Charities supported by Expert AfricaWe believe that 'responsible' travel companies should do a lot more than simply give donations to charities. To us, practicing responsible travel means being responsible in the way that we work it's something that pervades what we do on a day to day basis. For a more in-depth look at what that means please visit our Responsible Travel page.
However, in addition to this, we also contribute to charities and NGOs that are relevant to the areas that we travel to and recently we have started to think about how we can be more strategic on this front. We aim to make our donations more structured and efficient and ultimately for them to have a wider and greater impact. This forms part of an extensive review of our sustainability strategy which we are currently undertaking.
AITO Project PROTECTIn 2017 AITO, the Association of Independent Tour Operators, launched 'Project PROTECT' - a sustainability initiative which encourages AITO members to follow a more targeted sustainability strategy, and to complete a pledge. Here at Expert Africa we have been working on a quantifiable pledge to strengthen our ongoing sustainability work.
Read more about our pledge and the AITO project here...
Our pledge is focusing on what we think is one of the main reasons our travellers wish to travel to Africa, the 'Big 5'. As we currently work with Save the Rhino, and have supported various causes for the charity throughout the years, we're focusing on critically endangered rhinos in particular. We also aim to bring benefits to those living alongside these magnificent animals. With this in mind, Expert Africa has pledged £5,000 to help financially support Little Ndaba, a women's group in Lusaka, Zambia, which crafts and sells organic cotton animal toys, in collaboration with Save the Rhino. We will also contribute our time, in terms of business expertise and marketing support to the project.
As part of the final pledge, we will also aim to make a financial contribution of £15,000 throughout 2018 to other community-based projects linked with different aspects of conservation in some of the countries most visited by our travellers.
For now however we've simply listed a few of the charities and projects that we are currently working with and that we've worked with in the past.
Ongoing charity projectsWe've always tried to focus on small projects or local charities in need of extra funding, seldom are they high-profile causes with big PR budgets:
- We're currently supporting The Mlambe Project, an education charity based in Malawi. The charity aims to establish a successful social enterprise in sustainable earth bag building techniques in Malawi, while also providing better education for the children of Malambe School.
- We're currently supporting Project Luangwa, a charity formed by the safari operators of Zambia's South Luangwa National Park, that's helping to provide education and sanitary resources to children throughout the country. We are helping to support the Edulution initiative in Luangwa schools - you can read more about Project Luangwa, or find details on Edulution here.
- We're delighted to be able to continue our support for a fantastic local company in Kigali, Rwanda: Azizi Life. Initially started to help empower local women, the various cooperatives are now run by both women and men in several areas across Rwanda, producing beautifully handcrafted, fair-trade, artisan products - and if you're out in Rwanda, you can visit the studio, meet the teams and get creative in one of their workshops! Azizi Life not only supports rural Rwandans by providing a platform to showcase their work, but it also offers travellers a genuine insight into, and chance to experience, their craft. Our donations will help support their Adult Literacy Project continue to grow and inspire.
- We're pleased to have supported Empowering Women Farmers in Tourism project in Malisita, Tanzania,in 2017. This initiative, run by Equality in Tourism, aims to enable women farmers to learn how to farm, store and sell their produce more efficiently. Our donation gave two local women six full months of training, advice and support to kickstart their farms and new business. ( Find out more, and see how you can help support them, here...)
Previously supported charity projects
- We have provided regular donations to Mkasanga School in Zambia, which is supported by the excellent Tafika Fund. With 800 children at the school it's always a battle to make sure there is enough equipment for everyone, and so our contribution covers the cost of all their stationary. (Read more about the Tafika Fund...)
- We contributed to the Save the Rhino Trust in Namibia - a non-governmental organisation which helps protect the population of desert-adapted black rhino in Damaraland. Trackers patrol the area on camels to help deter poachers and monitor population numbers. Our contributions help cover the cost of the camel's food, veterinary care and general upkeep costs, and remuneration of the trackers and camel keepers. (Read more about Save the Rhino Trust Namibia...)
- We made several donations to Conservation Lower Zambezi - a non-governmental organisation which aims to reduce poaching and misuse of resources in Zambia's Lower Zambezi. We started by purchasing three new GPS devices to replace their existing supply which were old and worn as this equipment is integral to their work, and over the course of the next three years we donated a further five devices. We also donated two digital SLR cameras; one for use in documenting the anti-poaching patrol's efforts and another for recording and promoting CLZ's environmental education work in remote schools and villages. A further donation went to buying an air to ground radio for use on anti-poaching patrols. (Read more about Conservation Lower Zambezi...)
- Our donations helped build the Hanada Orphanage in Mfuwe, Zambia. This is the first orphanage in the area and supports over 300 children. However the growing numbers mean they are now relocating to a new site requiring the construction of new buildings. Our initial contribution helped finance the construction of the office, kitchen and admin buildings. (Read more about the Hanada Orphanage...)
- We were the official sponsors of 'The Really Wild Picture Show 2008' (run by Friends of Conservation), which raised money for The Cheetah Conservation Fund. Based near Otjiwarongo, in Namibia, they research best practice for conservation and management of the world's cheetahs and this event helped them gain a greater awareness of their cause. (Read more about The Cheetah Conservation Fund...)
- Tourism Concern is an important pressure-group in the movement for more responsible tourism. We have been a member of the Ethical Tour Operators Group (ETOG) - an offshoot of Tourism Concern - since it was founded. We have helped it to finance several small projects, from an impact assessment of tourism on Zanzibar to a set of leaflets advising travellers about practical steps to make their travel more responsible.
- The Kawaza Village Project is a community project run by the villagers of Kawaza themselves. They offer tourists a rare opportunity to truly experience Kundu Culture and their village way of life by staying with them from one night up to seven. The profits are ploughed back into the village. For many years, Expert Africa has donated all of our commission on any bookings for time at Kawaza directly to their school fund. (Read more about Kawaza Village…)