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Implications of Soda Ash Mining on the Livelihoods of Indigenous Maasai Community: A Case of Tata Chemicals Magadi, Kajiado County, Kenya

Abstract:

The study sought to investigate how Tata Chemicals Company Soda ash mining activities have affected the indigenous Maasai community’s livelihoods security. Kenya is a nation endowed with minerals such as oil, gas, diamonds, Gold and Uranium though in small quantities. The study adopted a case design and purposive sampling technique where interviews and observation were extensively used in data collection. Data were analysed qualitatively. The findings reveal that although the company has assisted the local community with water, improved social infrastructure like schools and health facilities including creation of employment for some local people in different sectors, it has caused serious negative environmental and social impacts on the environment and the people’s way of culture. This includes not only environmental degradation and removal of pasture, but also land alienation, which has pushed the local people far away from the region in search of pasture and water for their livestock. The study concludes that the Companies social responsibility programme should be enhanced to target reduction of extreme poverty especially when the community are seriously affected by chronic drought; and increase sponsorship of children from needy households to access education and technical skills as a longterm social security safety net. It recommends that both the County and National Governments should review the soda ash mining policy framework to ensure that the local community range groups earn a proportion of the Companies income to enable them rehabilitate the environment and boost the children to acquire education for the communities sustainable future.

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