Gendered issues and contested benefits: The case of Laikipia’s Maasai Cricket Warriors
Graham R.L. Fox, “Gendered issues and contested benefits: The case of Laikipia’s Maasai Cricket Warriors”, Mambo! Volume XIV, (1) 2017
Though many feminist and postcolonial scholars question the utility of sport as a platform for social development (Giles and Lynch 2012), sport-based development initiatives – particularly in Kenya – continue to receive significant funding and media attention. This working paper discusses a group of young Maasai men who are members of development-focused cricket team called the Maasai Cricket Warriors. Founded in 2007 by a South African conservationist, the Maasai Cricket Warriors have succeeded in attracting international sponsorship while being of questionable benefit to its members and their community.
The ostensible successes of this sport-for-development organization are complicated by several issues which were gleaned through my participant observations with them over a series of months in mid-2016. I will analyze how this group of young Maasai compete for the benefits provided by donors both amongst each other and with the donor itself. This paper also describes how the competition for scarce resources is intensified by the racialized structures that Maasai must navigate in order to profit from donor programs.