Mtwapa: Utilisation of Marine Cultural Heritage by a Multicultural Community

Project Description

Human population pressure is gradually exerting pressure on a number of heritage sites across the country resulting to tension between managers of heritage sites and local community members. This is especially common along the coast of Kenya with the public seeking to be included in the management of such heritage in line with the Kenya’s constitution which emphasizes the need for public participation in management of any public asset (Republic of Kenya, 2010). This project focuses on Mtwapa Heritage Site (MHS) which is one among many heritage sites in Kenya that are gradually but menacingly being engulfed with population pressure, notwithstanding the fact that it is a gazetted national heritage having been gazetted in 1935. The site is located 20 kilometres north of Mombasa in Kilifi County next to Mtwapa town, a fast growing town (See satellite image attached) and it is nestled within a small thick forest with an expansive beachfront, where Mtwapa creek meets Indian Ocean. Currently, the only access road to the beach and the ocean by local community members is through MHS. However, the management of National Museums of Kenya (NMK) plans among other things to erect a perimeter fence around the site virtually cutting off accessibility to the ocean by anyone. This is envisaged to bring tension, hence the proposed project will not only collect data on available resources and challenges but it will also bring together, key stakeholders including Mtwapa Beach Banders Operators with the aim of bridging the gap between local community members and NMK management. This project recommendation therefore will inform future management practices at MHS in order to make management of such heritage sites more community focused


Location: Kenya

PI: Wycliffe Omondi (National Museums of Kenya)

Co-Is: Ibrahim Namunaba (Pwani University)

Partners: National Museums of Kenya, Pwani University, Kilifi County Government and Mtwapa Beach and Banda Operators

Size: Medium