Botswana

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African Bushcamps, Linking tourism and the future

African Bushcamps, Linking tourism and the future

African Bushcamps supports communities
African Bushcamps supports communities
African Bushcamps

 

BY : SHELLEY COX

www.africanbushcamps.com

As one of the most successful wildlife conservation models in Africa, Botswana has embraced the theory of bridging the gap between commercial tourism and community empowerment. By ensuring that the population as a whole is directly benefiting from tourism, Botswana has united its people in a long-term effort to protect its wildlife and wilderness areas.

Two keys aspects of community involvement and empowerment which have measurable long-term benefits are education and the creation of sustainable income generating projects. African Bush Camps, working in collaboration with the African Bush Camps Foundation, have made these two aspects important pillars of their current operations in the country.

Having worked with the villagers and chiefs within the Khwai Community Area to assess and identify their most important needs, the Foundation has been securing funding to establish a primary school facility to educate future generations within this area. In addition, the Foundation is currently looking to provide additional borehole units for the elderly to have closer access to water.

In the Linyanti region, the Foundation has been conducting a series of business training/skills development courses to interested parties and communities - one of which has since set up the Vuche Vuche project - a basket weaving business which creates locally made crafts for sale to tourists.

Late last year, the Foundation hosted a soccer tournament which bought together the various communities within the Chobe Enclave to showcase and celebrate their sporting skills, create enhanced community engagement and allow for dialogue to assess their most relevant needs.

As a result, the Foundation is now in the final stages of assisting the community to establish projects focusing on education and skill-set development. From this, the community will be able to set up and run their own sustainable income-generating projects and there will be a positive impact on the preservation of the wildlife and cultures in this region as a whole.

It is evident that it will no longer suffice for companies to operate in the country without ensuring they are having a positive and powerful impact on the development and inclusion of the communities surrounding tourist facilities and areas.