Can rock art in Africa reduce poverty?

  • Author: Terry Little, Gloria Borona
  • Topic: Heritage studies,Rock art studies
  • Country: Kenya, Tanzania
  • Related Congress: 13th Congress, Dakar

Two of the core missions of TARA, the Trust for African Rock Art, a Nairobi-based NGO, are to create awareness of African rock art and to promote and support its conservation. From TARA’s experiences in the past decade, it believes that one of the most effective ways to conserve rock art is by engaging local communities in ways that ensure they are beneficiaries of any conservation efforts. In 2008, TARA’s partnership with the people of Mfangano Island culminated with the official opening the Abasuba Community Peace Museum, the gateway to the island’s rock art heritage. This museum is among the first community museums in Kenya and the project has become a model for other projects the organization is undertaking in Kenya and Tanzania. TARA received a grant from the Kenyan Tourism Trust Fund for the project in order to promote rock art tourism to the region, a priority circuit for the Kenyan Government. The authors use this project to illustrate that rock art, if properly managed, can contribute to reducing poverty. They review the challenges of developing and implementing the project and those ahead as they strive to ensure its positive impact and sustainability.

Keywords: rock art, Africa, community, management, valorization, tourism

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