Organization: Basecamp Explorer Foundation
Project Name: The Wildlife Tourism College of Maasai Mara
Private Sector Solutions ✓
System Change ✓
Empowerment of Individuals ✓
The Wildlife Tourism College (WTC) in Kenya's Greater Maasai Mara region, one of the last major wildlife refuges on earth, aims to develop an innovative, sustainable, long-term method of wildlife conservation which simultaneously maintains economic freedom and mobility for the Maasai people. The WTC is part of a broader initiative in the Mara region to preserve, sustain, and scale the triple-use Pardamat Conservation Area (PCA), where wildlife, livestock and people live together in harmony. The campus merges a teaching college - targeting the 80% of unemployed among Maasais from 18 to 35 years of age – paired together with an educational tourism camp for international students and volunteers where profits realized go directly to supporting the college and the community. The hoped-for success of the triple-use conservation area counts on sustainable socio-economic growth through education, employment, and for-profit tourism, all of which the area lacks significantly.
This project is an example of a non-governmental/private sector solution to a “tragedy of the commons” situation that had resulted in a loss of biodiversity and wildlife in PCA, which is in turn linked to income loss and limited potential of economic development for the local Maasai community. Based on market mechanisms, a system is developed together with the local communities, that results in socio-economic development through participation in the tourism industry and conservation of the biodiversity and wildlife in PCA.