Ol Pejeta, the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa is this year’s overall winner of the annual Ecowarrior Award. The 90,000-acre private wildlife conservancy – is situated on the equator, in Kenya’s Laikipia District, between the foot hills of the Aberdares and the magnificent snow-capped Mount Kenya.
During the Ecowarrior Award which was held on 27th Sep 2017 on the World Tourism Day, Ol Pejeta Conservancy won under SDG8, of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. SDG 8 states; Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
They proved worthy of the recognition by taking care of all the three P’s of sustainability; that is Profit making (business operation) People mindedness and protection of the planet.
Since inception, the conservancy is dedicated to increasing livelihood opportunities through employment, mentorship, support for local enterprise, promoting wellbeing of host communities, guaranteeing a future to workers through a well-designed staff welfare, investment and retirement program. The staff run a pension scheme and SACCO which avails financial assistance to staff for education and investment.
Ol Pejeta conservancy provides a market and market linkages for farm produce produced within the community. They support the Pamoja initiative which is community owned, to make and export wooden crafts. They also conduct village visits for their guests.
Other aspects of sustainable tourism are supported by this entity include the protection of the planet which is the main reason for their existence as explained above. Through the energy efficient jikos supplied to the community, they have reduced the use of firewood by 55% hence preserving forests. Ol Pejeta is also one of Kenya’s greatest income generator. Last year (2016) they payed dollars/Kshs? 244 million in national taxes, county levy and community support.
What the judges were looking for: Ol Pejeta did exceptionally well in a category that required commitment and action to advancing equal employment opportunities for local communities, youth, women and persons with disabilities. Applicants had to demonstrate application of same labour rights for local communities, women, youth and persons with disabilities. Promotion of employee welfare and development and discouraging child labor and sexual exploitation of children; and forced labor in the business and supply chain. Including commitment to Poverty eradication in the local community
It is the hope of the organizers -Ecotourism Kenya, the judges and partners, that tourism country wide will adopt the 3D style of implementing their company strategy to cater for tourism, environment and business. Hence bringing to life the sustainable tourism concept, that aims to achieve harmony between the environment, businesses and people of the planet.