MGRC ecoVillage: Our future for sustainability, development, and growth.
Our original rental facility and location had significant shortcomings. The building was too small for 58 girls, the land did not support our sustainable food projects, and the owner of the site would not give us the flexibility we needed to operate in a safe and secure way.
Our plan is to build a sustainable ecoVillage on our own land. We purchased 15 acres in Karatu to build new facilities that align with our mission and sustainable vision.
Our new ecoVillage will include living quarters for approximately 100 young girls, a pre-school, vocational training area, dining hall, volunteer living quarters, livestock barns and gardens for sustainable farming.
We are not creating orphanages, we are creating a series of family homes where vulnerable, at-risk Maasai girls are loved and raised by Tanzanian ‘house mothers’. By forming family units we are able to recreate a community environment that is focused on nurturing, educating, and raising the girls.
MGRC ecoVillage land hilltop view
MGRC ecoVillage Plan
Aspirations for ecoVillage masterplan
The following key themes outline aspirations in relation to creating a well-established home and a place of nuture, care, learning and support for the girls.
A Welcoming, Permanent Family Environment The center and the planning of MGRC should enable a loving, welcoming, inclusive, safe and family environment that supports the growth and development of family values and a feeling of belonging for the girls.
MGRC is a community The MGRC is a place that creates a community in itself, it delivers opportunities through this togetherness and also through the external opportunities it provides. Integrating facilities such as a vocational skills training center and resource centers can foster greater community involvement and participation and assist the center to develop partnerships with people, organizations, elders and local services that further support the futures for the girls.
All of life learning Learning is the core focus for developing a center of strength. The masterplan ecoVillage design will be centered on providing supportive family environments that develop the whole person — intellectually, emotionally, socially, physically and culturally.
The new MGRC ecoVillage development objectives
Provide well configured built form that relates to the site and surrounding context, and provides a good network of relationship between the different uses accomodated onsite; living (homes), preschool, administrative, agricultural, security, storage, and varied uses; dining/events.
Well considered entry and access are considered and provide a good interface between the entry to the facility and the privacy of the homes.
Circulation around and through the site is designed to support a secure functioning of the center, both its interior and outdoor spaces, and provide for good connections between buildings.
Thresholds are considered, and more public uses are located to the front of the site closer to the entry, keeping the homes more embedded into the center of the site providing some spatial separation from the more public parts of the facility.
Built form and layout should create character and enable place-making that enhance conviviality and sociability, as well as function, security and privacy.
The buildings are arranged to support best solar orientation and light into buildings – energy efficiency and smart design practices are considered where relevant. Use local materials and construction methods and that they are constructed for optimum durability and resilience.
MGRC ecoVillage is a living and learning center for a regenerative future, a vibrant place of continuous exploration. It will include living quarters for approximately 100 girls, a pre-school, vocational training area, dining hall, multipurpose hall, volunteer living quarters, livestock barns and gardens for sustainable farming.
The buildings are arranged to support best solar orientation and light into buildings – energy efficiency and smart design practices. We will use local materials and construction methods for optimum durability and resilience.
*inspirational drawing of ecoVillage.
Sustainable ecoFarming and live stock are instrumental in MGRC's mission, child nutrition and development, food security and fighting poverty. We have 6 zero-grazing dairy cows, layer chickens, and a vegetable garden.
Our MGRC ecoFarm will include, an aquaponics farming system to better handle drought conditions, a bio gas system to fuel our facilities, a livestock barn for our zero-grazing dairy cows, layer and broiler chicken coops, and vegetable and fruit gardens.
We continue to be committed to a sustainable future and to improving the social, economic and environmental well being of our community.
The MGRC ecoLodges will be used as part of a new social enterprise operated by MGRC, that provides short stay accommodation for visiting volunteers, family stays, and medium term professional placements for teachers and nurses.
The funds generated by the ecoLodges would provide an ongoing income stream that will help sustain our operational costs associated with caring for 100 girls.
The ecoVillage lodges will provide local, hospitality based employment and introduce a new‘impact tourism’industry to the Karatu district and region.
*inspirational drawing of ecoLodge.
MGRC ecoVillage Impact of Investment
MGRC ecoVillage community impact
The impact of this investment will have a ripple effect beyond just the MGRC girls that benefit from the sponsorships.
Additional benefits will be:
Provide local, hospitality based employment.
Introduce a new ‘impact tourism’ industry to the region.
Provide unique training and upskilling opportunities within our skills training center.
Provide a unique cross cultural learning experience.