Namibia, Botswana, Rwanda

Community-based tourism partnerships

Empower

Vince Shacks

9/30/2022

Empowering local people through shared profits

Our success as a 40-year old business is largely due to our ability to forge strong partnerships with community organisations and governments.

 

Poverty is a key factor that needs to be addressed in protecting the wilderness. Our partnership approach supports our shared vision to increase the wilderness through conservation tourism and to protect it from the effects of agriculture, mineral extraction and other human activity.

 

With 2.3m hectares of land under our protection, of which 46% is owned by community trusts, our partnerships are key to unlocking success and achieving our goals.

 

EMPOWER
A shared vision to increase the wilderness through conservation tourism.

The problem

Agriculture and mineral extraction degrades the environment and places wildlife at risk.

Wilderness Sabinyo Rwanada Community Visit

The cause

Informal mineral extraction and subsistence agriculture is prevalent in areas lacking economic opportunities.

Wilderness Home Community Impact

The solution

Partnerships create jobs and provide conservation-led pathways out of poverty.

Our approach to solving it

In areas with few economic opportunities, rural communities turn to subsistence farming and informal mining to survive and earn meagre incomes. This activity degrades the natural environment and presents a key threat to the wildlife that survives there. Without sustainable incomes, local communities do not value nor prioritise conservation efforts.

 

  • We help to protect 2.3m hectares of land. Forty six percent of that land belongs to community trusts.
  • These communities are key strategic partners in our ability to protect land and empower communities. They are the landlords that enable us to operate in their area.
  • Our formal, long-term business partnerships with the trusts are key to achieving our shared goals, for mutual benefit.
  • Wilderness has worked with governments and established community trusts for nearly 40 years. These relationships enable us to operate sustainable and successful tourism camps in large wildlife habitats.
  • The partnership agreements stimulate revenue sharing and generate annual lease fees and royalties as well as other meaningful contributions. The trusts manage the income for the benefit of the community.
  • We also employ staff only from local communities, fund social development projects and support small business entrepreneurs and farmers.

 

These measures empowers households in partner communities to build more sustainable livelihoods, through direct employment and indirect support from the trust.

Botswana

Okavango Delta:
Wild, vast, abundant

Explore Okavango Delta

Our results and progress

All income, contributions and funding are closely monitored each financial year. Between 2014 and 2023, for every P1 (Botswana Pula) earned by shareholders in Botswana, staff earned P8,27 and government earned P5,16. Between 2016 and 2023, in Rwanda, for every RWF1 (Rwandan Franc) earned by shareholders, communities earned RWF2, staff earned RWF12 and government earned RWF44.

40

years of community partnerships

2.3m ha

land under protection

46%

of our land is owned by community trusts

1996

Year of first partnership with the Torra community

Wilderness Sabinyo Rwanda Community

Help us make a difference

Support our project

Our projects focus on specific activities that we believe will help us make a real, lasting impact. It’s all about low-impact tourism with high-impact outcomes. Help us reach our goals by donating via Empowers Africa – a US based, cost-effective solution to fundraising.

Donate