Inside Eco-boma

A climate resilient model for Maasai steppe pastoralists

The ECOBOMA project is being implemented by Istituto Oikos in partnership with the Meru District Council and the Arusha District Council, the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) and Oikos East Africa. The project, which is funded by EuropeAid within the Grant GCCA Tanzania: Integrated Approaches for Climate Change Adaptation, was launched in April 2015 and will be running over 48 months, until March 2019.



The main goal of the project is to increase vulnerable Tanzanian communities’ capacity to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change and contribute to poverty reduction in rural areas. All the activities aim at improving livelihoods and resilience of the Maasai communities through the application of the “Eco-boma” model: a low cost, culturally acceptable replicable model of holistic solutions to the vulnerability of the pastoral systems.

The Eco-Boma concept

A boma is a single settlement composed by one or more houses protected in the same enclosure. Houses are traditionally built by women, and made of sticks, cow dung and thatched roofs. Recently some huts have iron sheet roofs. The boma is surrounded by a fence of thickets, thorns and thistle which provides the community with protection from wild animals. Maasai people typically build round shaped enclosures whilst Warusha people build square shaped enclosures.
The Eco-boma concept has been conceived to integrate sustainable solutions and sound instruments within the traditional boma and the surrounding areas to ultimately ensure a sustainable management of natural resources and capitalize the ecosystem services.



The project has been outlined in collaboration with the Maasai communities of the Wards of Oldonyosambu, Oldonyo Was and Uwiro Wards located in the Arusha and Meru Districts, in Northern Tanzania.
The main beneficiaries are 2000 families of pastoralists and agro-pastoralist living in about 250 boma; about 500 women and young pastoralists to learn new skills and innovative professions; 6000 children attending the 8 primary schools of the target area; local authorities at village and sub-village level, and traditional leaders; scientific journalists of national and local media.



Ecosystem services

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Micro Economies

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Institutional Capacity Building

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Knowledge Raising

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Project timeline
1st year
Rangelands baseline and water storage increased capacity.
Assess the ground conditions and construct/rehabilitate the water infrastructures, understand the ecological and socio-economic scenario and design appropriate trainings to be delivered afterwards.
2nd year
Establish a women cooperative for dry meat and leather production.
Delivery of trainings to 500 women and young pastoralists, establishment of a cooperative for slaughtering, meat preservation leather tanning technique, small scale farming of drought resistant cereals.
3rd year
Establish a Climate Centre of Knowledge and improve awareness.
Set up a Climate Change of knowledge to centralise information at the headquarters at the Arusha campus of the NM-AIST University, enhance awareness and communication on the subject.
4th year
Set up a functional Climate Change Unit and capacitate staff at Arusha and Meru Districts.
Establish a CC Unit, deliver trainings to the Districts’ technical staff, deliver trainings on monitoring of Climate Change hazards, revise village land use plans to include CC.