tourism kenya governance

PhD defence

Governance of Tourism Conservation Partnerships: Lessons from Kenya

PhD candidate Rita Nthiga
Promotor prof.dr. VR (Rene) van der Duim
Co-promotor dr. IJ (Ingrid) Visseren-Hamakers
Co-promotor prof. dr. BEL Wishitemi
Organisation Wageningen University, Cultural Geography, Wageningen School of Social Sciences (WASS), Forest and Nature Conservation Policy

Wed 3 December 2014 11:00 to 12:30

Venue Auditorium, building number 362
Generaal Foulkesweg 1
6703 BG Wageningen


In this thesis I analyze and explain the nature of governance in two tourism conservation partnerships in Laikipia, Kenya: the Sanctuary at Ol Lentille and Koija Starbeds Partnerships. The thesis contributes to the broader discussions on the role of partnerships in conservation and development.

Governance is conceptualized in terms of participation, accountability, transparency, equity and effectiveness. The results reveal both similarities and differences between the partnerships and show that governance in both partnerships is influenced by challenges related to among others un-balanced power-relations, inadequate local institutions, un-supportive legislative and cultural frameworks and cultural constraints. Despite these governance challenges both partnerships make important contributions to livelihoods and conservation.

The research further reveals that partnerships are not simple institutions but comprise of ‘nested’ institutions which make their governance complex. In the thesis I therefore conclude that for partnerships to realize their potentials, they must be more consciously governed at the partnership level - by the various partners - and as a governance instrument more generally- by various societal actors.