Responsible Tourism and Activism
Does this look like the proper environment for lions and Cape buffalo?
Are there more tourists than wild life?
Are the safari vehicles interfering with the Great Migration?
Are there more vehicles than hippos at the lovely Ngoitokitok Spring?
Is the sewage from the hotels being dumped into the Crater? Do the
locals get access to water, or does it just fill swimming pools?
When you go on Safari, are you camped across a wildlife corrider?
Did the cook feed the animals? (He should not)
Did your safari vehicle go off the main road?
Did you go where Maasai live? Did you see how they live with wild animals?
Did you see yellow flowers like these in the Crater?
They are invasive and unpalatable to wild animals.
But goats will eat some that other animals won't.
But livestock are banned from the Crater.
Did your guide take you to a school in the local community and encourage you (before the trip) to bring chalkboards or other things to donate for the students education?
They have a lovely classroom, but no desks!
Elizabeth, in class seven, tells us: “We have various challenges ...including lack of mattresses, and lack of blankets …
During the night we sleep in a bed without a mattress - four students sleep in one bed.
Does Tanzania allow Hunting?
Total number of national parks visitors per year =
(325,967 + 131,393) X 2 = 914,720
Number of Maasai in threatened areas:
50,000 in Loliondo + 80,000 in Ngorongoro = 130,000
Activism per Global Focus 50x50
It has been found that "The collective natural resources governed by Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities are biodiversity hotspots that maintain the ecological balance of our planet and help regulate the climate that enables global food production. Research shows that their lands store massive amounts of carbon – at least 300 billion megatons – and that secure rights lead to lower rates of deforestation." https://www.landrightsnow.org/
Activism can take several forms, from
learning about the situation and following it and letting others in your circles know about it, to
helping them in their struggle to win their rights, and perhaps
contacting the locals "on the ground" (grassroots activists).
Activism by those who are operating from their comfortable homes or offices" we call "armchair activism". If you are interested in what armchair activists do, or how they are doing it, or even if you are just curious, follow along. . . . . . .
As an example, we will explore activism for Maasai people in Tanzania, who are threatened with relocation and loss of their ancestral lands without Free, Prior, and Informed Consent. Not only are their land rights being threatened, but so are numerous of their human rights.
Maasai people are not unique when it comes to having their land-grabbed. It is happening globally.
Smart phones have played a role in documenting human rights abuses. The first international incidence of violence against indigenous ever documented by video or photo, was recorded on a cell phone last June in 2022 by a Maasai person fleeing bullets in Loliondo. See https://twitter.com/ForestPeoplesP/status/1535700456709804034?s=20 (Twitter).
Or if not on Twitter, see: Police firing on Maasai men, women, children
Fortunately, the Maasai there are knowledgeable about the situation, and the ones we work with are educated and well informed. Therefore we can communicate with them.
The Maasai are also very good about bragging about their culture and their way of protecting wild animals. At night, when hyenas come, they put their livestock in a blockade, and put their sentinel dogs out to give warning or scare away the hyena. The wild zebras and antelope come close to the bomas to be protected. It is illegal to kill a hyena in the conservation area, but there is no need to, since the Maasai already have a solution without killing them.
The Maasai claim (and I found true), that someone wearing Maasai clothing is not feared by antelope or other wild animals. They are like pets to the Maasai.
The Maasai value wildlife as much as their cows while herding then in the bush. They consider themselves of the same clan as some wild life:
1. Hyena is of Ilais clans
2.Fox is of Mollel/mollelian clan
3.Baboon is of Lukumay clans
4. Rhino is of Laizer/laiser clan
5. Elephant is of Laitayok clans
And there no a clans who wants to deminish his relatives' animals. Even the opposite clans may not kill other clans' own animals
Some of what we learn about activism for the Ngorongoro and Loliondo Maasai can carry over into Kenya, where some of the Maasai and other pastorialists there also have problems, but a somewhat different situation.
In our first activism practice exercise, we will be using WhatsApp to communicate. That's how our activists communicate with Maasai people.
When our first activists came as a tourists to Tanzania in 2017, they discovered that the Maasai were not allowed to assemble. This was a human rights abuse imposed by the government. A few years later, someone started a Maasai Forum on WhatsApp, and communications opened up. For those with phones, they could now have meetings by WhatsApp.
The moderator of the Forum was afraid of the government shutting it down if anyone said anything political, but those worries turned out to be unfounded. We had forums on culture, HIV, keeping secondary girls safe from early pregnancy, FGM, and even photography and livestock keeping.
Did you know that, for the past several years, the Maasai have heard talk from the government about evicting them? Maasai activists took action:
Representatives from PINGOS FORUM, (Pastoral & Indigenous NGO) went to Germany and other European countries to plea their case against the human rights abuses against the Maasai in Tanzania
ZOOM Meeting for Responsible Tourists and Activists
Above is a video of the meeting with PINGOs with UN Human Rights Rapporteurs at the Zoom meeting in Germany. You will learn about the many human rights abuses against the Maasai in Tanzania.
We will have our own Zoom meeting about this video, in which we will "walk you" through parts of the above two hour video.
In addition, we will hear remarks from (and communicate with) three Maasai people via WhatsApp and possibly through Zoom if the Maasai data reception allows.
Guests should have WhatsApp installed on their smart phone (it is an easy app to use) if they want to talk with the Maasai representatives.
The meeting will start at 9am (Pacific Time) June 19, 2024
If you are interested in attending the meeting, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org before June 19, 2024
In another article: The majority settled community views nomadic and pastoral Maasai in Tanzania as a threat: Joseph Oleshangay are the same people as in the video above
"Our tour intended to create awareness about the situation in both Ngorongoro and Loliondo, which is now a humanitarian crisis. We also seek accountability from those financing fortress conservation in Tanzania and around the world.
The philosophical foundations of what has bedeviled us, can be traced to Europe and America. Europeans put it in place in Ngorongoro and Serengeti.
Sixty-three years later, millions of European tax payers are being used to finance neo colonial conservation whose main trademark is expansion, violence, exclusion, propaganda and othering/racism."
Did you know that the President of Tanzania just gave the Port of Dar Es Salaam to the Arabs in UAE? The same ones who want to build hunting lodges and hotels in Loliondo, (and possibly in Ngorongoro), which would displace the Maasai.
What next? Eviction has been steadily marching on. Is this a sign that it will happen - completely?
What Else Can a Tourist Do?
•Write an article describing your tourism experience. Include pictures. It's better to write it in Google Docs, or Microsoft word.
•Write an article connecting land rights with climate change. See Maasai Live Sustainbly with Wildebeest
•Global Focus 50x50 will publish it in our newsletter and/or help find a suitable publication
•There are organizations that have various ways that can help. For example, Avaaz will allow you to get signatures on a petition, and raise money from petitioners.
Global Focus 50x50 will research and keep a list of helpful organizations, and help guide efforts to help.
•See How You Can Help