Major

Geography/Environmental Science dual degree

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Amy Sumpter

Keywords

tanzania, geography, social science, GIS, infrastructure, development, LDCs, community need, surveys

Abstract

Cities throughout the African continent have been developing at an unprecedented pace, many of them due to the influence of the tourism industry. This is particularly true in Tanzania, a country famous for its national parks and their draw to tourists who help provide money for development. However, the only way to get the whole story on how to spend this money is through the experiences and needs of the people themselves. This study focuses on a small town in northeastern Tanzania, Mto wa Mbu, situated near Lake Manyara National Park, and its people’s perceptions of the park and community. I conducted 72 semi-structured, opportunistic interviews with residents of varying demographic backgrounds. Agriculture, tourism, and the environment were the most important community features (not the park). Over half of participants thought the park was within the community, and 25% perceived it as separated. There was an overwhelming need for better hospitals, schools, and interior roads. In response to the need for interior infrastructure, which residents depend on but much of which is impassable in the wet season, a map of improvement priorities was generated using GPS and GIS. Ultimately, the results of the study should assist the community of Mto wa Mbu – its leaders, its people, and its park – in future land use and urban planning by demonstrating the importance of listening to the voices of the people. Furthermore, the study aims to catalyze the improvement of infrastructure essential to the livelihoods of residents. The results show the steps that need to be taken and provide recommendations for how people, the government, and the national park can work together effectively to bridge the wide gap that currently exists between these actors for the ultimate benefit of all of them.

Jessica_ISP.xlsx (131 kB)
Qualitative data summary & statistics.

 

Mapping community space and place in Mto wa Mbu, Tanzania through surveys and GIS

Cities throughout the African continent have been developing at an unprecedented pace, many of them due to the influence of the tourism industry. This is particularly true in Tanzania, a country famous for its national parks and their draw to tourists who help provide money for development. However, the only way to get the whole story on how to spend this money is through the experiences and needs of the people themselves. This study focuses on a small town in northeastern Tanzania, Mto wa Mbu, situated near Lake Manyara National Park, and its people’s perceptions of the park and community. I conducted 72 semi-structured, opportunistic interviews with residents of varying demographic backgrounds. Agriculture, tourism, and the environment were the most important community features (not the park). Over half of participants thought the park was within the community, and 25% perceived it as separated. There was an overwhelming need for better hospitals, schools, and interior roads. In response to the need for interior infrastructure, which residents depend on but much of which is impassable in the wet season, a map of improvement priorities was generated using GPS and GIS. Ultimately, the results of the study should assist the community of Mto wa Mbu – its leaders, its people, and its park – in future land use and urban planning by demonstrating the importance of listening to the voices of the people. Furthermore, the study aims to catalyze the improvement of infrastructure essential to the livelihoods of residents. The results show the steps that need to be taken and provide recommendations for how people, the government, and the national park can work together effectively to bridge the wide gap that currently exists between these actors for the ultimate benefit of all of them.