Date of Award
Master of Arts
Kente weavers in Kpetoe are in a precarious position, operating as small business owners and artisans residing on the periphery of Ghana, both geographically and in craft production. The weavers have struggled to find economic stability as rural artisans in a globalized economy. Initiatives brought about by local and international organizations have been largely focused on increasing tourism as a form of economic development in the community. In this thesis, I focus on the planning and implementation of the ecotourism center built in Kpetoe in 2010 through a partnership between the Nature Conservation Research Center (NCRC), a Ghanaian NGO led by an American, and the Peace Corps. This ecotourism center was built to serve as a hub for visitors, the primary “tool” given to the community by NCRC to pursue an increased focus on tourism. Today, the ecotourism center sits unused and unable to fulfill NCRC’s goals for the space due to limited financial means and access within the community. My study of the ecotourism center reveals that the top-down nature of development persists even when “alternative” development strategies are employed, resulting in a failure to address key concerns of the population. This thesis seeks to understand the major challenges the community faces in the context of larger themes in development and Ghana. In evaluating the project of the ecotourism center I demonstrate ways that the model used by NCRC and Peace Corps failed to address certain challenges to kente weavers.
Taylor Alyse Mithelman
Mithelman, Taylor Alyse, "Craft production, development, and tourism: Evaluating the kente business in Kpetoe, Ghana" (2019). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 17516.