Through the Eyes of Hunter-Gatherers: participatory 3D modelling among Ogiek indigenous peoples in Kenya

Authors: Giacomo Rambaldi, Julius Muchemi, Nigel Crawhall and Laura Monaci

The participatory mapping of their ancestral territories stimulated community cohesion among the Ogiek indigenous people of Kenya and helped them to appreciate their unique cultural identity and indigenous knowledge system.


The participatory three-dimensional modelling (P3DM) exercise discussed in this paper is part of a 2006–2008 project aimed at ‘Strengthening the East African Regional Mapping and Information Systems Network’. The project was implemented by the NGO Environmental Research Mapping and Information Systems in Africa (ERMIS-Africa), and technically and financially supported by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee (IPACC). In parallel to fulfi lling its main objective, the initiative provided the Ogiek indigenous people with an opportunity to apply P3DM to their situation of vulnerability, land and natural resource loss. The Ogiek application of the participatory methodology whilst mapping out their ancestral territories served as a training ground for representatives from nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and indigenous peoples1, community-based organizations (CBOs) from ten African countries in practicing participatory GIS (PGIS) methods and specifi cally P3DM in the contexts of collaborative natural resource management, customary resource tenure, and safeguarding cultural identities.

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