Governance of Partnerships in the Tourism-Conservation-Development Nexus: Case study of Koija Starbeds and Sanctuary at Ol Lentile, Kenya

By Rita Nthiga
The discourse of linking biodiversity conservation and development in Africa has evolved over time. As a consequence, there have been numerous attempts to integrate the objectives of biodiversity conservation and socio-economic development through a variety of approaches, with tourism emerging as a major instrument.

With the shifts from ‘governments to governance’ in societal steering, partnerships have become popular and widely accepted as modes of governance for sustainable development and for community-based conservation (CBC) tourism enterprises. Most CBC tourism enterprises have taken the form of partnerships between communities and private investors. Due to the governance challenges experienced in such partnerships over time, NGOs such as the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) have joined partnerships as ‘neutral’ third parties. Their involvement aims to promote good governance principles such as participation, accountability, transparency, equity and effectiveness. Limited research however exists on whether this tripartite model for CBC partnerships meets these principles. This research project thus applies good governance principles as theoretical lens to understand governance processes in the community-private investor-NGO partnerships at the Koija Starbeds and the Sanctuary at Ol Lentille Ecolodges, Kenya. These two ecolodges are aimed at improved community livelihoods and biodiversity conservation. The research is informed by the interpretive research paradigm and data gathered through qualitative methods (individual interviews and focus group interviews). The interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and manually coded for relevant content. The content was further interpreted thematically based on the good governance principles. Results will contribute to sustainable development debates and more specifically on the use of partnerships as modes of governance for CBC tourism.

prof.dr. Rene van der Duim
dr. Ingrid Visseren-Hamakers

prof. dr. Bob E.L. Wishitemi, Moi University, Kenya