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Out and about Kitengela: The Maasai livelihoods, livestock and wildlife. Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by ., Kenya Apr 23, 2007
Environment , Animal Rights   Opinions


Out and about Kitengela: The Maasai livelihoods, livestock and wildlife.
The answer to the Kitengela community has been to retie some of the knots undone in their pastoral society when they became land owners. Now the younger generation has organized community groups .And the groups are tackling issues that only two years ago seemed intractable. That was when the Kitengela Ilparakuo Landowners Association (KILA) was formed to give voice to a people who felt they were not being heard by the Kenyan government or the Kenya Wildlife Service.”People began to realize there was only so little they could do as individuals,” says Ntapaiya. ”Many important issues facing the maasai require a collective effort to succeed .This is a reorganization of a formerly organized community, people coming together and trying to have a single voice, where they can deal with common issues, issues that cut across from those of land to natural resources that are shared, to political issues, to having a political voice to lobby the government. And many of these issues pertain to wildlife.”

But the younger Maasai also have an entrepreneurial eye on the country’s greatest asset-wildlife ecotourism. They are meeting with potential developers to see what they can do bring tourists to Kitengela by making eco-friendly havens for the wildlife. “Ecotourism is a way for us to give back to the community. People are already coming to Kitengela to see wildlife. So we should take on the challenge for tourists to see the wildlife here, and bring money to the local people. It has been eye opener for the community to see that they can make money from the wildlife by protecting it,” says Nicholas Mateiyo, KILA’s secretary.

The patterns revealed in Kitengela are consistent with some important global trends, such as the contraction of pastoral lands and an expansion of agriculture. There is cropping going on where cropping never was before; more and more pastoralists are settling down because of the availability of schools, healthcare, and so forth. This trend is associated with changes in land tenure, a way of communal lands and towards private land ownership, and with a notable decrease in the number of livestock per person (livestock population are more or less stagnant, but the number of people has been increasing rapidly).As these changes progress, the viability of livestock ownership as the sole means of survival is declining, pastoralists are becoming poorer, and their lifestyle is becoming much more tenuous. This pattern is not unique to Kenya or East Africa, but is also being seen in other parts of Africa. There are ways to more accurately map these land use changes and better understand how agro pastoral systems may change due to trends such as increasing population pressure, mounting pressures to diversify income resources, climate change, and other factors.

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Granny | May 18th, 2009
It's you again . . . Thanks so much. . .

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