Background and activities

PhD Project: Livelihoods in Contested Lands: Natural Resource Policies and Poverty Alleviation in the Greater Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem.

Objective: Explore the ways in which natural resources conservation policies address the development needs of local people in a context of differing values and interests.

Brief outline:

This PhD project is based on ethnographic fieldwork and analysis of different policy documents in Kenya and Tanzania. It intends to address the following three major questions.

  • How do policy making stakeholders view the relationship between resource conservation and economic development?
  • How do resources policies address concerns about future development of local communities?

  • How do narratives translate into practice? or, How are the different values and interests reflected in practice?

It will be approached by examining how different stakeholders in policy making and local communities view the relationship between nature conservation and economic development in the context of wildlife conservation. Through analysis of policy documents the researcher intends to explore 1) how policies address concerns about future development of local communities, 2) what local economic development implies in these policy documents, and 3) whose interests and views on conservation and development these policy documents reproduce. The project will use stakeholder interviews and documents analysis to evaluate ideologies and priorities of different groups towards economic development of the communities and content analysis to evaluate how that is reflected in policies.   

Study areas: The Greater Serengeti-Mara ecosystem is a vast savannah landscape stretching between Tanzania and Kenya. It includes the famous Serengeti National Park (Tanzania), the Maasai Mara National Reserve (Kenya) and surrounding private and community protected conservation areas.


  • Haakon Lein- Department of Geography, NTNU
  • Tor A. Benjaminsen- Department of International Environment and Development Studies -Noragric, NMBU


Scientific, academic and artistic work

Displaying a selection of activities. See all publications in the database

Journal publications

Part of book/report

  • Weldemichel, Teklehaymanot; Etana, Mesele Abera. (2017) The Need for Transformation: Local Perception of Climate Change, Vulnerability and Adaptation Versus ‘Humanitarian’ Response in Afar Region, Ethiopia. Climate Change Adaptation in Africa: Fostering Resilience and Capacity to Adapt.



  • Weldemichel, Teklehaymanot. (2019) BBC Focus on Africa program: On Land Issues in Kenya. [Radio]. 2019-02-06.
  • Weldemichel, Teklehaymanot. (2019) Guns, fire and violence in the name of conservation in Loliondo, Tanzania.
  • Weldemichel, Teklehaymanot. (2018) Das Ende der Freiheit?. [Avis]. 2018-02-05.
  • Weldemichel, Teklehaymanot. (2017) Fencing-in oneself: Understanding the fencing crisis in Maasai Mara, Kenya.
  • Weldemichel, Teklehaymanot. (2016) Climate change, vulnerability and adaptation versus ‘humanitarian’ responsein Afar region, Ethiopia.