Indigenous peoples' livelihoods threatened

According to the newly published “The Indigenous World 2018” by IWGIA, land grabbing is one of the biggest threats against indigenous peoples. Land-grabbing is rooted in different structural causes and is driven by a range of players. The case of Tanzania illustrates its pervasive consequences on indigenous land.

In most countries, the indigenous peoples are facing threats from governments that want to initiate huge infrastructure projects on their land, from private companies that want to expand their search for natural resources and from national park authorities that want to expand buffer zones for national parks and their wildlife. While Tanzania’s indigenous peoples face all these threats, the Maasai peoples are especially experiencing that their land is confiscated in the name of conservation.

A land conflict in the Loliondo area, northern Tanzania, has recently escalated between the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism and eight Maasai villages. For centuries, the Loliondo area has been used by Maasai pastoralists to graze their livestock and the communities have also obtained legal rights to the land. Despite this, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism has since 2009 tried to alienate more than 1.500 km2 of land from these Maasai villages on the broad justification of wildlife-conservation. The area in focus is a part of the Serengeti ecosystem that is home for many wildlife species and it constitutes 40 percent of the Loliondo area.

On the 5th of August 2017, the conflict escalated when Ngorongoro District Commissioner (DC), Mr. Rashid M. Taka, issued an order to relevant authorities that within five days they should remove all livestock from the so-called Serengeti National Park buffer zones, despite the Maasai villages’ legal claims to the area. After five days, law enforcers and special guards had burned down hundreds of houses and left more than 350 people homeless, many of whom were left to food insecurity, harassment and arbitrary arrest.

With a public outcry and pressure from civil society organizations and international institutions, including IWGIA, the government halted the evictions in November 2017 and the new Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism said that the evictions had been illegally designed, without properly following the procedures. There is, however, currently no clear way forward to permanently resolve the issues. It is not yet clear how long the indigenous peoples of Loliondo will remain in a peaceful situation, and their future is uncertain as the situation quickly can evolve again.



A civil society organization established to empower the indigenous pastoralists to recognize and advocate for their rights, sustainable livelihoods and equitable participation in sustainable natural resource governance.

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