Effects of Land Use Change on the Livelihoods of Indigenous Communities: A Case of the Ogiek Community of Mau East, Kenya

Betty C. Koskei, Erick Bor, Wokabi Mwangi


Land and other natural resources are critical for the survival of any community especially the indigenous and those living in marginal areas. Traditionally, Ogiek community was hunters and gatherers and has distinctive histories of interaction with the natural environment. They have depended on forests for food, medicine and shelter. In the 1990s’ Kenyan government initiated land resettlement of Ogiek households living in of Mau East, the land was demarcated and allocated to individuals in order to enable them live in a modern way and practice new methods of agriculture and trade. The study therefore, sought to investigate effects of land resettlement on socio-economic livelihoods of Ogiek households in Mau East. Through a cross –sectional survey, primary data was collected using sets of structured and semi-structured questionnaires and focused group discussions while secondary data was obtained from documented materials. To select respondents to be interviewed, snowball sampling was used to pick the household heads from the five locations in Mau East to give 150 respondents. The unit of analysis was household heads from the five locations in Mau East. The data was analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). Subsequently, descriptive statistics was used to describe the results, and Chi-square performed to explore the relative importance of a number of variables in examining the effects of land resettlement on socio-economic livelihoods of the Ogiek household. The results indicated that, resettlement led to introduction of formal education, primary health care, spread of Christianity, new sources of income, destabilization of social values and norms. It was concluded that, land resettlement transformed the Ogiek’s lifestyle of hunting and gathering to that of agriculture and entrepreneurship. It is recommended that creation of awareness and increasing access to educational facilities, infrastructure and technological improvements and, marketing of farm produces is needed. Further, it is anticipated that the findings of the study will add to the knowledge of policy makers on improving the socio-economic livelihoods of the Ogiek households in general.

Keywords: Natural Environment, Land Resettlement, Livelihoods, Ogiek

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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