The two main priorities for this initiative – the promotion of community-based wildlife tourism enterprises and women’s business development – derived from locally-identified strategies for poverty alleviation at a 2011 workshop convened by APW in the Maasai Steppe. In both cases, the goal is to help communities derive new and alternative means of revenue from environmentally-sustainable activities in the Maasai Steppe.
Community-Based Wildlife Tourism
In the first stage of this initiative, APW will increase local exposure to various types of wildlife-based tourism models developed in Tanzania, Kenya and Namibia. Activities will include community workshops with experts from the Tanzanian tourism industry as well as conservation practitioners with wide-ranging expertise on the African continent. Rather than rushing the decision-making process, APW will work with local communities to ensure they have a range of models to choose from, so they can eventually pursue the most appropriate option(s) from a local point of view. Study tours to neighboring projects will put people face-to-face, so community members can also get advice and learn directly from their counterparts. Further down the road, APW will help local communities to find investors, develop fair agreements, build local institutional and governing capacity and promote the new initiatives.
Maasai women are skilled at bead-working. However, for rural women off the conventional tourism circuit, access to markets is challenging. Lacking marketing skills and with a limited knowledge of product development and quality control, local products do not compete well with urban merchandise. Working with local women’s groups, APW will provide exposure tours to urban centers, increasing the women’s awareness of the products currently selling. At Noloholo, APW will also facilitate business-training sessions, assist in product development and quality control, and develop means for the women to access local and international markets.
More information on this initiative will be available soon.