Public and Community Engagement
The AKU Faculty of Arts and Sciences, East Africa, is a proud supporter of the Il Ngwesi project. The Il Ngwesi Group Ranch is an international role model of community-based land and wildlife conservation. Il Ngwesi is an eco-lodge owned and run by the members of Kenya’s Maasai community. It is situated in the breathtaking savannah north of Mount Kenya and built from local materials.
Recently, FAS EA has helped to facilitate the refinement of the Il Ngwesi menu to incorporate more locally-sourced produce. First, the community was connected with a team of FAS scientist, Dr. Alex Awiti and Prof. Onesmo oleMoiyoi, who helped identify an array of locally-grown edible plants. Then FAS facilitated a conversation between Karim Lakhani, a world-renowned chef who grew up in the region, and the Il Ngwesi owners on how to present these new plants to attune guests’ gastronomic experience at the lodge with its location.
Now, young Maasai chefs, waiters and managers combine biodiversity with tasty food and gracious service emerging from their traditions.