Maasai Entrepreneurship In Tourism And Access To Education: A Case Of Kimana Tikondo Group Ranch, Kajiado County, Kenya.
The Maasai have embraced tourism entrepreneurship as a means to supplement and diversify their sources of livelihood and spur development in their homelands. Access to education is one of the indicators of development. The objectives of the study were: to determine the different tourism entrepreneurial activities undertaken by Maasai households in Kimana; to analyze the benefits that households derive from tourism entrepreneurship; and to examine how these benefits have enhanced access to education. The study was guided by the community entrepreneurial model and a conceptual framework developed for the research. The study was conducted in Kimana group ranch which lies adjacent to Amboseli Nation Park in May 2015. Both qualitative and quantitative data were collected using a closed and open ended questionnaire and key informant interviews. The study established that Maasai households were involved in a wide range of tourism entrepreneurial activities including selling curios and handicrafts to tourists, tour guiding/interpreting, beadworks, entertainment, selling Maasai shukas1 and as managers of their own tourism enterprises from which they accrued various financial and non-financial benefits. While many households in this study utilized significant amounts of income accrued from their tourism entrepreneurial activities to purchase basic necessities and foodstuffs, a small but critical amount was used to enhance access to education through paying for the cost of putting up educational infrastructure, paying fees, hiring teachers and purchasing school supplies. It was observed that the amount of benefits that households accrued from their tourism entrepreneurship were low and this limited their capacity to commit more resources to enhancing access to education. The main conclusion from the study is that tourism entrepreneurship has the potential to generate enormous benefits for the Maasai households but at the moment these benefits are small and their contribution to enhancing access to education is minimal. The potential of tourism entrepreneurship to enhance access to education depends on the amount of benefits accrued, household priorities and decisions on how much money is to be spent on other household pressing needs. The study suggests that if Maasai entrepreneurs in tourism generate more benefits from their enterprises, households will increase their expenditures on enhancing access education at the household level. The study recommended that in order for Maasai households to increase their expenditures on enhancing access to education, they need to maximize their benefits from tourism entrepreneurship. Therefore there is an urgent need for household entrepreneurs to expand and diversify the range of tourism activities they undertake; need for capacity building, education and training in business management, planning and product development; need for the government to promote Maasai tourism attraction to increase visitation in order to increase the direct benefits they derive from the industry. Maasai shuka refers to a piece of fabric or garment made of cotton worn around the body by the Maasai. They are usually red although there are other colors
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