Maasai Girls Fund

No more child brides! No more female cutting!

Kinnelon, NJ   |


Our goal is the end of female genital cutting and child marriage, focusing on two Maasai communities in the Amboseli region of Kenya. In 2016, we gained the public agreement of local chiefs and elders to end cutting forever, by offering to pay all girls' school costs and do our best to assure the most basic needs of their communities - access to clean water, sanitation, and food security. As of 2020, we support the education of 47 girls. We have provided the villages with two 10,000 liter water tanks, 4 outhouses, 4 solar panels, solar lights, solar cookers, seven rented acres of farmland with organic seeds to grow, and emergency aid for relocation costs, food, medical emergencies, vital repairs, etc.

Ruling year info



Irene Mantell

Co Principal Officer

Mr. Paul Bernard Mantell

Main address

5 Cherry Tree Ln

Kinnelon, NJ 07405-2214 USA

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NTEE code info

Children's and Youth Services (P30)

Other Public Safety, Disaster Preparedness, and Relief N.E.C. (M99)

IRS filing requirement

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

We protect vulnerable girls from the unnesscary suffering and harm caused by genital cutting, while providing their home village with essential needs, like access to clean water, seeds and rented growing fields to fight food insecurity. BACKGROUND: Maasai girls are viewed and treated as livestock in their traditional, patriarchal culture: At the onset of menses, her genitals are cut to prevent her from experiencing intimate pleasure. After the cut, she is eligible to become a "child bride," forced to marry an older men in exchange for a 3 or 4 cows . A child bride typically lives her entire life as a serf. She's .expected to bear as many children as possible, and will experience on average 10 to 12 pregnancies, resulting in 6- 8 live births. Her large age difference with her spouse means she'll likely become a widow with many children and no means of support in her 30s. We have interfered with all of the above in one village and are working toward helping another nearby.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?


We pay all school costs for 47 girls from 2 Maasai villages in the Amboseli region of Kenya. We also provide basic and emergency help to the villages.

Population(s) Served

Thanks to a grant from Denville Sunrise Rotary Club, we were able to provide 200 long-lasting. re-usable "Period Hygiene kits," 100 taboo-busting, informative comic books, and a female hygiene and empowerment workshop for our students and all their classmates, in late 2019.

Population(s) Served

We rented 7 farmable acres for our villages, and thanks to a local New Jersey 4-H Club, were able to deliver thousands of organic seeds, produced in America, but suitable for the local climate in Amboseli. As a result, the community has no hunger issues this year (2020), unlike surrounding villages.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Our organization has aimed to fully and totally eliminate female cutting and forced child marriage in En'gong Narok village, by sending girls to the safety of school. There, they will learn basic skills and be treated as individuals with inherent dignity. Girls who are students are not cut and married.

Our secondary goal is to improve the harshest or most severe lack of basic living conditions in En'gong Narok as best as we can.

Our strategy is to influence and work with the local chief and village elders to create changes on the ground. We do this through:

A. OPEN DISCUSSION We Initiated sensitive, respectful and candid discussions with Chief Kelembu and Moses Saruni focusing on female cutting and child marriage and the harm of those practices. These discussions expanded all of our understanding about these practices and their implications for the future, Based on them, we offered to provide money for the girls' schooling in exchange for ending cutting and child marriage in the village,

B. FACE-TO-FACE MEETINGS We arranged a few meetings between Chief Kelembu Moses Saruni and chief Joseph Ole Tipanko, who leads a much larger and more prosperous community of 5000 Maasai several hours away from En'gong Narok. Chief Tipanko was educated by his wife about the realities and harm of female cutting, and he has since become an advocate for their elimination. Ole Tipanko inspired the En'Gong Narok leaders to change practices. He shared the strategies he used in his community reduce these practices, such as speaking directly to girls, using s schools to assure their safety, and addressing the inevitable resistance that often comes from change.

C. CONSISTENT COMMUNICATION We are in frequent touch with Kelembu and Saruni, speaking at least weekly, by Skype, and WhatsApp. In addition, we have arranged to have representatives from the US to visit the village each year to assess our progress. We traveled there and spent a week at the village in January 2019.

D. FUND-RAISING We hold 2 events a year and publish on-going social media and email appeals to our donor list, Our strategy is to engage each donor in a way that suits them best to encourage on-going donations, We also work to grow our list of donors who are committed to our goals sustaining a particular girl through school. We have several, so far.

E. INCLUSION We include our team in Kenya in all planning and projects. For example, the women of the village send us hand-made beadwork to sell in support their daughter's schooling.

F. Our local team documents our fund activity in the village with photos and other records, allowing us a thorough record of our activity in EN'Gong Narok village.

Our motto could be: We get a lot done with few resources.

The Maasai Girl's Fund is two small, dedicated teams, working together - one in the US and one in Africa. Both teams are unpaid and both are deeply committed to the goal. This year we are paying a $50 a month stipend to one of our African partners due to the amount of work he does being an intermediary between school, home village and funders.

The US team includes a master level social worker, and successful author, actor - an excellent communicator and experienced traveler.

The African team includes the village chief, Benson Kelembu, and Moses Saruni, a young man who was born in the village, and formerly taught pre-K classes there. He is now an elephant conservationist and researcher, working near the village, highly dedicated to our cause,

We could not do what we do without donors, however. Our first donor's were drawn from a social circle of family and friends, but we have grown and not have many contributors, including a house of worship and several Rotary clubs. Many of our donors have repeated contributions, and some have helped us to expand our capabilities.

ACCOMPLISHED SO FAR: Our connection with 2 small communities in Kenya has become transformative for all concerned. Happily, with our influence, Chief Kelembu of EngongNarok village and Chief Lebakuli of Natumuse village have both agreed to end female cutting and forced (polygamous) child marriage to much older men. This transformation was achieved by our promise to pay for the education of all girls in EnGongNarok, and 11 in Natumuse. We currently sponsor 47 girls, who will never be cut or married too young, without their own consent. They are well-treated, well-fed, and well-taught at highly-rated schools, growing in confidence and dignity, learning English and Swahili in addition to their native Maa, and will be better able to exercise agency over their futures.

While sending girls to school, we also made improvements in our 2 villages. We brought clean water to NgongNarok by connecting a nearby borehole to two 10000 liter storage tanks inside the village. We built a trough for their livestock and nearby wildlife. We also paid for another tank, as part of a catchment system in Natumuse. We paid for 4 outhouses in NgongNarok - their first sanitation - and 4 solar panels with batteries. We sponsored an anti-FGM soccer tournament for our village boys, complete with balls, nets and simple uniform tops. We purchased solar string lights to hang on the thorn fences that surround the village. These lights help keep predators away from the livestock at night. We also bought solar cookers, so that the women don't have to gather wood for hours and suffer from smoky indoor cooking fires.
Alas, much of the progress we have made since our 2016 founding was wiped away by the extreme flooding of Dec. in Amboseli. Only the solar lights and 10,000 liter tank remain. But since the pipes were destroyed the water must be purchased from trucks, Thankfully, since the flooding damage was widespread, the govt. offers water at a price the village can afford.

First, we are now rebuilding the destroyed outhouses, as our team on the ground requests. Second, we would like to provide village women with 1. a new means of cooking. Smoke from cooking in a small mud space is harmful to the villagers eyes and respiratory systems, and the cutting of large plants and trees for cooking fuel harms the environment. Solar cookers or clean burning propane are potential up-grades.
2. a means of producing income, such as the installation of a bee fence around the village thatwould serve 2 useful functions: a. bees discourage elephants, who sometimes crash the thorn fence, and b.It would give the women of the village a source of income through the sale of honey.

These future steps and the sustainability of our school sponsorships depend on our ability to attract new donor to our efforts.


Maasai Girls Fund

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


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Maasai Girls Fund

Board of directors
as of 6/26/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Dr. Irene Mantell

Board co-chair

Bernard Mantell

Kathleen Tabor, CPA

Ben Tabor

Amanda George

Leonard Klein

Paula Maliandi

Molly McKaughan

Ryan Forest

Stephanie Forest

Harriet Washton

Dorothy Huey

Teresa LaSala

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? No
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No