Give your travel purpose
Ultimately, the question that needs to be answered and justified is, “Will my safari make a positive contribution?” If you travel with Asilia, we believe that question can be answered with a resounding “Yes!” This is how we give your travel purpose.
Education is crucial in ensuring the long-term success of conservation.
It is impossible to not be aware of the environment in today’s age. We are constantly reminded about carbon emissions, global warming, rising oceans, melting glaciers and the many other negative effects humans are having on this planet we call home. As consumers, we are increasingly faced with decisions relating to the impact the products we purchase have on the environment, either through their production, their use, or the waste they generate when we no longer need them. We are encouraged to source responsibly, and the same should apply to your safari.
When it comes to planning a safari, your choice of operator and the impact your safari will have on the environment needs to be considered. At Asilia, we understand the importance of eco-friendly and sustainable tourism and believe that when practised responsibly, tourism can be a driving force in both the conservation and development of East Africa. That all sounds great, but what does it actually mean and how does it relate to the decisions you need to make when looking to add purpose to your safari plans?
The cycle of positive impact where tourism supports communities and communities support conservation.
Working with the local communities living on the borders of national parks and conservancies in Kenya and Tanzania is crucial to the long-term survival of both the wildlife and the wilderness areas. A community that understands, and has experienced, the sustainable benefits of wildlife-based tourism, is more likely to positively engage in conservation focused practices. Twende Porini, Swahili for “Let’s go to the bush”, is an in-house initiative whereby school children from surrounding communities are invited to an Asilia camp for a four-day activity and education filled adventure. The children get a first-hand taste of the guest experience, participating in game drives and viewing wildlife up close, often for the first time. They spend time with park officials, learning about the importance of protecting wilderness areas for wildlife to thrive, as well as with camp staff who are often from the same surrounding communities. By the end of their stay, we hope to have planted the seeds of conservation within the minds of the young children, so that they may become ambassadors for conservation within their communities.
Twende Porini introduces children to the wonders of the wild, aiming to instil a lifelong interest in conservation.
As children reach the end of their schooling career, those interested in pursuing higher education in the tourism and hospitality industry become eligible to receive a scholarship from Asilia. Each year, Asilia makes a number of scholarships available to school-leavers, encouraging further education and combatting unemployment in East Africa. The required work experience is often performed in an Asilia camp, and graduates interested in joining Asilia usually find placement within one of our safari camps. Education is the cornerstone of conservation, and this process starts with Twende Porini, exposing children to the opportunities the wildlife and wilderness presents, developing their interest and providing them with the means to pursue it.
Hopeful scholarship candidates gather at our base in Arusha for an interview process.
Supporting our partners
Many of our camp staff originate from communities bordering the national parks in which we operate. Their job provides income to their wider family, and the community recognises the employment opportunity created through tourism. For the employment and income to be sustainable, the wildlife and wilderness needs to be protected. However, living in close proximity to wildlife inevitably leads to some form of human-wildlife conflict. Expanding communities located in wildlife corridors continuously encroach into important land needed for the migration of wildlife to water sources during dry months of the year. When crops are raided or livestock killed, it is not uncommon for revenge killings to occur as villagers look for an outlet for their frustration and anger.
Organisations like Southern Tanzania Elephant Program and the Tarangire Lion Project work closely with local communities, educating them on how best to protect their farms whilst also considering alternative forms of revenue generation. Where possible, initiatives are introduced for the manufacturing of goods which can be consumed by the tourism industry, thereby creating a sustainable form of additional income reliant upon the mechanism of tourism and driven by wildlife. Our financial support and contribution to these organisations – our implementing partners – allows them to continue their important work, improving the livelihood of local communities and ensuring coexistence between humans and wildlife.
Maasai ladies at the Maa Trust earn a sustainable income through the creation of beadwork sold to the tourism industry.
Our in-house initiatives, like Twende Porini, and our support to implementing partners require financing. When you choose to stay in an Asilia camp, you are directly contributing to the support of these initiatives through the $5 per night Conservation Charge, generating over $200’000 per year, all of which goes our Positive Impact initiatives. Additionally, your presence helps to support many wider communities, whether it be by consuming the Maa Trust honey on your morning toast or admiring the beadwork around your (plastic-reducing) water-bottle – these products were made by local communities, and you are directly contributing to their improved livelihoods.
Consider what would give your travel purpose, then talk to us about how to achieve that purpose through travelling with Asilia.
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