BEST TOUR OPERATOR IN PROMOTING COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
PART 5 OF 6
This award category recognized efforts made by tour operators to promote community development by fostering business inclusivity and involving top management directly in their initiatives.
Gamewatchers Safaris Ltd emerged as the leading tour operator in Kenya in this category.
Responding to local challenges faced in areas of operation for tour operators is a way of promoting community development. Gamewatchers support a number of initiatives aiming to improve the lives of local communities. They also facilitate opportunities for visitors to make contributions.
Let’s explore some of those initiatives they have undertaken.
They have contributed to the local community development in a number of ways;
- Smart Learning Project; Through this project, Gamewatchers Safaris Ltd provides solar-powered tablets which complement the Competency-Based Curriculum system. Over 2,000 pupils in 5 schools are in this project. This project extends to adults in vocational training regardless of gender.
- The Maarifa Education Conservation Awareness Program; This program provides education support and opportunity through the provision of bursaries. The bursaries cover the costs of uniforms, books, school activities/trips and solar lamps. Around 120 students around Selenkay and Ol Kinyei conservancies benefit from this. The students are also exposed to conservation and wildlife knowledge at a young age.
- Ol Kinyei Bursary Fund: The fund aims to improve access to education, improve gender equality in education in the community, assist transitions to the next level of education, and improve retention and completion rates for schooling. They are supporting some families in Ol Kinyei with the fund to cover necessities such as uniforms, books and school activities They also support school rehabilitation projects. They have supported over 40 families with school fees from primary to tertiary levels of education.
14 community rangers from Ol Kinyei Conservancy graduated in late February 2022;
- Koiyaki Guiding School Scholarship Fund; It was set up to create opportunities for promising youth who show a passion for wildlife and conservation, but who may not be able to afford the school fees to train as guides. They also invite guests to donate to the fund.
2. Water, Health and Sanitation
In regards to water supply, Gamewatchers drilled solar-powered boreholes in collaboration with the Davis & Shirtliff Group in Selenkay villages and donated water tanks in the Mara in collaboration with the Mara Project.
Here is a short documentary in partnership with Davis & Shirtliff and World Wildlife Fund on the water supply project; https://youtu.be/IPirFsdzsIY
For health and sanitation, they have constructed toilets to schools near Selenkay and Ol Kinyei Conservancies.
Within Ol Kinyei Conservancy, they have organized medical outreach activities on hygiene, maternity, and cleft lip surgery. In addition, working with MadPad, they have created awareness of menstrual hygiene and issued 427 reusable sanitary towels.
In support of economic development within the community, projects such as beekeeping, lion-proofing livestock bomas, and the installation of the solar-powered milk cooling plant have been put in place and are active. The milk coolant is benefiting 18 women while the beekeeping is supporting 14 women & some youth groups.
Women Self-Help Group receives Milk Coolant; https://youtu.be/nqW_6YQKf-4
In order to successfully carry out these initiatives, Gamewatchers employ strategies that give room for more inclusivity of the local communities. They are open in the planning, implementation and review stages of the projects. They encourage participation of the locals by using open meeting spaces and communicating with community leaders to invite more members of the community to take part.
Gamewatchers view the community as crucial stakeholders and consider their interests and needs in projects. This is a step to achieving a holistic impact on the community with corporate social responsibility or community-focus activities. Group ranch committees have youth and women represented in the meetings they hold to discuss issues, updates and potential projects. The group ranch officials and committee members also meet with top Gamewatchers management to give updates and development around the projects.
Connect with Gamewatchers Safaris.
At the 2022 Eco Warrior Awards Gala Ceremony;
The Best Tour Operator in Promoting Community Development award category was sponsored by the Kenya Association of Tour Operators.