Crystal holds a Ph.D. in African Studies from the University of Edinburgh, and now runs a community based non-profit trust in the Maasai Mara, Kenya called The Maa Trust, whose goal is to increase the benefits that communities receive from wildlife conservation. Focusing on women and children, and a large component of this is seeking ways to address human rights abuses. In its area of operation, 85% of girls are still forced to undergo female genital mutilation, and 90% of girls are married below the age of 18. Many girls are also sexually abused and impregnated as young as 10 years old. The Maa Trust’s youth programme is working to educate communities about the consequences of these socio-cultural vices.
Maasai women also face a multitude of human rights issues. Culturally, they were not permitted to own assets or land and when their husbands died, and the assets - including the wives - were passed to his brother. The Maa Trust is working to empower women through enterprise so that they can earn their own income and spend this in a way that will benefit their family. Whilst the women are working, the trust also coordinates educational workshops to educate them about their rights.