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Facing Kirinyaga: philanthropic tourism in rural Kenya

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posted on 31.01.2017, 04:29 by Lacey, Gary Terence
The under researched genre of Philanthropic Tourism, which sees holidaymaking paired with philanthropy through visits to charitable field projects forms the focus of this study. While the class is closely related to volunteer tourism it differs in that not all visitors are volunteers but they are either existing supporters of the project or are regarded by the charity as potential future supporters. An examination is conducted of a philanthropic visitor program at a now defunct school and AIDS orphanage in an impoverished region of Kenya's Central Highlands. In order to investigate the Philanthropic Tourism experience, the impacts of visits on relevant stakeholders and the effectiveness of tourism as a partner in poverty alleviation, an ethnographic, case-study approach was adopted in which the researcher embedded himself in the school and the local community for a period of three months. To supplement the field research, interviews were conducted with past visitors and visitor blogs and vlogs were examined, as were official documents. The study reveals several barriers to poverty alleviation through philanthropic involvement as well as key success factors in incorporating tourism into a charitable field project's activities. In addition, a number of theories in the social sciences and tourism are engaged and expanded upon as a result of the study and comments are made regarding the sustainability of the tourism type.


Campus location


Principal supervisor

Betty Weiler

Additional supervisor 1

Victoria Peel

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre



Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type



Faculty of Business and Economics