Ecotourism: panacea for pastoralists in Kenya?

Ecotourism is perceived by many to be a panacea for many pastoralist communities in Kenya in helping them diversify their livelihoods. Some communities have benefitted considerably, but many others are geographically isolated and/or comparatively resource-poor. The report “Ecotourism in northern Kenya” (2009), based on analysis of two ecotourism models (and four enterprises) in Laikipia and Isiolo, aims to provide Kenyan policymakers and private investors with a deeper insight into the ecotourism industry already operating in northeastern Kenya. The enterprises selected include both community-owned and joint-venture models. The report describes how the enterprise was formed and is financed and managed; and assesses the sociocultural, economic and environmental impacts of each model. It also analyses the constraints and opportunities for pro-pastoral ecotourism more broadly in the Kenyan policy environment. The key threats common to the pastoralist communities of northeastern Kenya include: insecure tenure of their land and resources, marginalisation from national development agendas, breakdown of traditional adaptations to climate variability, low literacy and political under-representation. The report concludes that ecotourism should be considered as only one possible opportunity to diversify pastoralist livelihoods in Kenya.

Posted on 11 August 2012 in Pastoralist Livelihoods & Nutrition