Community Development Through Responsible Tourism
Establishing partnerships with rural communities to encourage sustainable development:
- Our vision is to empower communities through the practice of responsible tourism, and ensure that the ‘tourism dollar’ has a meaningful impact; creating long-lasting development with regards to conservation, education, resource management and more.
- Our mission is to effect real and lasting change to rural communities that are in close proximity to wildlife areas in Zimbabwe and Botswana where African Bush Camps operate, and to conserve the environment through these communities.
The African Bush Camps Foundation is a registered non-profit charity in Zimbabwe with local trustee’s who are recognized specialists in fields of business, conservation, legal and human rights knowledge as well as education.
Sophia Ndlovu, the wife of Beks Ndlovu who together founded African Bush Camps, is the CEO and runs the Foundation on a day to day basis.
UNESCO states that through education one can address the social, economic, cultural and environmental problems faced by the world today. As such, African Bush Camps Foundation recognizes education as an integral part of sustainable development, in developing attitudes, skills and knowledge to allow communities to make informed decisions for their own benefit.
Most of the parents that live in the rural communities that surround the camps in which we operate are employed by either National Parks, camp fire projects or safari camps within those areas. Our hope is incorporate the ‘tourism dollar’ into funding for the education of their children.
The Foundation supports vulnerable children within primary schools as well as AIDS orphans through scholarships and funding for secondary schooling.
We work with two primary schools surrounding Hwange National Park at present, supporting schools and teachers: Hwange Main Camp Primary School and Manbanje Primary School.
– In Hwange Main Camp Primary school, we support 37 orphans and vulnerable children by paying their school fees (currently 20$ per term, that is 60$/year). We also pay the salary for one teacher (385$/month), and provide morning tea for teachers as an incentive (50$/month).
– In Manbanje, we plan to support all orphans and vulnerable students in 2012. We want to engage into fundraisonr for solar lightning and power for the school.
We have a high school scholarship program where each year 4 children from Hwange Main Camp Primary School receive a full scholarship to the best boarding school they can gain entrance into. They compete for this scholarship and the top scoring girl and boy from grade 7 as well as the top scoring girl and boy orphan are chosen.
The reason for choosing boarding schools is as often they come from difficult backgrounds and often live with extended family; it is a great relief on the family financially to have them in boarding schools and it also allows the students to concentrate on their school work. Students are then required to meet certain conditions in order to remain in the scholarship program.This program is now in its 4th year and we currently have 15 students on full scholarships. In 2012 we will also pick the top scoring boy and girl from Manbanje Primary School and hope to develop this further to also 4 students in 2013.The current cost of one student to attend boarding school is US$500 per term or US$1500 for a year.
Through our income generating projects, the Foundation is also providing education to members of the community on environmentally sustainable methods as well as on the running of successful businesses.
In collaboration with communities, we build on available skills and resources to start income generating projects at grassroots level.Our aim is to educate community members to run trade projects successfully on a commercial scale, making sure that they are relevant, viable, sustainable and have access to the market place.
The projects are based on a microfinance model, where the initial investment is paid back as part of the business plan and then used to either expand the current project or alternatively pass the capital onto another group or community to start a new project, on a revolving funding basis.
Currently we have projects running mainly in the Dete area, a village which lies on the outskirts of Hwange National Park. The general area comprises of over 30,000 people and apart from the local schools and safari camps there is no other industry in the area. The general population does not have electricity or running water and there are a lot of orphans and vulnerable children in this area, often cared for by grandparents. The level of poverty is high and general education is quite low.
The Vugani Project is a group of 16 people from the village of Dete who got together to start income generating projects. They are all unemployed and most of them have only completed grade 7 iat primary school. They started an organic vegetable garden in May 2010 using available land that belongs to one of the members. They have had challenges with water which has slowed down their progress but the garden is now up and running. Because of this slow start they started a second project in August 2011 which is a Jewelry making project where they recycle magazines, rolling them into beads and then designing and putting together jewelry pieces including earings, necklaces and bracelets. The project has had great success with many sales already and the jewelry will also be for sale in the African bush Camps safari camps as of 2012.
The Thandanani sewing project is a group of ten women aged from 22 to 61 that formed as a group in 2009 in Dete. They owned 3 sewing machines between them, but they had no funds to buy material to get started. Four of the members are widowed, three are married and three are single mothers. Due to economic hardship all group members are struggling to earn a decent living hence the eagerness to grab the opportunity to sew to earn a living. They received funds in August through the African Bush Camps Foundation and made their first sales in September. The group is advantaged when it comes to discipline and dedication because of the age differences among the members. The group proved to be hardworking, dedicated and motivated by their different backgrounds. Bringing together different skills and resources, they make the most of opportunities and are optimistic, willing to work hard to better their economic circumstances.
Vukuzenzele is a group of parents from the Hwange Main Camp Primary school. As there are many families at the Hwange Main Camp who are struggling, rather than rely on handouts we encouraged the parents to form a group which would be able to help themselves in the long run. Funds have been sourced to start a chicken project where they will raise chickens to sell locally as well as to the surrounding safari camps. The parents are also trying to raise capital amongst themselves to start a tuck shop in the community.
We are planning projects to start in January 2012 in Botswana and the communities surrounding Kariba and Mana Pools.
Sports: Heroes Day Soccer Tournament
African Bush Camps Foundation holds a soccer tournament each year for the Zimbabwean holiday National Heroes Day for the Dete Soccer League, a ZIFA (Zimbabwe Football Association) registered soccer league made up of 16 clubs representing 16 villages of the surrounding areas.
The aim of the event is to provide the clubs with a tournament with prizes as well as bringing together the community in a positive context, building community spirit. It is also meant to benefit some of the remote villages who usually do not receive any attention.
This year 2011 was our second year of holding the tournament and we had the incredible support of the Jane Bubear Sports Foundation who already have an annual sporting event, a fun run held in Dete. The Jane Bubear Sports Foundation provided all of the funding for the event including the prizes and the sports kit for the Manbanje Primary School.
Our aim this year was to sponsor the soccer clubs but also to reach out to the schools from the 16 villages represented by the soccer teams. Through the support of Jane Bubear Sports Foundation, the top 6 teams received not only prize money in the form of fuel vouchers which they use to get to training sessions and matches, but also soccer boots for each player in the top 6 teams. Each of the 256 players in the league as well as the referees all received a T-shirt.
The school we identified with the most needs for 2011 was Manbanje Primary School. It is a school 15km from the village of Dete with no form of transport between the two. School moral and attendance has been recognized as needing improvement , so the sporting equipment donated to the school, again provided for by the Jane Bubear Sports Foundation will hopefully boost the school and whole community. We are also doing a needs assessment to start an income generating project that will benefit this remote and disadvantaged community.
African Bush Camps Foundation identifies needs, skills and resources within communities and creates meaningful partnerships to launch new enterprises. These partnerships stem from expertise within the community, and are nurtured and developed locally. Communities are encouraged to train and support each other through capacity building ¬- eliminating the need for highly paid specialists or staff. This in turn allows for communities to have sole ownership of projects, making them self-sustaining and independent, whilst also promoting community spirit.
In collaboration with communities, we build on available skills and resources to start income generating projects at grassroots level. Our aim is to educate community members to run trade projects successfully on a commercial scale, making sure that they are relevant, viable, sustainable and have access to the market place. The projects are based on a microfinance model, where the initial investment is paid back as part of the business plan and then used to either expand the current project or alternatively pass the capital onto another group or community to start a new project, on a revolving funding basis.
The communities we work with are on the outskirts of wildlife areas where the environment is already fragile and human and wildlife interactions act as a threat to both sides. As such, each project that we run within the community is based on the best environmental method possible. Our aim is to educate the children and members of the community to not only conserve the land but promote long-term development through sustainable land-use practices.
The Foundation works with other organisations on the ground, sharing information and making sure that together, our interaction and interventions all work hand in hand to benefit the communities and environment. We also share information on best practice models so that our methods are globally relevant and can be as successful as possible.
All of the staff of the African Bush Camps Foundation are voluntary and our administration costs are provided for by African Bush Camps.
Each safari camp falling under the umbrella of African Bush Camps has a self-imposed 5US$ per bed/night levy that goes towards our projects.
We received the support of the Jane Bubear Sports Foundation for our spots events (see above).
Support a high school student and change his life!
We encourage you to engage with us on a real and meaningful level where you have the opportunity to choose the project you wish to support and have as much information and interaction on the progress of the project.
100% of your donation goes directly to that project !
Just 60$ will enable a primary school pupil to study for a full year.
But you may also engage into sponsoring a student for high school: The cost of the boarding, tuition, uniforms and stationary is currently US$500 per term or US$1,500 per year. We like to encourage people to sponsor one child from Form 1 until they finish high school which is 6 years.
If you choose to support a child for high school, you will receive the profile of that child which is updated every term, a copy of the child’s report at the end of each term and a report from the child itself.
We currently support 15 high school students , and in 2012 there will be 21 students in need of scholarships. Your support will change their life!
As of 2012 you will have the opportunity to donate through the USA and Australia tax free when we are registered as charities in both countries and we will then have donation by credit card available.
At present donations can be made via international bank transfer to:
Bank: Kingdom Bank
Address: 53 Samora Machel Avenue, Harare, Zimbabwe
For Bulawayo Branch Code 12324
Swift Code: KFISZWHA
US dollar account
Account Name: Uthando Africa
Account number: 33-115903
Intermediary Bank – Standard Chartered Bank
One Madison Avenue, New York NY 10010-3603 USA
Intermediary Swift: SCBLUS33
Contact African Bush Camps Foundation
You can contact us by the following means:
Our address: 54 Park Road, Suburbs, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
Phone: +263 9 234307
Fax: +263 9 230582
Cell: +263 712219468