Ol Malo Trust is a charitable trust set up in response to the great hardships caused by the drought that ravaged Kenya between 1999-2001 - the country's worst drought in living memory. Whole regions were devastated by the disaster, but none more so than the dry, desert wilderness of Samburuland, where the Samburu lost most of their cattle and therefore the major part of their livelihood. Born and brought up in the neighbouring area of Laikipia, Julia Francombe found herself caught up in the situation. Initially she provided drought relief for the Samburu from her own resources and those of the family, but soon came to acknowledge that a fund-raising organisation was essential, and Ol Malo Designs and Ol Malo Trust were formed.
Ol Malo Designs is a Limited Company which was set up to employ the Samburu women to create the beautiful products which visitors to the Ol Malo Lodge – owned by Julia's parents - want to buy.
Ol Malo Trust is internationally recognised as a Kenya registered charity for the work it is undertaking. There is a registered UK charity: Ol Malo Charitable Trust (UK), and a Foundation in the U.S.: Ol Malo Foundation, Inc., with similar aims and objectives.
Julia's close association with the Samburu has enabled the Trust make a continuous and accurate assessment of the needs of the people, the wildlife and the environment, and its programmes have been extended and adapted to meet these needs.