An introduction to positive impact Asilia-style
At Asilia we believe that people and nature are inseparable partners on our journey to protect Africa’s most precious ecosystems. We therefore place great emphasis on the positive impact our company has on the wild places in which it operates. So what do we mean by positive impact?
Most people are acquainted with the term ‘sustainability’. Sustainability implies an equilibrium, a sense of what you put in equals what you get out. If you maintain this fine balance then your business should exist indefinitely. Positive impact, on the other hand, accentuates the favourable effects of the company’s business on the country in which it operates. A business is a positive impact when it gives back more than it takes.
This is not only about altruism though. There is a business reason behind it.
Most rural communities living on the outskirts of the wild areas where Asilia operates don’t see a direct benefit from tourism. The park fees that tourism generates go into central coffers and are disbursed from there. Rural villagers, who are mostly agriculturalists and pastoralists, look at the wildlife areas and wonder what’s in it for them. Why should they care about wildlife when their livestock could be grazing on the wide-open plains before them? Direct benefits to rural communities from tourism are therefore an important ingredient in securing these areas’ futures – and by extension our jobs.
This where our positive impact story comes in.
How does Asilia approach positive impact?
We look at each area that we operate in holistically and ask ourselves what interventions are required from us to secure its future. We’ve identified two broad areas of intervention: conservation and education. Our conservation approach is to support reputable, long-term, science-based projects that in many cases focus on carnivores. The reason for this is that carnivores, being apex predators, are indicators of the health of the ecosystems upon which they rely. We, therefore, choose highly targeted causes that serve our ultimate goal.
Education is also of the utmost importance because in order to provide alternative income sources to communities living on the peripheries of the parks and reserves individuals need to have the skills to be employed.
Asilia has vetted and supports preferred projects which fall into these two broad categories. We do so by direct financial support from our revenue stream (1% of turnover). We also encourage our guests to donate to a project they feel strongly about. And we raise external funds for special campaigns and projects.
We make it attractive and easy for philanthropists to donate through our U.S. and U.K. Trusts which allow them to get tax deductions. We finance the administration costs of the trusts which means 100% of the money donated goes to the nominated project. Find out more at AsiliaGiving.org
Are we credible?
Asilia is the first African travel company to attain a 5-star rating from the Global Impact Investment Rating System (GIIRS). Each year a due diligence is done on our positive impact obligations by Deloittes. Furthermore, we are a certified member of B-Corps, a global movement business movement that aims to create value for society, not just shareholders.
Our commitments are achieved by:
Operating a first-rate tourism business with many repeat and referral clients (visit AsiliaAfrica.com).
Raising awareness on our projects (visit AsiliaGiving.org).
Encouraging project and village visits by guests as this enables them to engage with villagers and learn more about their circumstances, hopes and aspirations.
Running campaigns for specific projects.