Our Field Representative Laata (above, in green) lives with his wife and children in the Maasai village of Gelai Bomba in northern Tanzania. The landscape is dry and rugged, making nutritious food and water scarce. Fortunately, with Laata’s personal knowledge of Maasai culture and his language skills – he’s fluent in Maa, Swahili, and English – he is playing a pivotal role in helping his community to achieve food security as they transition from a herder/nomadic lifestyle to a more settled life that includes farming as well as herding. Laata is a community health worker and is deeply committed to the holistic wellbeing of his community.

Laata with his wife and children

Laata was trained as a Strong Harvest Moringa Peer Educator in 2014 by Strong Harvest co-founders Rick and Jeri. They had met years before when Rick and Jeri were living and working in Tanzania.

Laata recalls, “On the training day, I recognized that the moringa tree has many significances in our life, so I decided to teach my extended family to use moringa in their daily life.”

Laata with a moringa sapling and SHI training manual

The traditional Maasai diet of milk and blood is severely lacking in the broad spectrum of vitamins and minerals that moringa easily provides. It is no surprise then that Laata reported many health problems in his family and community before they began eating moringa. He remembers, “I and my family and friends experienced health problems before using moringa. We suffered from malaria, chest pain, frequent flu, headaches, and coughing, but since beginning to use moringa our health is good, and we have stronger immune systems.”

Laata teaching at the local hospital

Laata at a community gathering

Laata continued to regularly share the knowledge of moringa with his community, and in January 2018, he became a Strong Harvest Field Rep.

He has witnessed many ways in which moringa has benefitted his community. Moringa has become part of the daily diet of many families and their livestock, improving all their health. Healthy animals are crucial for this herder society. Moringa has benefitted the local environment, helping to retain soil moisture, prevent desertification, and provide light shade for other crops. It has also provided a new source of income for families as the women create powder from the dried leaves to sell at their local market.

Laata wearing traditional Maasai clothing

This new income has allowed the women to form government-approved savings groups which act as self-funded microfinance banks for the community. The groups are funded by the money the women earn through selling moringa, goats, their beading work, and any other small business activities in which they participate. Laata helps the women organize and run these groups.

The women in these groups know what their communities most need and fund projects to meet those needs, such as ensuring access to affordable food and water, and promoting sanitation in their communities.

Laata’s wife, Midinge, with their rainwater tank

Laata teaching in the community of Armame

Laata teaching a family to plant moringa seeds

Laata is excited about the changes moringa is bringing to his community. He continues to witness an overall improvement in the quality of life for his people. He exclaimed, “Moringa is a wonderful tree and can be a suitable solution for many of our challenges!”

Laata is empowering the Maasai community in Tanzania!

Thank you to our supporters who make his work possible!

Rick and Jeri, and the Strong Harvest team

More from Tanzania:

Maasai Savings Group Water Project

Read how the Maasai women brought water to their homes for the first time!

Read our water project update!


Maasai Savings Group Maize Project

During a severe drought, a women’s savings group ensured that their community had affordable food.

Read about this fantastic project!