Study Site #6 – Natron, Tanzania
The Lake Natron Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is in the process of being created, so it will represent a valuable site for examining the entire process of rolling out the WMA program in Tanzania. This key area occupies the biodiversity-rich Rift Valley basin surrounding Lake Natron, which is the breeding ground for East Africa’s famous flamingoes. The region is adjacent to the South Rift area of southern Kenya, so close relations exist between the Kenyan Lodokilani and the Tanzanian Kisongo Maasai communities. Much discussion has recently focused on whether Tanzania should create a soda ash production company to exploit the Natron soda resources, on the model of the Magadi Soda Company in southern Kenya, which would disrupt the breeding grounds of the flamingo populations. Also under discussion is the construction of a trans-Serengeti Road that would link the Lake Victoria basin to Arusha, which would pass through Loliondo (see below) and the Natron area, up to now quite isolated from outside influence. Our partner organization, Sauti Moja, has been involved in this area for many years.
Alicia Moria recently completed her M.A. in Anthropology at McGill (supervised by John Galaty). Her research focused on the governance dynamics of the Lake Natron WMA. After her graduation, Alicia returned to the Lake Natron area as an Oceanpath Fellow to work with Sauti Moja providing information to community members about WMAs.