Community support, training and upliftment:
The objective of the Ant Collection is to create sustainable tourism by means of conserving the environment around us, enriching the lives of our guests and staff alike as well as uplifting the community and providing as much skills development to the locals as possible.
Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill have chosen ACO as our local charity. We have over the last couple of years donated cash and meat directly for the soup kitchen as well as over 100 blankets for impoverished families. We were recently informed that there is a growing demand to contribute more towards the education of many of these under privileged children and have taken it upon ourselves to donate monthly towards the funding of education. The lodges also sponsor 3 local children by paying for their education at the Waterberg Academy which is the local private school.
Conservation projects and eco management:
Elsa’s Kopje has played a crucial role in the conservation of Meru National Park, a conservation area that covers 1 500 km². The park became famous for its association with George Adamson and during its heyday there were thousands of visitors a year. However, in the 1990s, organised bands of poachers had taken out so much of its wildlife to supply the bush meat trade, so that Kenya Wildlife Services were at the point of de-proclaiming the park. It was during these difficult times that Stefano Cheli and Liz Peacock started negotiations with KWS to establish a lodge in the area. Four years later they had the approval and in 1999 Elsa’s Kopje was opened. Today, Elsa’s Kopje still remains the largest investment ever made in the park; a risky project at that time, which proved to be incredibly successful and beneficial to the local communities and the fragile eco-system.
Governors' Camp Collection Responsible Tourism
For over 35 years Governors Camp and its clients have been working hand in hand with its community neighbours running community support and conservation programs that have delivered real results. In many cases, we are now working directly with the sons and daughters of community elders that they started working with 30 years ago. Governors Camp is extremely proud of its achievements. We will continue to work quietly on projects that our community neighbours ask us to support.
It is the policy of Governors’ Camp to support local communities in our area of operations. They recognize that in order to conserve these unique wild areas of Africa, the local communities must benefit directly from Tourism.
Mara Rianda primary School:
Together with our clients, Governors’ Camp has been supporting Mara Rianda Primary School near the Masai Mara for many years. To date, our support has included
The Mara Rianda Charitable Trust, a UK registered charity established in 2004 by clients of Governors' Camp has, together with Governors' Camp:
Masai Mara Biogas Project:
In a pioneering effort to combat deforestation and provide our community neighbours with a renewable source of energy Governors’ Camp funded the construction of two bio-gas plants in a Manyatta (traditional Masai homestead) near Mara Rianda village. This biogas plant uses the dung of cattle and goats corralled in the Manyattas at night to fuel the production of methane gas which is piped into each and every house in the Manyatta (over forty houses) for cooking on. The use of Biogas as a renewable source of energy for this Masai community has some clear benefits to both the environment and the local community and the capture and burning of methane prevents large quantities of methane (an extremely harmful greenhouse gas from entering the atmosphere and contributing to Global Warming.
Masai Mara Eye Clinic:
Governors’ Camp hosted a free eye clinic for the Masai Community in conjunction with the Kwale Eye Centre and AMREF. Eye disease which leads to poor eye sight and blindness is relatively common amongst the Masai communities living around the Masai Mara Game Reserve. Living in an area where there are lots of dangerous wild animals, blindness can be devastating for the Masai. In total 322 patients were brought in and screened for various eye conditions. 141 were operated on for cataracts and trachoma, and most dramatically 33 patients who had previously been blind had their sight restored.
Governors' Tree Planting Project:
We have a tree planting project in place where we plant on average 45 trees per month all indigenous.
In Masai Mara we also support, the Kenyan Kids on Safari Initiative, which works to provide Kenyan children with the opportunity to experience the wonder and uniqueness of their local wild environments. When local children participate in Kenya’s renowned wildlife viewing, camping and other life skills, it enhances each child’s personal development and self esteem. Some will become the future leaders determining the fate of Kenyan Wildlife reserves for the world. And we also work with the Mara Predator project which works to protect the lions of the Masai mara, we assist them in reported predator sightings and field data.
Loldia Primary School:
We support the Loldia Primary School close to Loldia House in Lake Naivasha. Through the support of our guests and our team the school has been completely rebuilt, making it one of the best schools in the region. Scholarships have been offered to primary school leavers to attend secondary school, and some of the brighter students have gone on to Universities in Kenya and South Africa. The school also serves the wider community offering evening adult literacy classes and a kindergarten. The Governors’ Camp Collection supports the work of the Loldia School Fund which is helping provide a standard of education that enables the children attending to better their circumstances and find a way out of the poverty that exists in this area of Kenya.
On Mfangano Island we support various local community projects, including two local schools and a clinic. At our local community primary school we have equipped classrooms with desks and blackboards, donated text and exercise books for the top two classes. We also provide logistical support and contractors to build classrooms and toilet facilities. Together with generous donations from our clients we have installed Solar Electricity into the primary school, are building a clinic to provide medical care for the local community and a nearby school has also been equipped with essential materials.
In addition to the above also support a Street Childrens trust close to our head office with mentorship, apprenticiship training and employment and we support a community recycling centre.
For more information on these projects please visit our website at: http://www.governorscamp.com/responsible-tourism/
Responsible Tourism Rwanda
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is a world-class lodge that was conceived, built and operated by Governors Camp. In partnership with the African Wildlife Foundation ("AWF") and its partner in Rwanda, the International Gorilla Conservation Program ("IGCP"), it was decided that ownership of the lodge would rest with a Community Trust to be set up specifically to receive rental and other income from the lodge, and to use that income to drive socio-economic development and conservation initiatives in the Kinigi area, which is adjacent to the Parc National des Volcans in North Western Rwanda.
A Community Trust, SACOLA, was established, business plans prepared, construction funds sourced and detailed architectural plans drawn up. In May 2006 all legal agreements were signed between Governors Camp’s Rwandese subsidiary, Governors Camp Rwanda Ltd, and SACOLA, and these agreements were indorsed by AWF / IGCP and the Organisation Rwandaise du Tourism et des Parcs Nationaux ("ORTPN"), the Rwandese Tourism and National Parks Authority. In June 2006 construction began, and the first clients were accommodated in mid-August 2007.
SACOLA began its socio-economic development programs and conservation initiatives in Kinigi, the area adjacent to the Parc National des Volcans, home of the Mountain Gorilla, in September 2007. It is believed that SACOLA's programs will both improve the livelihoods of residents in the Kinigi area and contribute in a meaningful way to conservation and preservation of the Mountain Gorilla and its fragile habitat. SACOLA's programs will also complement the excellent conservation work being done in the region by AWF (www.awf.org) and its local partner, IGCP (www.igcp.org).
To date Governors' Camp Collection has paid over US$500,000 to the SACOLA Community Trust to fund their projects which have included:
In addition to the aforementioned SACOLA activities, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is also contributing to wildlife conservation project in Gishwati Forest, a patch of natural forest situated at about 50 km from Volcanoes National Park. We provide technical advice to the Gishwati Forest Conservation Project in the development of eco tourism activities in the forest. We have helped with the creation of two hiking trails through the forest and we have contributed to the promotion of Gishwati Forest as an eco tourism destination. We have also just provided one year of salaries and field costs for one the tracking teams supporting the habituation and field research of a group of Chimpanzees in the forest.
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge has also provided field cameras to monitor the wildlife in Buhanga Forest (a small protected natural forest situated in Musanze area) this has confirmed the presence of Serval Cat in the forest. We are also contributing to the promotion of the forest as an eco tourism destination.
25% of the shares in Jaci’s Safari Camp (pty) ltd are held in the Jaci’s Staff Trust – any staff member who works for us for 5 years is then registered as a member of the Staff Trust and effectively becomes a shareholder in Jaci’s. To us this is true empowerment and means that the individuals working at Jaci’s to ensure your stay is memorable are partners in the business. To date there are 16 Staff Trust members and the dividend payment to the Jaci’s Staff Trust for our last financial year will be R225 000.00 – a real benefit indeed!
All the lodge laundry in done in the Molatedi Village by Mr Ramarula. He also delivers our gas and removes our rubbish.
The community has established a glass and plastic recycling facility in the Reserve – we are actively involved and send our recycling there each week.
Firewood is collected by an individual who gets the tender (from the local community). Jaci’s then buys from them.
The Madikwe Reserve itself was created to create jobs – through wildlife/tourism and as a result that is why there are only luxury Lodges in the Reserve. Day visitors are not permitted (they do not create enough permanent jobs) At Jaci’s we employ 56 permanent staff from the surrounding communities and have a committed approach to promoting form within and doing extensive training with all our staff.
In 2006 Stefano Cheli built Joy’s Camp in Shaba, another conservation backwater that received only very little income from tourism. The camp has opened up the eastern end of the reserve and has very good community relations, employing more than 70% of its staff from local communities and providing continuous training. Once again, Cheli & Peacock with the opening of Joy’s Camp, have put a vital and very beautiful area on Kenya’s map to ensure its sustained existence.
Contribute financially towards the Twyfelfontein Uibasen Conservancy
Hai/Kom Bushmen Trust
RPS understands that there is an interdependence between local communities and the wildlife and natural resources our safaris rely upon. Because we operate in rural areas that lack other opportunities, we can greatly impact people's lives. We therefore proactively ensure that local people benefit both financially and in terms of quality of life from our operations
The Kawaza School Fund is a private fund started by Robin Pope Safaris in 1988 to
assist in improving Kawaza Basic School, one of the local schools in the Nsefu Chiefdom.
Huge progress has been made at Kawaza Basic School and so The Kawaza School Fund has
expanded to assist three more schools: Nsefu Basic School, Kapita Community School and
Katapilla Community School.
in 2010 Robin Pope Safaris together with other tour operators in South Luangwa formed Project Luangwa, which as a whole, will better serve the community and its different projects. Kawaza School Fund is now managed by Project Luangwa and Robin Pope Safaris continues to actively raise funds for these four schools, the teachers and the many children involved, providing the high degree of support it always has.
The Reforest Nsefu, a tree planting project, started up in 2007 by RPS for the following reasons:
In addition to the tree planting projects, we are also looking into trying out more efficient cooking methods that will in time reduce the villagers dependency on firewood for fuel.
Pumulani supports local chiefs, facilitate tourist visits to villages in a responsible way, use local guides, and inform our clients of local customs, traditions, appropriate behavior, and their impact on local communities. We also educate neighbouring communities about the impacts of tourism to assist them in making informed decisions about tourism development. In order to benefit nearby people and businesses, we employ local staff and pay fair and competitive wages. Our purchasing policy ensures we purchase supplies locally whenever possible and contract local builders. RPS also supports community development initiatives by buying vegetables from a local agricultural project, by supporting a staff member and the orphans she cares for via her handicraft business, distributing guest philanthropy to worthy causes, and promoting guest tours to local villages to support their local businesses and school. We specifically work to improve school materials, teachers, and education standards, and support specific children with school fees.
The Tongabezi trust school
The Tongabezi Trust School was set up by Vanessa Parker, who was previously teaching as a volunteer in Livingstone. Vanessa is the wife of Ben, who established Tongabezi in 1990 together with the late William Ruck-Keene.
The school opened on 1 May 1996 and due to its huge success it has been growing ever since. Vanessa donates her time to the school on a purely voluntary basis. The school provides education to the Tongabezi staff children, as well as children from the local community, in an area where educational funding and materials are scarce.
Tujatane has grown from a pre-school class with 15 children into a primary school with 116 children. There are currently five classrooms an adjoining office/library, a computer room, a library and a storeroom. Tongabezi built the first classroom, the second classroom was funded purely by donations, the third classroom was funded by a team who completed the Three Peaks Challenge in the UK, and the fourth and fifth were funded by The Anthony Robbins foundation.
Tongabezi has a HUGE commitment to being environmentally friendly.
We have a serious HIV awareness program.
Mukuni Community Project
The Mukuni Community project is noteworthy and massively successful.
Tortilis Camp has leased 30,000 acres of land as a wildlife conservancy, from our neighboring Maasai Group Ranch. The area is an essential part of the Amboseli ecosystem, and we at Tortilis are ensuring that it remains pristine wilderness whilst also guaranteeing its owners, the Maasai, a steady and fair revenue stream from tourism.
In it for the long run.
The Wolwedans Foundation was established as a non-profit trust, funded by Wolwedans and private donors.
The focus areas are: Education, Conservation and Social Development.
The Wolwedans Education Support Program sees to the development of human capital through education and training, for both employees and local Namibians.
The Foundation established the Desert Academy in 2007, which affords young, aspiring Namibians the opportunity to earn while they learn the theory and practical basics of the hospitality industry. The Desert Academy was created with the support of the Namibian Tourist Board (NTB) and the National Training Authority (NTA) to assist in raising the skills level of the local tourism workforce and thus the quality of the Namibian hospitality product to a higher standard. We were honoured to be the only Namibian Lodge Company to be approached to run a ‘pilot’ course for Tourism & Hospitality.
In addition, nice (Namibian Institute of Culinary Education) is a chef training and finishing school, based in Windhoek. It was also established in 2007 and offers theoretical and practical training to young Namibians who wish to pursue a career in the culinary arts. Both the Desert Academy and nice are supported by the Wolwedans Foundation, and external donors.
The Wolwedans Foundation also continues to support NaDEET (The Namibian Desert Environmental Education Trust) in their efforts in environmental education and development of eco-friendly attitudes and skills in Namibia’s youth.
Vocational support & bursaries are also awarded to deserving employees who wish to further their studies or improve their skills, either fulltime or part-time.
The Foundation supports the NamibRand Nature Reserve’s interventions with funding, materials and assistance in kind, where possible.
In tandem with our education objective, we are committed to the social development of our employees (and thus their extended families). We endeavour to help ensure better and more respectful living conditions and promote more positive lifestyles for our employees.