African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6531

Full Length Research Paper

Cultural heritage as a pathway for sustaining natural resources in the Maasai’s Pastoral Social-Ecological System in Kajiado County, Kenya

James Kaoga
  • James Kaoga
  • Institute for Climate Change and Adaptation, University of Nairobi, P. O. Box 30197-00100, Nairobi, Kenya.
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Daniel Olago
  • Daniel Olago
  • Institute for Climate Change and Adaptation, University of Nairobi, P. O. Box 30197-00100, Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Google Scholar
George Ouma
  • George Ouma
  • Institute for Climate Change and Adaptation, University of Nairobi, P. O. Box 30197-00100, Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Google Scholar
Gilbert Ouma
  • Gilbert Ouma
  • Institute for Climate Change and Adaptation, University of Nairobi, P. O. Box 30197-00100, Nairobi, Kenya.
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Joshua Onono
  • Joshua Onono
  • Institute for Climate Change and Adaptation, University of Nairobi, P. O. Box 30197-00100, Nairobi, Kenya.
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  •  Received: 24 February 2021
  •  Accepted: 30 April 2021
  •  Published: 30 June 2021

Abstract

The Maasai pastoralists inhabiting Kajiado County are known for rearing large herds of animals. Livestock has enabled them to attain food and nutritional security. However, natural resources are dwindling fast under the swift development context. The private holding of land is becoming more prevalent in an area formally known for its communal land setup. The emerging land tenure systems have disregarded the traditional production systems. Consequently, their herds have exhibited poor health status and low productivity. To address these problems, the study focussed on the Maasai pastoralists’ perception to evaluate their cultural dispositions. The study employed a cross-sectional design which consisted of semi-structured questionnaires. The qualitative data generated were subjected to thematic analysis and thereafter, translated into meaningful actions and summarised. The quantitative data was aggregated into frequencies and composite scores computed. The results revealed increased production risks, changes in land utility and notable growing numbers of Maasai pastoralists being dispossessed from their customary land by private landholders. Despite the aforementioned hurdles, the Maasai pastoralists had shown cohesiveness in rangeland management. It was also evident that the Maasai pastoralists were embracing different livelihoods, conservation, tourism and institutional support based on their strategic priorities to enhance their resilience. Thus, the study recommends that the Maasai pastoralists be assigned a proactive role as the Government relooks at territorial demarcations in the ongoing land registration process.

Key words: Socio-ecological system, livelihoods, cultural values, pastoralism.