The Kesho Trust

Background

Connections Grant

The IKG, a second stage of funding, builds on a very successful initial study tour made possible through a Connections Grant from SSHRC.  Three representatives from the Enguserosambu Forest Trust in Tanzania came to Canada to visit First Nations communities and share experiences of the challenges of maintaining indigenous culture, controlling traditional lands and managing resources alongside continually expanding colonial global economic and cultural systems.  The EFT representatives (Samwel Nangiria, Mark Talash and Nalaimuta Makeseni) were joined on the tour by Phil Dearden (UVic), Crystal Tramblay (UVic) and Bruce Downie (Kesho Trust).  During the two week tour beginning at UVic, the group visited the T’Sou-ke First Nation and the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation on Vancouver Island before traveling north to Yukon where they visited Selkirk First Nation, Kwanlen Dun First Nation and Carcross/Tagish First Nation.  The Maasai delegates also made presentations about their culture and the management of their traditional territory at public meetings at UVic and in Whitehorse.

For a summary of the tour visit:  Maasai Study Tour

A video has also been produced and can be viewed at:  Maasai Study Tour

PDG Overview

The overall goal of the project is:

  • the co-creation and mobilization of interdisciplinary knowledge to enhance resource governance and sovereignty of Indigenous peoples in Tanzania and Canada while increasing their research capacity

This goal will be achieved by:

  • supporting Indigenous-led action research designed to enhance land and water governance and sovereignty over their traditional territories
  • building strong learning relationships and enhance knowledge bridging between Indigenous peoples in Canada and Tanzania who share the same goals
  • making our work relevant to the conservation of the Maasai traditional lands, livelihoods and culture

 A community-based participatory action research process that emphasizes knowledge co-creation, reciprocity and horizontal decision-making will be used to investigate the key research interests and needs expressed by the Maasai:

  • a livelihoods assessment to better understand the local Maasai economy. A survey of heads of households will be administered by community-based researchers to document the distribution of household assets and the diversity of income mechanisms used.
  • an ecological and climate change impact assessment of traditional territories to determine the community perceptions of environmental vulnerability and its impact on livelihoods. Semi-structured interviews will be conducted by community-based researchers to document community perceptions of quality and sustainability of pastureland, the productivity of household agriculture, the availability and accessibility of water for household use, and changes to these environmental factors over time.
  • community mapping to identify and document cultural and land-use sites of importance. The research team has diverse and complimentary expertise in community-based and participatory approaches to research with a strong emphasis on resource co-governance, community mapping and creative knowledge mobilization. Based on the experience shared by Yukon Fist Nations during our Connections Grant tour, the EFT and KT undertook a traditional occupancy and land use mapping project involving interviews of Elders and knowledge holders; their report and atlas is forthcoming. We will build on this work by focusing on key land management issues in Enguserosambu and by using it to guide the work of our new partner EMAYO.
  • a scenario planning exercise to identify community issues, key drivers of change, trends, and the constraints and rank these factors by importance and uncertainty. Resulting scenarios and their implications help communities make strategic choices to improve long-term conservation planning for resilience and minimizing vulnerabilities. The scenario planning exercise will be conducted in community workshops led by community-based researchers.
  • a needs-assessment to identify community challenges and priority development actions. The assessment will utilize Participatory Rural Appraisal approaches involving focus group discussions and key informant interviews with community leaders combined with observation. The results will complement the community mapping and scenario planning activities in determining priorities for community action and development.
  • an assessment of ecotourism potential, expectations and impacts. Given the preliminary experience with ecotourism initiatives, this topic is already recognized as a driver of change and development in Enguserosambu. Semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions will add to the understanding of community expectations and concerns about the efforts being taken to promote tourism in their communities. We have expertise in all these areas, including field experience in both countries and we have strong field support in Tanzania

Related Activities

Mapping of Traditional Land Use and Occupancy

One of the primary activities identified in the initial planning of the Kesho Trust’s collaboration with and support of the Enguserosambu Forest Trust was to undertake traditional knowledge mapping of the cultural characteristics and use of their homeland.  The importance of this work was emphasized by Canadian First Nations communities to the EFT representatives who undertook a study tour to Canada in 2019.

Recognizing this priority, the Kesho Trust undertook a traditional knowledge mapping project based on interviews with over 50 elders and knowledge holders in the four Maasai communities of Enguserosambu Ward.   The project was coordinated by a volunteer experienced in the process with Canadian First Nations.  Erik Val (Yukon, Canada), who visited Enguserosambu on the first Kesho Trust study tour in 2018, returned to Almatasia Camp and coordinated the research along with the very able assistance of volunteer field coordinator, Julius Daniel (KT Tanzania), and community researchers Koisikir Nangiria, Terere Tutayo, Anna Shololoi and Stephen Sitoi. 

Erik produced the final report which is now available online on our website:  Maasai Traditional Knowledge Mapping.  Mapping support was provided by Brian Lewis (Montreal, Canada) and the Geography Department of the University of Victoria