Establishment of community eco-lodges and campsite innovations in Serengeti Mara Ecosystem | Institutional Innovations (Innovations, Training Services & Management Practices)

Although tourism is a key sector of the Kenyan and Tanzanian economy, a large percentage of the profits have historically gone to large and mostly foreign-owned tourism companies. This is particularly so in the Serengeti Mara Ecosystem (SME). Community eco-lodges and campsites, however, can promote community involvement in tourism operations. A community eco-lodge or campsite is a facility where con Read more..

Description of the technology or innovation

Although tourism is a key sector of the Kenyan and Tanzanian economy, a large percentage of the profits  have  historically  gone  to  large  and  mostly  foreign-owned  tourism  companies.  This  is particularly  so  in  the  Serengeti  Mara  Ecosystem  (SME).  Community  eco-lodges  and  campsites, however, can promote community involvement in tourism operations.

A community eco-lodge or campsite is a facility where  concerns for accommodating eco-tourists, conservation issues and local cultures and livelihoods are fully integrated. It is owned and managed entirely by local community members. It is designed to accommodate tourists but at the same time benefit the environment and the local community and their culture. It is built using locally available labour and materials, usually in an environmentally-friendly manner. A community eco-lodge and campsite employs local people, creating much-needed incom e for the community as a whole. The profits  that  come  out  of  the  eco-lodge  or  eco-campsite  are  divided  amongst  the  community
members and help support the development of local infrastructure such as schools, water supplies, health  centres  and  other  related  initiatives.  The  guests  are  usually  encouraged  to  do  thing  that ultimately  benefit  the  environment  like  reusing  towels  and  sheets  and  bathing  once  a  day  with minimal water wastage. 

The  success  of  the  community  eco-lodge  or  eco-campsite  initiative  provides  an  opportunity  for local  people to  improve their  livelihoods through  increased  income and services. In addition, the eco-lodge.

Assessment/reflection on utilization, dissemination & scaling out or up approaches used

The  beneficiaries  are  local  communities  living  in  both  the  wet  and  dry  regions  of  the  Serengeti Mara  Ecosystems  and  those  engaged  in  the  tourism  and  hospitality  industries  are  the  ultimate beneficiaries of the project.
The key partners needed in the scaling up process are:

  • Wildlife conservation Agencies
  • Tourism ministries,  
  • Communities around the SME  
  • Wildlife population

Gender considerations

The  technology  is  gender  sensitive  since  community  conservancies  are  developed,  managed  and implemented  by  locals  who  are  both  male  and  female.  However,  practices  related  to  gender imbalances,  (especially  on  land  and  benefit  sharing  and  utilization  of  natural  resources  such  as  biodiversity), exist within the SME. Although Tanzania and Kenya’s statutory laws do not prevent women from owning land, women still face numerous challenges in this area partly because male members of the family tend to hold land in trust as communal property. Both women and youth are able  to  implement  this  ecological  and  biological  friendly  innovation  while  deriving  from  it alternative  means  of  income  and  subsistence.  Thus  the  innovation  has  the  potential  to simultaneously take care of multiple needs such as income, food, conservation, and natural resource management.  However,  there  is  a  need  for  the  government  to  facilitate  gender  analysis; participation  and  affirmative  action  in  biodiversity  management  through  gender-sensitive legislation, promote gender awareness and involvement in all these innovations.

Contact details

Muchai Muchane
Director, National Museums of Kenya (NMK)
P.O Box 40658-00100
Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: +254-722 286133

Bernard Ngoru
Programme Officer, Kenya Wildlife Service
P.O Box 494 – 0161,
Nyeri, Kenya
Tel: 0721 521324

Emanuel Manyasa
Professor, Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT)
PO Box 57290,
Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: 0723 845707

Ayub Macharia
Director, National Environment Management Authority (NEMA)
PO Box 67839,
Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: 0722 728572

James Wakibara
Director, Tanzania National Parks
P.O Box 3134,
Arusha, Tanzania
Tel: 0786-703-399

Agnes Mwakaje
Professor, University of Dar Es Salaam (UDSM)
P.O.Box 35064,
Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania

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