Poverty and Livelihood Strategies at Lake Naivasha, Kenya. A Case Study of Kasarani Village
Kenya’s Lake Naivasha has come into the focus of international reports: the lake environment is at once the hub of agro-industrial flower production in Kenya and supplies about a large percentage of cut flowers sold in north-western Europe. The region also hosts ten thousands of tourists yearly who are anxious to experience at the natural beauties of this Rift Valley Lake. Lake Naivasha is protected via the internationally recognized RAMSAR status but it is also home of about 60 giant greenhouse complexes. The rapidly growing flower industries are nowadays the major driving factor within this social-ecological system: ten thousands of job-seeking Kenyans turned to Naivasha during the past two decades to seek employment. Hemmed in between large farms many immigrants look for additional incomes and invest time and capital into small-scale farming at the lake shore, into fishing or small-scale businesses. Within the context of a larger interdisciplinary project of the University of Cologne Eric Kioko has studied one such village, Kasarani, which came into existence in the 1950s but only grew significantly after the 1980s. Nowadays Kasarani has about 13.000 inhabitants (estimated) and in some aspects it is rather a small town than a village. Kioko spent two months in Kasarani doing anthropological research in the place. Kioko applied standard anthropological methodology. He interviewed heads of households, did further interviews with small-scale entrepreneurs, captured case studies of emerging social institutions and organizations. In a very convincing manner Kioko combines qualitative accounts with quantitative data to argue his case. It is – to my knowledge – the first anthropological study in this context, in which contestations over resources, interethnic tension and global as well as national influence is always perceivable.
ISSN (International Standard Serial Number): 2194-1556
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Eric M. Kioko
University of Cologne, Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology
social (institutions, conflicts, markets, violence)