The impact of urbanization on the livelihoods of the Maasai community: a case study of Ngong Ward, Kajiado County
The Maasai community has been known to be a pastoral community from time in memorial. Today, this is fast changing. Urbanization has fast caught up with the traditional lifestyle of the Maasai community. With pastoral land diminishing on a daily basis, the livelihood of the Maasai households has thus been affected. Most of them have been found to be lost in between culture and urbanization. The purpose of this study was to establish the impact of urbanization on the livelihood of the Maasai community in Ngong Ward, Kajiado County. The study explored ways in which changing land use and tenure coupled with rapid population growth had affected the livelihood of the Maasai households in Ngong Ward, Kajiado County. Further to this, the study also sought to find out the socio-economic and environmental impacts of urbanization and also established the coping mechanisms the Maasai‟s in Ngong Ward had adopted in response to urbanization. This study used cluster sampling and systematic random sampling research design to get the sample population. The use of several research instruments which included; household questionnaires, interview schedule with key informants, observation schedule that was enhanced by the use of photography and a document analysis guide was employed. Cluster sampling and systematic random sampling approach was adopted to identify the households. In total 70 Maasai households participated in this study. The quantitative data generated by questionnaires was analyzed by the use of SPSS 17 while the qualitative data generated from the interview schedules, observation and from secondary sources of data was analyzed through content analysis. Analyzed data was then summarized into frequencies and percentages and presented in tables, bar charts and figures. Findings of the study revealed that Ngong Ward was experiencing rapid urbanization due to its proximity to Nairobi County that had seen it emerge as a dormitory for the urban labour force. Rapid urbanization has led to the increase in demand for land leading to increased land subdivisions in the ward. This has led to changing land use and land tenures that has negatively impacted on the traditional Maasai livelihood of pastoralism. Though urbanization was seen as contributing to conservation efforts within Ngong Ward vi environmental pollution was seen as the most visible negative impact of urbanization in the ward. Socio-economically urbanization was seen as having a positive contribution to the Maasai livelihood. Many Maasai households had diversified their livelihoods and had opted into new livelihoods as a result of the urban sprawl in Ngong Ward. The study recommends that there is need to undertake an integrated urban planning framework for the ward and other emerging urban towns which incorporates the aspect of urban zoning as way of protecting local communities. Prevalence of employments should be given to local communities by organizations in urban towns to help provide sustainable livelihood strategies for the local communities. While adopting the aspect of planning the government should set regulations that limit very small subdivisions in lands set aside for agro-pastoralism. In Ngong Ward there is need for an infrastructural upgrade that should take into consideration of the increasing population. The study also recommends that community participation should be integrated in all development projects that are meant to benefit the Maasai households.