The Kitengela Footbridge Project
Project title: THE KITENGELA FOOTBRIDGE PROJECT
Current status: Ongoing Concluded
Duration (est.)/dates: December 2006 – August 2008
Partner entities: Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS); Kitengela Ilparakau Land Owners Association (KILA); the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife of Kenya; the African Conservation Centre; Cordaid; SNV Kenya
Source(s) of Funding: ST-EP Foundation
Executing Agency: Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS)
Main project objectives: to empower and bring about the economic benefits of tourism to the community of Kitengela (51 families, 251 people), by developing a market oriented cultural product.
The pastoralists in the Kitengela community, which borders Nairobi National Park, are organised in the Kitengela Ilparakau Land Owners Association (KILA). They have worked with different NGOs in the implementation of development projects, such as the establishment of the Olmakao Cultural Village. However, the number of visitors to the village remained low, as it was difficult for tourists to reach the village. Therefore, the construction of a footbridge over the river Mbagathi was identified as a crucial opportunity to organize short excursions to the cultural village for tourists visiting Nairobi National Park.
The project’s main activity focused on the construction of the bridge, which was completed in August 2008 and connects one of the main picnic areas at Nairobi National Park (hippo pool) with the Olmakau Village in Kitengela. While the construction works were ongoing, community members received training on handicraft production (25 women), tour guiding (3 people) and an exchange visit to another cultural village was organized. Entrance fees were set at USD 15/ person based on consultation with tour operators and the prices charged by other cultural villages. A promotional brochure was developed and information included in a blog www.olmakau.wordpress.com
Main project outputs/deliverables:
As a result of capacity building, 3 tour guides started guiding the visitors along the activities proposed at Kitengela: nature walk, traditional dances, camping, home-stay, herding, milking, drawing of blood from a cow and fire making. Women artisans created a makeshift market where they sell their wares, and some other members of the communities provide tourists with traditional dance performances. A Committee was established at the village to oversee the sharing of revenue accrued from visitors and to invest part of the earnings in community development projects.
Remarks: The constructed bridge offers the possibility to the Kitengela community to sell goods and services to tourists. A new lodge has been constructed near the village which has helped increase the number of visitors, and further efforts are made to continue diversifying and market the products.