After three years of hard work and dedication, the Community Art Space (CAS) - a project implemented by UNESCO Dar es Salaam Office and co-funded by the European Union and UNESCO - was opened in a colourful ceremony celebrating the Maasai diverse culture.
It is the first centre of its kind in Tanzania, aimed at promoting Maasai intangible and tangible cultural heritage linked to the promotion of crafts as a creative industry.
The opening was done by the Arusha Regional Commissioner, Hon. Mrisho Gambo and witnessed by the UNESCO Representative, Mrs Zulmira Rodrigues, Deputy PS of the Ministry of Information, Culture, Arts and Sports, the EU Head of Section, Economic and Governance (Mr. Olivier Coupleux) representing the main donor, the Ambassador of Switzerland to Tanzania and many more regional and district officials.
In addition hundreds of guests and villagers from Ololosokwan and the neighbourhood, took part to celebrate this important facility.
The CAS will allow the Maasai communities to finally significantly benefit directly of the influx of tourists to the World Heritage Sites of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the Serengeti National Park, and at the same time allow preservation and development of the Maasai culture. It will provide a platform for the Maasai community in Ngorongoro District to develop small-scale business, improve the economic and social wellbeing of mostly the women and facilitate access to wider markets in the northern safari circuit through development of cultural tourism. The intervention focuses on refining traditional crafts skills and local products for the tourist market and utilization of digital learning materials for entrepreneurial skill development. The CAS is made up of women's production workshops in leather, horn and beads crafts, curio shop, information centre, museum, community hall, Maasai Boma and cafeteria.
It is also expected that Community Art Space will help the Maasai community to celebrate their identity, share their stories, and improve their heritage and history.
The event was accompanied with a performance of Maasai warrior dancers, showcasing their beautiful culture.