The Will To Learn: Education for the Maasai of Laikipia

Filmed in Laikipia North, Kenya where a small NGO called Education Is Power works to improve access to effective education for Africa’s future leaders. The video shines a light on how important education is to young Maasai people from this remote community. Education Is Power’s philosophy is to “empower one who can empower others.”

Background to the Film

Released in September 2016, the captivating new film “The Will To Learn” promotes Education Is Power’s work in Kenya through the eyes of local Maasai people. Creator of the film Adam Schurman, is a budding professional filmmaker from Toronto. Adam couldn’t help but become connected to Education Is Power’s work in Kenya thanks to a nice twist of fate. Firstly, Adam participated in the Canada World Youth (CWY) exchange program in 2012 in Kimende, Kenya which is the same community where Education Is Power bases its Kenyan operations through partner Kijabe Environment Volunteers (KENVO). It turned out that Adam shared some mutual Kenyan friends with EIP founder Dave Cuddy since they both frequent the Mama Wakang’u household whenever they visit Kenya even though the two of them never met before. Fortunately, another mutual friend of two named Lucas Karn who met Dave through tree planting work in Alberta brought Adam and Dave together to produce “The Will To Learn”.

Adam adjusts his camera for a shot in Laikipia North with EIP student Juliet Nyausi

Even though Adam and Lucas both participated in the Canada World Youth program in Kenya, they had never been to the remote Maasai region of Laikipia North where the film takes place. Education Is Power (EIP) has been working in Laikipia North since 2009, enabling many young people to go to school there, as well as supporting primary school teachers and other community programs. Lucas informed Dave about his and Adam’s trip to Kenya and offered to lend a hand to Education Is Power, noting that Adam had just recently finished film school and was looking for a new filming project while in Kenya. Since the educational challenges are especially difficult in Laikipia North, and furthermore the traditional heritage of the Maasai can sometimes be at conflict with education, especially for girls, it was decided that Laikpia North was the place to film and shed more light on these issues.

Left to Right: Adam Shurman, Lucas Karn, and EIP representative Alex Nasioki in Laikipia, Kenya

Adam and Lucas’s new Massai host family in Laikipia was a 250km journey North of Kimende, involving some seriously bone rattling roads over wild savannah where elephant herds are the main threat to stopping traffic! Here, Adam and Lucas would base their filming operations out of a very welcoming Maasai home near EIP partner Lokusero Primary School. The two would make many friends and become connected to the community, helping to set the way for future EIP volunteers wishing to travel to Laikipia North and support local teachers, students and other EIP initiatives. At just eight and half minutes long, the film captures an important story shown through the lens of local Maasai, that traditional Maasai’s views are changing to embrace education as a means for better livelihoods; while young Maasai, and especially females, see education as the key to a better future. Watch the film and see for yourself how these young Maasai have an incredible will to learn.

Adam Schurman with EIP Co-founder Dave Cuddy when they both finally met in Victoria, BC