Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Nikoi Kote-Nikoi

Second Advisor

Kanthie Athukorala


Eco-tourism is generically and broadly considered to be a trendy topic for the privileged traveler to obtain an “authentic cultural experience”. This paper aims to disprove common misperceptions and present failures the system has created. Eco-tourism is an over-exploited and under-utilized tool in the field of sustainable development. Many resorts and “cultural” tours dominant, while local people suffer economically, social and environmentally. However, in the far-reaches of the Kakamega rainforest, there is group that is filling the environmental, social and economic gap in the field of sustainable tourism. They are the Isecheno Women’s Conservation Group, empowering and educating women to become community leaders in environmental education and cultural preservation. It is also a group that embodies economic empowerment for women, enabling women to earn more income through tourism than through continuous degradation of the rainforest in which they live and depend on. By becoming role models in their community, educating their peers, and stewards for their culture, the women of Isecheno collaborated on a project to advance themselves economically. The result of the project is an on-going, collaborative and inspirational group of women who continue to expand their economic potential in environmentally conscious-schemes such as bee keeping and tree-nursery development.


Civic and Community Engagement | Community-Based Learning | Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations | Gender and Sexuality | Tourism | Tourism and Travel


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