MS-B Final Defense - Eric Dobbrastine - May 1

Date: May 1, 2015
Location: RM 130 Natural Resources

Exploring the Potential of Volunteer Tourism as a Means of Development for the Batwa of Kanungu District, Uganda

STPAM MS-B Final Defense

By

Eric Dobbrastine

Friday, May 1, 2015

4 p.m.

Room 130, Natural Resources Building

 Abstract

As the tourism industry has evolved, many different niches have emerged with increasing attention to sustainability. Volunteer tourism is one of these niches, developed around the idea of ‘giving back’ to host communities. While volunteer tourism programs can potentially result in some negative outcomes, there are plenty of positive outcomes that can result, if programs are planned, implemented and evaluated properly. This project explores the potential of volunteer tourism programs in assisting the development of the Batwa, traditional hunter-gatherers who inhabited the forests of southwest Uganda for thousands of years before being evicted by the Ugandan government in the early 1990s. Although a couple decades have passed since their eviction, the Batwa continue to struggle with life outside of the forest and sit at the bottom of Uganda’s social hierarchy. As tools for evaluating the feasibility of volunteer tourism with the Batwa of Kanungu District, Uganda, interview and focus group templates were created to gather the thoughts of the Batwa, and a survey to gather those of tourists. The project then offers best practices for successful and sustainable volunteer programs, collected from various scholarly works, and offers potential programs based on personal observations in the various Batwa settlements in Kanungu District. Finally, post-program evaluation tools were created to gather feedback from the Batwa and volunteers, and to guide future development and management of volunteer tourism programs in an effort to maximize benefits for the Batwa while also meeting the expectations of volunteers.

 

Committee Members:

  • Dr. Sarah Nicholls, Chairperson
  • Dr. Robert Richardson
  • Dr. Christine Vogt