The famous Maasai Cricket Warriors will be touring the UK this summer, raising awareness of gender inequality, the End FGM Campaign, hate crime, modern slavery, conservation and promoting their culture and country, Kenya.
Hosted by Mojatu Foundation and Nottingham Trent University, the Warriors will be visiting between 15 August and 2 September 2018 to take part in activities such as cricket matches and festivals, fashion shows and music, a conference, meet and greets, a film screening, Q&A sessions and cultural events like the grand African Farm Festival to be held on 18th August in Nottingham.
Formed in 2007, the Maasai Cricket Warriors team use their fame and love for cricket as an inspiration to educate communities on social justice and give young people a sense of belonging, support and hope through their community and school visits.
The warriors play in their traditional clothing, bloodred ‘shukas’ and bright, beaded necklaces, symbolising the importance of maintaining and promoting the positive aspects of their culture. They are famous for drawing on their skills of spear throwing and using a shield to bat and bowl.
They have played internationally, including in the UK, Australia and South Africa and have been instrumental in promoting gender equality, awareness of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), forced marriage, HIV & AIDs and conservation work including the protection of the extinct White Rhino.
The Maasai people of East Africa are globally famous for their beautiful culture, attire, striking physical features and a strong desire to maintain their traditional way of life. However, in a strongly male dominated community like the Maasai, there are some serious social injustices faced by girls and women.
In 2016 Mojatu Foundation was instrumental in getting Nottingham City to declare Zero Tolerance to FGM- the first city in UK and Europe to officially do so. This led to other invitations to present Nottingham’s work outside the UK including at the United Nations in Vienna and Kenya. This tour will be instrumental for the End FGM campaign.
Valentine Nkoyo, the lead tour organiser and CEO of Mojatu Foundation said:
“It has been my dream for four years now to bring this team from my Maasai community to the UK for a series of activities, community events and to facilitate cultural exchange in the UK. We are very pleased that this is becoming a reality and we are very grateful to all our partners and sponsors. The team is really changing attitudes of male dominated communities to value girls’ and women’s rights while advocating for gender equality and we hope to have a legacy. This is a great moment not only for Kenyans but all communities”.
The Warriors will be staying in Nottingham Trent University accommodation and will be meeting staff and students at a Kenyan lunch in the University’s Global Lounge. Dr Jason Pandya-Wood, director of External Engagement and Strategic Partnerships at the School of Social Sciences, said:
“The Maasai Warriors are an inspirational team spreading a very important message. We’re honoured to be hosting them and supporting Mojatu Foundation with this influential tour.”
Veronica Pickering, the Chair of Mojatu Foundation and the Deputy Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire said:
“I am very excited about this special tour because of the very many opportunities it presents to communities, organisations and businesses. It has involved a lot of work to coordinate but we look forward to having as many people as possible getting involved. I am very grateful to the many supporters involved including Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire Sir John Peace, Nottingham Trent University and others”.
Sir John Peace, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire who is also supporting the tour said:
“I am very proud of Mojatu Foundation’s work. I am delighted that we will be able to host the Maasai Team at Belvoir Castle. This is a fantastic cultural exchange opportunity for us here in Nottinghamshire as we prepare for commonwealth celebrations across the city and county next year. I look forward to welcoming them”
Darren Bicknell, a former English Cricketer and CEO of the Belvoir Cricket and Countryside Trust will be hosting a special match and dinner for the tour at the Belvoir Castle. He said:
On behalf of the Belvoir Cricket & Countryside Trust we are delighted to be hosting the Duchess of Rutland XI v Maasai XI here at Belvoir Castle on Wednesday 29th August. It promises to be an amazing day and we are delighted to support a great cause.
Other partners involved include: The Kenya High Commission, Cavaliers and Carrington Cricket Club, Trent Bridge Cricket Club, The Kenya Nottinghamshire Welfare Association, Nottingham and Arnold Cricket Club, Tuntum Housing Association, Attenborough Cricket Club, Hyson Green Cultural Festival, Communities Inc, Farmeco Community Care Farm, Survivor Alliance, Fearless Youth Association amongst others.
To donate to support the cause, please follow this link- https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/valentine-nkoyo?utm_term=96Vp5Z7vD.