This post is the first of three reports by RSO student Florian Neubauer about the MSc research he is conducting in Kenya. Florian has kindly agreed to blog about his research and to provide us with a review of :
- First reflections on researching in Kenya and his host institution, Maasai Mara University.
- Living among the Maasai with a focus on their culture and way of living.
- Results of the thesis.
Part 1: Introduction and Maasai Mara University (MMU)
`Karibu´ and ´karibu mzungu` – `Welcome´ or `welcome white person´ – are probably two of the most frequent sentences, I have heard here, since I arrived in Kenya around three weeks ago. Here in the south of the country, I am conducting the field work for my master thesis with RSO group on Understanding changes in land tenure and livelihoods among the pastoral Maasai in southern Kenya.
Over the past decades, pastoral Maasai have been increasingly exposed to various pressures to their pastoral livelihoods such as demographic development, the spread of national and games parks or an increased privatization and commercialization of land. One of the biggest pressures and also the focus of my research are changes in land tenure, or more specifically, transformation processes from formerly communally owned land towards increasingly individualized and privatized land (ownerships) – a development thatroughly began during the 1970s and 1980s and continues since then. I am interested in investigating how this transformation in land tenure is shaping and impacting Maasai pastoral livelihoods and Maasai households on a local level, with a specific focus on implications and impacts on local food (in)security. I will explore the current situation at the local level, as well as retrospectively the past decision-making processes of households, in order to understand when, how and why a household decided for instance (not) to change, diversify or maintain a certain livelihood strategy. Continue reading