Evicted Kenyan indigenous community demands share of tourism revenue on World Responsible Tourism Day
An impoverished Kenyan indigenous community, evicted from their land to make way for a world-famous nature reserve, is launching a special appeal on World Responsible Tourism Day, to lay claim to a slice of lucrative tourism revenue.
The Endorois traditional territories lie in the Lake Bogoria National Reserve – one of Kenya’s top tourist destinations in the spectacular Rift Valley.
Since their eviction in the 1970s, the 60,000-strong cow-herding community no longer has access to vital grazing grounds, or to ancient sites for naming or initiation ceremonies, imperiling their culture and survival.
Leader of the Endorois people, Wilson Kipkazi, says, “We welcome visitors to our country. But loss of our lands has forced my community into poverty. It is high time that we benefit fully from the income generated through tourism.”
While in Lake Bogoria, tourists can visit reconstructions of typical Endorois village and watch locals perform traditional dances, yet they remain oblivious to the dispossession of the Endorois.
“Often tourists are unaware of the impact of their holidays on local communities – in our case conservation must go hand-in-hand with the protection of the Endorois’ way of life”, says Wilson Kipkazi.
Today, the vast majority of the Endorois live in severe poverty and struggle to pay for school fees. Few children are educated above primary level. They have little or no electricity and must often walk long distances to fetch water.
Minority Rights Group International (MRG) recently launched here