to go to school, children have to walk along the Maasai Mara for Kms with the danger it means because the wild animals.

This causes an unbridgeable gap in the potential development of these communities in an increasingly globalized and competitive world, depriving these children to have a better chance for development in their lives.

What are ADCAM’s priorities?

We specialize in education, women and microcredit, providing support for productive cooperatives in developing countries, training women in a profession, giving them a job opportunity and establishing marketing channels with northern countries, ensuring the project sustainability.

We also give special attention to education, seeking to promote actions in this regard to work from the root, the most disadvantaged populations difficulties, when it comes to develop and evolve according to their own beliefs.

But our top priority is to achieve the projects sustainability that we undertake. Therefore, we work directly with the community, being themselves the responsible for managing projects and decide how they want to work for their own development.

How has AdCam improved the lives of the Maasai Mara?

During all this years we have improved in different ways:

Education: We have started a primary school, which is growing gradually, offering education to the children in the area.

Women and income activities: We work with a maasai artisans cooperative, with more than 1000 women distributed along the Maasai Mara area in Kenya and Tanzania's border. We have formed them and initiated a big scale handicraft production work, thanks to an agreement signed with a very important shoes company, since 2010. The artisans, for 5 months a year, make ethnic motives on leather pieces in order to make maasai sandals, market each summer by the company leading distributors internationally. In this way we contribute to sustainability, in addition slowing the forced exodus to which they are being submitted in recent years, favoring their culture and customs preservation.

Self sustainability: Thinking about the project's sustainability we have started a solidary touristic Camp, that gives a unique opportunity to individuals and companies to meet and know the Maasai community, this fascinating corner of the world, offering all the services as any lodge (safaris, tents equipped with European bathrooms and maintenance ...), plus the ability to learn about the project, and know that the benefit will revert directly to the community life improvement.

What are the values of the Massai Tribe?

The Maasai are a tribe living since ancient time in the African Savannah, surrounded by nature and wildlife. They are peaceful and traditionally nomadic people, who take care of their cows and trade.

They have a great community sense, distributing roles among all members to ensure their survival. The Maasai warriors are responsible and prepare physically and psychologically for years to protect the community from any threat, specially from the most dangerous animals in the savannah. They are welcoming and hospitable to visitors and are proud of their culture, based on respect for nature and the elders care.

The Maasai is a tribe that is very proud of their culture, traditions and the environment where they live.

Decorative accessories used in warfare and what cultural impact does that have?

Decorative accessories are very important in the Maasai culture, both men and women use daily necklaces, bracelets, anklets, fabrics sewn with beads. All this are made with beads, glass pieces and leather mainly. All this products are done in an artisanal way and by women.

Also these types of decoration have been applied to different objects for use on other needs such as drink coasters, saves dishes, cutlery holders, etc ... these objects are focused mainly for selling them to tourists and different stores as sales provides them an important income for the community.

ADCAM has a training workshop for the development, the different decoration ways and elaboration in the use of these materials and so increase their own economy. We would also want to introduce these decorative motives in the fashion world as we do right now with the sandals.

What differences will the money Aspinal and Olivia raise make?

With the money from Aspinal and Olivia Palermo we plan to complete our school construction so eventually cover all primary education eight grades, and other infrastructures needed for the school: furniture, finishing a new residence , school materials, etc.

How did you affiliation with Olivia Palermo come about?

Olivia Palermo acted as godmother in one of the sandals collections produced by Maasai women, lending her image to promote the project worldwide. That allowed Olivia traveled to the Maasai Mara and knew firsthand our project, establishing a close relationship with women and William Ole Pere Kikanae.

Since then, she has become our best ambassador, relying on multiple occasions and showing special consideration for the ADCAM work being done with the Maasai community.

Undoubtedly, Olivia has proved to be an amazing human being, sensitive to the situation of the most needed and earning the affection and sincere gratitude from all of us and the Maasai community.

Our World of Style and Colour