Christine Adongo’s PhD project targets two locations in the central Rift Valley, Olkaria in Nakuru County, and Suswa in Narok and Kajiado Counties. These areas are occupied by the once nomadic pastoral group, the Masai, known for having huge herds of livestock. Historically Masai had solely depended upon these herds for sustenance. The central Rift is also endowed with unique geological resources that has enabled Kenya to implement a geothermal project in Olkaria, which is also a wildlife conservation area (Hell’s Gate National Park). Geothermal projects have contributed significantly to national electricity production and plans for further expansion within the Greater Olkaria Geothermal Area are underway.
For many years, however, the local “indigenous” Masai population has struggled against geothermal and other developments in order to retain their cultural areas and cultural livelihood pattern “transhumance pastoralism”. My project seeks to understand the social and ecological transition that has occurred as a result of geothermal implementation, the struggle for resources and how communities have responded and adapted to these changes, mobilized themselves to claim their cultural rights, and negotiated for coexistence with development in a space they consider ancestrally theirs.