Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Kenya: Joint Mission Shares Maasai and Maori Geothermal Energy Experiences

The Sacred Nature of Geothermal Energy (Power Africa)

How Power Africa is Sharing Best Practices on Community Engagement Across Cultures and Continents

A young Maasai (left) and the headmistress of the KenGen-supported Olkaria School in RAPland (middle) perform a hongi (Maori greeting) with Dotty Raroa, Trustee of the Ngati Tahu Tribal Lands Trust in New Zealand. Embracing tribal rituals and traditions is a cornerstone of strong community engagement.
In the course of a year, Power Africa is supporting four exchange missions between KenGen senior leadership, Maasai representatives and their New Zealand counterparts.

During the first exchange mission to New Zealand, Kenyan representatives toured the Ohaaki geothermal station, a model site that combines power generation with flood mitigation infrastructure, a sacred thermal pool, and an internship program that opens career pathways for Maori youth in the energy sector. The terms of the project were negotiated over six months and enshrined in a memorandum of understanding between Contact Energy and Ngati Tahu, the local Maori tribe.

During the second exchange visit, New Zealand representatives toured the KenGen-supported RAPland community, a resettlement project with newly constructed homes, an elementary school and health clinic. As a result of dialogue during the visit, KenGen is now considering incorporating shared land ownership arrangements with the local Maasai communities. By the end of the exchange, KenGen plans to emerge with a state-of-the-art community engagement program that draws on New Zealand’s successes.

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