Purpose – Archaeological, palaeontological and geological research has been conducted in Kenya for many years. These research efforts have resulted in exceptional depth of understanding of the region's cultural heritage including those with rock art. Unfortunately, very few of the research programmes have engaged communities as active participants in conservation and consumers of the research findings. The purpose of this paper is to report how collaboration between the National Museums of Kenya and the Trust of African Rock Art (TARA) is creating a link between research, conserving heritage and community engagement. Design/methodology/approach – An overview of two rock art tourism community projects undertaken by TARA will reveal that engaging communities and disseminating research findings does not only foster preservation of sites but is critical in transforming rock art sites into economic endeavours whose outcomes are providing alternative livelihoods. Findings – Community engagement remains the only viable way of ensuring long-term conservation of heritage sites going forward. Originality/value – TARA is the only organization conducting this kind of work in the African continent. This case study therefore, provides authentic information on local community involvement as a conservation strategy in the African context.
Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 17, 2014