Safeguarding of Enkipaata, Eunoto and Olng'esherr, three male rites of passage of the Maasai community

  • Financial assistance:
    • US$ 144,430 granted in 2016
  • Dates of implementation:
    • 17/02/2017 - 12/02/2020
  • Documents:

Benefitting country(ies): Kenya


The three male rites of the Maasai community represent stages in the preparation of boys for adulthood – a process called moranism that involves the transmission of indigenous knowledge, including Maasai rituals, legends, traditions and life skills. Enkipaata is the name for the induction ceremony, Eunoto heralds the shaving of initiates before their seclusion in the bush for training, and Olng’esherr is the meat eating ceremony marking the end of moranism and the beginning of eldership. The rites involve the whole community and feature songs, folktales, proverbs, riddles and events, thus providing the Maasai community with a sense of cultural identity and continuity. However, traditional modes of transmission have greatly weakened since the beginning of the 1980s as a result of reduced frequency and participation, with an increasing number of boys remaining at home and occupied with formal education. To safeguard the practice, the project organised a series of workshops to promote community based inventorying of Maasai intangible cultural heritage as well as community meetings between elders and youth to empower them with knowledge and skills relevant for enactment and preservation of the tradition, mentor youth on its importance, undertake a mapping exercise to protect the associated natural spaces and places, and research and document the practice for future transmission.

News and activities:

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