Decentralization of wildlife management and implications for community benefit in Tanzania: a case of Robanda and Nyakitono villages in Serengeti district

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University of Dar es Salaam
This study examined the implications of decentralization of wildlife management in Tanzania to the communities’ access and benefit from wildlife resources in Robanda and Nyakitono villages of Serengeti district. It was conducted in 2012. The study examined how such decentralization has affected the local communities’ ability to access and benefit from wildlife resources within their localities. The study applied a qualitative research methodology. Data were gathered by using in–depth interviews, focus group discussions, documentary reviews and field observations. The study used an analytical framework that articulates the relationship between decentralized decision making power on natural resource management and the nature and distribution of benefits accruing from such decentralization. It shows how such relationship is embedded with power relations, which in reality mediates who and how one should benefit from such a process. The major findings from the study reveal that certain aspects of decentralization were followed, including local people’s participation in establishment of wildlife Management Areas (WMAs.) Ensuing benefits have included improvement of social service infrastructure; and some employment opportunities for local people. However, economic benefits in real terms have been meager, and there is minimal transparency regarding revenue realized from the operations of WMAs. In addition, there are still overriding powers for making decisions on the district authorities, who in principle are supposed to be the caretakers or overseers of local people’s rights to make decisions. This has sometimes caused a violation of the rules on wildlife protection which is contrary to earlier made agreements. These results illustrate how decentralization can sometimes be simply taken as a disguise to hide subtle exploitation, and has tarnished the whole intention of decentralizing wildlife management that the country had invested in. Based on these findings, the study concludes that there is, still hesitance to award local communities full authority regarding the Authorized Association in the practice of WMA control because they still lack the required power over WMA management. The WMA establishment has limited local communities’ access and ownership of natural resources as they have to pay some amount of money in order to access some areas they accessed free before the establishment of WMAs. Despite the fact that rural communities have invested substantial resources in establishing the WMAs, but they have not received any benefits which are commensurate to their efforts.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF JS113.T34N37)
Dicentralization in government, Wildlife Management areas, Community development, Robanda village, Nyakitoro village, Serengeti district, Tanzania
Nashon, G. (2016) Decentralization of wildlife management and implications for community benefit in Tanzania: a case of Robanda and Nyakitono villages in Serengeti district, Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam.