M.Sc. thesis: New opportunities and new constraints for Maasai livelihoods

 Part 3: Dispatch on M.Sc. thesis results    

Florian Neubauer has been working on a M.Sc. thesis with RSO titled `New opportunities and new constraints – Understanding changes in land tenure and livelihoods among the pastoral Maasai in southern Kenya´. In his third and last post, he shares some of the thesis` main findings. Florian’s second post can be found here.

Localized coping strategies increasingly gain in importance: Here, cattle which has accessed a fenced area where grass is preserved for stressful times.

Localized coping strategies increasingly gain in importance: Here, cattle which has accessed a fenced area where grass is preserved for stressful times.


Pastoral livelihoods in Africa are characterized by a high reliance on strategic migration and livestock keeping as a source of social and economic wellbeing. However, over the past decades pastoral livelihoods in Sub-Saharan Africa were increasingly exposed to various pressures like a progressing privatization of land. The experiences of the Maasai in southern Kenya provide an illustrative example for livelihood changes due to land privatization. During the 1970s, a transformation from land held in trust to individual ‘group ranches’, as land communally owned and managed, took place in the Maasailand. During the 1980s, title deeds were privatized and group ranches subdivided into smaller, individually owned ranches. Focusing on Maasai households, this research analysed – with specific regards to impacts and implications on food (in)security – how these changes in land tenure shape the livelihoods of Maasai pastoralists in southern Kenya.

Main results – Summary

The research suggests that changes in land tenure – notably,  the privatization of title deeds and the commodification of land – shape Maasai livelihoods and can contribute to increase a household`s food security. It suggests furthermore that Maasai actively adapt their livelihood strategies as a result of these changes and use(d) the new land tenure system to develop new livelihood strategies. However, these new or changed livelihood strategies impact Maasai pastoralism both as a production system and as a socio-cultural way of life.

Continue reading

New regional Network Participand will use international knowledge

Participand is an initiative of COS Gelderland and OIKOS to organise (inter)national students, migrants, organisaties and companies in a network  on international sustainable development. The network wants to give support, stimulate interaction and exhange knowledge between people to enhance better projects and products. The Science Shop in Wageningen has published a report about the need and possibilities for such a network. This report is based on research of the master students Robin Bukenya and Franziska Nath, supervised by Communication Studies and Rural Sociology. An ACT group has made suggestions how to organize this network. Continue reading

Invitation for the next Participand meeting on cooperation in international sustainable development

Participand, Business Café Wageningen, COS Gelderland/MVO Loont and Oikos introduce an International Business Cafe on Thursday, 21st of June in the afternoon.

16:00 Welcome by MVO loont and Participand. Participand is a new network in the region Food Valley of companies, organizations and (inter)national students internationally active in the field of sustainability.

16:10 Lecture on subsidies for International Entrepreneurship (Private Sector Investment Programme PSI, http://www.agentschapnl.nl/programmas-regelingen/private-sector-investeringsprogramma-psi) by drs. Bas van Engelen, Hezelburcht (www.hezelburcht.nl)

16:45 Short interviews by Qader Shafiq, COS Gelderland with international entrepreneurs, among which Ir. Samson J. Nibi, ‘Samson & Open Source Housing in Ghana’

17:00 Network borrel

Location: Hof van Wageningen, Lawickse Allee 9, Wageningen
Registration: www.start-life.nl/businesscafe

Science Shop project Participand- Meetings for people involved in international development cooperation

In December we announced the kick-off meeting of the Participand project. Participand is for people who live in the Wageningen area and are involved or interested in international development cooperation. Together with these people (You?) we would like to build a network platform where you can exchange knowledge and experiences, get involved, find partners to work together with and whatever else you can imagine.
The first meeting took place on a rainy evening shortly before Christmas, a busy time of the year. Yet, an overwhelming number of 42 people joined! This was excelling our wildest dreams. So what did we actually do? Continue reading

Participate in project Participand

Robin BukenyaWhat are the relationships between the ‘developing’ and ‘developed’ world? How does our perception of the difference shape this relationship? What can then be a basis for cooperation when diversity needs be cherished as a fundamental right to be different? What is then YOUR responsibility as global citizen in your own community? How then can we work together in our community as OUR responsibility to act together?
If you are interested in these questions, please join the meeting on the evening of December 15th!

In collaboration with the Dutch NGOs OIKOS and COS Gelderland our researches feed into a larger project by the Wageningen University ‘Science Shop’ (which aims at giving science more practical relevance). We (Franziska Nath & Robin Bukenya) are part of a larger team conducting an ‘Action Research’ Master thesis project (linking theory to practise) attempting to ‘do’ research differently. The main objective is:
‘Mapping and strengthening of the network of development initiatives and its active and potential actors in the Wageningen region’
There is always room for increased collaboration among individuals, initiatives and fields of knowledge. This research project seeks to actively develop open creative inter-active spaces and sessions where links and balanced inter-action can occur between peoples sharing ideas (across perceptual boundaries) based on their inner motivations.

Anyone within the Wageningen region (incl. Ede, Rhenen, Bennekom, Doorwerth) whom seeks to be part of this research project to cooperate and complement their development initiatives or fields of knowledge.

Rather than looking only at understanding how to solve problems, our focus is to build on your potential. Past struggles and obstacles have been overcome through the dreams and visions of those whom looked beyond their apparent limitations. So, why not build on what is and drives the vision of what could be, to achieve what may become!
Hope, joy and love are fundamental human emotions and energies of abundance from which creativity flows, overcoming the limits of obstacles. Creativity is the resource that will empower this research. This ‘opportunity’ and ‘dream’ driven research is to be positively steered by all whom are directly or indirectly involved into the research process. The theme is thus enhancing development cooperation in Wageningen. The outcome(s) or limits, YOU decide…

We are looking for a varied mix of interested participants for this ‘research project’ whom are willing to venture with us on this endeavour to bring out that which is within us from the local to the global community.
Are you active, or seeking to be, in development cooperation as a professor, student, project manager, founder, researcher, organization, institution, etc. and interested to be part of a different ‘way of doing’ and basis for collaboration? Please email us at Participand.Now@gmail.com for information, ideas and ways of collaborating with this research project.

***First meeting***
On the evening of December 15th there will be an introductory workshop session, initiating the first exploratory phase of the research. It will be held at the Vredehorst, Tarthorst 1 in Wageningen (near the C1000). Note! It will start at 17.30 with a tapas dinner! Places are limited so please sign up as soon as possible (Before Monday 12th December) with your:
• Name
• Age
• Gender
• Nationality(s)
• Name of initiative(s)/organization(s)/institution(s)/company in which you are currently active
• Your position or role in initiative(s)/organization(s)/institution(s)/company
• Your future desired role and dream for development cooperation (be creative!)
• Dietry needs

Questions, comments and ideas? Login to our Facebook site ‘Participand Now’. Send your details to: Participand.Now@gmail.com. You can also show your appreciation of the Platform: http://www.facebook.com/platform
Sign up fast as space for the workshop sessions is. Nonetheless, there will be opportunities for other ways to engage with the research project.

We hope to hear from you soon!

Franziska Nath and Robin Bukenya