The University of Arizona

From critique to engagement: re-evaluating the participatory model with Maasai in Northern Tanzania

Mara J. Goldman, Saningo Milliary


Participatory methods for conservation and development have been critiqued on practical, political, and theoretical grounds. In this article, we address these critiques but move beyond critique to propose ways to improve participatory techniques with local communities. We discuss a customary model of communication used by Maasai communities in Tanzania and Kenya (the enkiguena, meeting) as a starting point to begin thinking about ways to improve participation on the ground with Maasai and potentially others. We discuss the value of the enkiguena ideals as a theoretical model to build dialogues across, within, and between multiple knowledge expressions and power relations.

Key words: Maasai, enkiguena, participatory techniques.

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