Martin Kariongi Ole Sanago


IOPA is a hybrid social organization that operates in Northern Tanzania to facilitate, direct and shape the social and economic transition of pastoral peoples from subsistence economy to a long term sustainable economy.

Focus: Economic Development, Education, Water and Energy, Environment, Media, Human Rights
Geographic Area of Impact: Tanzania
Model: Leveraged Non-Profit
Number of Direct Beneficiaries: 46,789 (2013)
Annual Budget: USD $ 1 million (2013)
Percentage Earned Revenue: 15% (2013)

Covering much of Northern Tanzania and southern Kenya, the Maasai people live in villages of 180 or 260 families totaling between 850,000 and 1,240,000 people. Most of them lack access to formal education, healthcare, and other basic services. The majority are pastoralists - they herd goats and cattle. Cattle play a central role in the life of the Maasai since it represents food and power. Like some other tribal groups in East Africa and many around the world, the Maasai are seen and treated by many of their non-Maasai neighbours as less than human or as primitive societies. Their land and natural resource have been manipulated as it seen as a free land and the resources, which don’t have knowledgeable people/community to invest in. Their perceived primitivism has exposed them to oppressive actions on the parts of governments and religious groups that have tried both to force settlement and force the adoption of Western values and beliefs.

Innovation and Activities
IOPA facilitates transformation and diversification of the economic system of the Maasai through social business, social entrepreneurship and innovation - through radio programs, roundtable discussion, and festivals, the Institute prepares a fertile ground for self-examination and collective action. On the economic side, it also helps villages both diversify the pastoral economics base and meet their needs in existing local market needs. Livestock production, sector development and natural resources management are fundamental to this economic empowerment of the Maasai people. IOPA has established social businesses around each component of the Masai production value chain, creating wealth and reducing poverty in these pastoral rural communities.

The Institute also teaches the Maasai veterinary services and techniques and sensitizes them about the use of both modern and traditional veterinary medicine. This has led to the creation of four veterinary suppliers and three Veterinary Diagnostic/Investigative centres in pastoralist areas. As a result of these vaccination campaigns, pastoralists have begun to use modern treatments and methods of livestock management, allowing animals to live healthier, longer, more productive lives. As a result they will produce more milk and meat products both for local consumption and for the markets. This will enable the Maasai households to stabilize and grow economically therefore reducing poverty amongst these pastoral communities.

The Entrepreneur
Martin Kariongi Ole Sanago was born and raised in Maasai Steppes/plains of northern Tanzania. Martin has extensive experience in establishing grassroots organizations alongside pioneering social entrepreneurship and community business ventures for the Maasai people’s economic empowerment. He was nominated as an Ashoka Fellow in 2003 and in 2006 he was awarded the Quality World Wide Community Award by Columbia University. Martin was educated in Republic of Ireland German and United Kingdom. He has Master of Science in Community Development and other varies academic certificates.