Submitted by Mary Poole
Were you a Prescott College student who went to Maasailand in 2006 and helped to research, write, and present the report on the Amboseli National Park? You will remember that the report responded to a community call for information. The President of Kenya had just announced his intention to restore the historical role of the local Maasai community as managers of the land, and a powerful coalition of Western conservation organizations mobilized in opposition. Prescott College students were key to researching the history of the original transfer of the Park from the community to the government in the 1970s and the reasons behind that decision.
We presented the research to the local government council, then the next day on national news, and our report was distributed to the Kenyan Parliament. The President went forward with the new policy, but in the face of opposition, it still needs to be implemented. However, empowered with knowledge, the community has continued the struggle all these years.
At long last, this August of 2023, all the work paid off! The current President of Kenya has ordered the policy to be enforced. All of our friends in Amboseli are celebrating!
All Prescott College students who have been to Amboseli have seen the depth of the impoverishment of the communities banned from the Park under the government’s management. We have seen cows and even people starving and dying of thirst, barred by an artificial border that retains the watered areas for tourism alone. A genuinely new day can dawn now for the communities in Amboseli, and we thank you for the part you played!