TARA has enjoyed working with communities in Kenyan and around Africa over the years to conserve and promote the nation’s rock art heritage. Community involvement is critical to the management and conservation of rock art heritage.
TARA’s Engaging Model encompasses both education and engagement of local communities. Through the involvement of community members in conservation of rock art and cultural heritage, participants are empowered to actively manage their indigenous resources and the surrounding environment.
The model relies on facilitators and participants engaging with each other in order to share knowledge and experiences. The outcome is a mutually enriching exchange of ideas, common understanding and results in local management strategies and involvement mechanisms.
How does TARA engage communities?
Firstly, Community Engagers Workshops draw participants from different areas within a district together with community representatives from the regions. Topics of engagement include heritage, tourism and a specific project desired by the community. Engagers leave the workshop session with a developed work plan and report to be used for monitoring and evaluation of the project. They return to their communities where forums are held to raise local awareness and seek support of the proposed project.
Secondly, Trust for African Rock Art prides itself as a facilitator offering guidance and the implementation of conservation measures towards the development of a conservation and management plan. TARA also advises communities according to Environmental Impact Assessment findings and assists with mitigation measures towards sustainable development. Areas of expertise include marketing and promotion of the heritage site, development of branding and development of promotional resources such as posters, booklets, banners, stickers, flyers and products. Communities are assisted with obtaining grants for infrastructure such as a museum or school with additional user friendly facilities, fabrication of signage and the development of online communication vehicles such as a website. TARA’s ultimate goal is to improve livelihoods in a sustainable way.
Over the years, TARA has faced a multitude of challenges to do with project implementation. Some of the major challenges have centred on delays in disbursements, logistical problems relating to transportation, political constraints such as elections, increases in building costs and remote areas with difficult physical terrain, not to mention a lack of comfort during trips conducted by the project team.
Why are TARA projects successful?
Our projects are successful due to project objectives being aligned with project activities and the budget. A rigorous management system allows focus and ensures that all project objectives are prioritized and individually met. Significant benefits do flow from development actions that are properly considered through the carrying out of impact assessments, collection of information and proper planning and mitigation against negative impacts. Socio-cultural, economic and environmental impact assessment procedures allows the opportunity for all stakeholders to design their future. Monitoring and evaluation ensures there is accountability, fiscal responsibility, project performance and general education of the community.
The key to our success clearly lies in real community involvement, collaboration, capacity building, equity and empowerment of people in the countries in which we operate.
Kakapel, April 2008.
School group performing at Kakapel Community Centre.
Engager's Worksop Kisii.
Somaliland Rock Art Site.