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  • Eli Bell

Fieldwork Planning

Following my arrival in Tanzania on February 8th, the research team eagerly anticipated swiftly commencing fieldwork activities, having apparently mistakenly understood the TAWIRI research permit was cleared and that COSTECH would be quick to follow. However, upon arrival, I was swiftly enlightened about the intricate challenges involved in securing final research permits in Tanzania. It became apparent that our planned camera deployment would not proceed as anticipated.

Navigating the bureaucracy of paperwork and permits in this context holds nuances that I have come to appreciate. Despite receiving guidance from both Canadian and Tanzanian project affiliates, hurdles persist. Despite dedicating more than a year to preparation and submitting applications well in advance of official procedural steps, delays persist.

Nonetheless, this unexpected and unwelcome delay has presented an invaluable opportunity to delve deeper into the sociopolitical landscapes where human-wildlife coexistence, and conflicts, reside. During this interlude, I have gained insights into the complex dynamics among NGOs, academic researchers, governmental entities, and local Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. Furthermore, I have come to understand some of the tensions that exist among various Maasai villages, each with differing perspectives and approaches to collaborative conservation initiatives and land management partnerships.

Other things to note...learning Swahili, RA dynamics, adjusting to life, adjusting to food, adjusting to sexism dynamics both within and external from my position as a researcher, more to come on this.


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