How Eco Tourism Has Saved the Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda

Facebooktwitterrss

How Eco Tourism Has Saved the Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda

According to the 2011 gorilla census, there are only 880 Mountain Gorillas left in the wild worldwide. Making it a critically endangered species of ape. Half of this population is found in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in south western Uganda. The other half is found in the magnificent Virunga Mountain ranges. These are shared by Rwanda (Volcanoes National Park), Uganda (Mgahinga National Park) and Democratic Republic of Congo (Virunga National Park).

The mountain gorillas are endangered and at risk of extinction. There are many International and regional bodies working hard to protect the gorillas and their habitat. These include the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP), Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, Rwanda Development Board and Gorilla Doctors, among others.

African Jungle Adventures in Rwanda and Uganda

Man is the main threat to the mountain gorilla population in Africa. This threat is through activities of poaching and encroachment to their habitat. Therefore, Eco tourism is the way forward towards the protection of the mountain gorillas in Rwanda through the following ways;

In the first instance, Volcanoes National park Rwanda today has 10 habituated gorilla groups available for ecotourism purposes. Mountain Gorilla trekking is the main tourist activity in the park. A maximum of 8 persons are allowed to visit each gorilla group per day. And tourists are only allowed to stay with the gorillas for a maximum of one hour. Man is a visitor in small groups for a short period of time. This promotes responsible travel and protects the gorillas and their natural setting.

Additionally, gorilla trekking rules have been put in place and clients are briefed before starting the trek. The rules aim at protecting the mountain gorillas and their habitat. These rules include;

  • Not to litter in the gorilla habitat
  • Not to make noise in the forest
  • Not to smoke, drink or eat near gorillas
  • No taking pictures with flash cameras
  • Keep distance of 7 meters from the gorillas
  • Not to touch the gorillas
  • Dig a hole in case you want to ease yourself and bury it after
  • Cover your mouth when coughing to avoid transmitting diseases to the gorillas.
  • If a person has flu or cough, they are not allowed to go gorilla trekking

Other tourist activities in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda include golden monkey tracking, adventurous hikes to Dian Fossey tombs and Iby’Iwacu cultural village tour. The latter is where tourists learn about the ways of life of the local people. Tourists also learn about their cultures and actively participate in local music, dance and drama.

Iby’Iwacu cultural village’s main object is to demonstrate the ways of life of Rwandese to tourists. The Rwandese earn a living from their activities. Through goats for gorilla project, tourists to Iby’wacu cultural village donate US $25-50 to purchase a goat for an ex-poacher’s families, thus saving the gorillas in Rwanda.

Many Eco-lodges and resorts have been constructed around Volcanoes National Park for nature lovers. Such lodges are constructed from local/natural materials such as volcanic stones, bamboo and wood to blend with the environment. Such Eco-lodges include Virunga Lodge, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge and Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge among others.

Through Eco-tourism around Volcanoes National Park, the local communities are sensitized about the value of gorilla tourism, and they directly benefit from gorilla tourism revenues. For example, during this year’s Kwita Izina (Gorilla Naming ceremony in Rwanda), Rwanda Development Board and Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund launched 12 classrooms at Gatebe Primary school. During the 2015 Kwita Izina ceremony, Bisate Learning centre in Musanze was launched and today has over 2300 students. Many other schools get support from eco-tourism revenues around the park. Additionally, the local communities are rewarded with medical centers and piped water from gorilla tourism revenues.

Furthermore, ex poachers have been employed in different sectors of tourism such as eco-lodges and in the park. Most porters and park rangers were ex-poachers, now fighting poaching and saving the Mountain Gorillas. Because they now benefit from the gorillas, they can no-longer go back to poaching, thus saving the mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda. How Eco Tourism Has Saved the Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda

This post was submitted by Paul Basudde, who works with African Jungle Adventures in Rwanda and Uganda.

Facebooktwitter
Facebooktwitterrss

Sustainable Business Model

Facebooktwitterrss

Sustainable Business Model of Eco Tropical Resorts

September 16, 2016
Eco Tropical Resorts was started in 2003. It has taken me 13 years to create my own business model and much thought has gone into it in the last year.

Here’s some background to show you how this sustainable business model came about. This part might be a little technical, so skip a few paragraphs to get beyond that if you have no interest. I tend to let things evolve on their own. The word came up through the jungle drums that Google, the major search engine, was going to start penalizing websites that didn’t do well on mobile phones. WordPress seemed like a good alternative because it is mobile friendly.

Start the big move to WordPress in 2013. It took a while to get all the work done and suddenly it was 2014 and was finally done. Now it was time to evaluate the new web site.Turns out it’s not optimized for the keywords (the words by which a web site is found through search) that drew in so much traffic. I got busy and created new pages for some of my previous keywords but it has taken a while to build traffic back up.

While this was happening, I realized that I wasn’t comfortable charging new lodges/tours to be on the directory. I started adding free listings and telling lodges/tours that they would not be charged until they started getting traffic. The lodges that have been with me for a while are getting other benefits by listing on Eco Tropical Resorts. To see the benefits go here: Benefits of listing a lodge/tour on Eco Tropical Resorts.

A sustainable Business Model is one where everyone benefits, no harm is caused, and it is self sustainable. This is the direction we’re going. All listings are free until such time as they are receiving enough benefit to warrant paying minimal dues. By approaching it in this manner it becomes a win/win situation.

As usual, please feel free to comment on my post.

Facebooktwitter
Facebooktwitterrss
Eco Helpline

Ecohelpline

Facebooktwitterrss

In 2009 three of us started Eco Helpline My other 2 incredible partners are Jem Winston and Hemant Thite. We share the same ideals about promoting ecotourism, each in our own way.  We think of ourselves as the 3 Ecoteers promoting sustainability. Hemant lives in India and runs Biogas Helpline and he is the one that brought the 3 of us together. Jem runs 3 Rivers Dominica and Rosalie Forest Ecolodge, both in Dominica.

Our goal for Eco Helpline was to initiate people into “Eco” best practices. We were mainly thinking of hotels when we developed the course but anyone can benefit from it. Many things can be incorporated into other areas and can also help increase people’s awareness in general. Our focus was the 5 main parts of ecotourism; Energy, Water, Nature Conservation, Waste & Recycling and Community Development.

Our free online course covers all those and you can take it here: Basic Eco Course. This will take you to my partner site.  You do need to sign up to take the course, but there is no charge.

We also offer an Advanced Eco Best Practices Course here: Alternative Energies Course. There is a small fee of $50 (US) to take the advanced course. You do need to register first. By signing up for our advanced class you will enable the 3 of us to meet in person and we would all love that, so please take the advanced class after you’ve taken our free one!

Facebooktwitter
Facebooktwitterrss

Luxury and Eco on Holiday – Getting the Balance Right

Facebooktwitterrss

Holidays are precious and let’s face it, we all fancy a bit of luxury to indulge our senses in.  But for the eco-conscious traveller, the challenge is to find a destination that achieves the balance between luxury and environmentally friendly.  The ‘green’ part really needs to be seamlessly integrated into the experience.

It’s not hard.  Guests can be traveling ‘green’ without really knowing it at some resorts.  Take Eco Beach for example, on Western Australia’s remote Kimberley coast.  This eco wilderness retreat boasts the 2 key ingredients of 1.Location and 2.Experience. The green part of the recipe can then be very simply integrated and just like a green smoothie, you don’t even know you’re drinking kale or spinach!

Passive solar architecture is a subtle, effective way to increase guest comfort without detracting from luxury and decreases the need for power hungry air-conditioning: elevated villas and tents that facilitate cooling airflow; long eaves for shade; reflective rooves ; higher angled roof pitch that decreases the surface area exposed to the midday sun; lightweight building materials that drop heat quickly; double glazed windows and orientation of buildings to capture the sea breezes. These clever initiatives are like a dash of spinach in amongst the raspberries and bananas – hidden wonders.

The top of the list green feature is the resort’s computerised hybrid renewable power system. Every villa and tent is equipped with solar arrays that gather energy from the Sun to store in a large battery bank. The grid-based solar system allows excess power generated to be diverted to areas requiring power or to be stored in the batteries.  So, energy is used on a ‘needs only’ basis.

Other green initiatives include:  a unique energy-monitoring system that enables both management and guests to check energy usage; circuit breakers to restrict the use of large power-drawing electronic devices; LED lights; louver windows to maximise the airflow; thermostatically controlled Chromogen hot water systems; multi-head split system air conditioners in the villas; sustainable bamboo floor boards; eco-decking – a composite, renewable material that combines polyethylene and organic rice husks and reduces the need for deforestation; recycling in the office and around the resort; low flow taps, toilets and showerheads; biological micro-organism sewerage treatment plant and bio-degradable cleaning and bathroom products.

In the garden: grey-water is used to water the gardens; 5,000 native plants reduce irrigation needs; over 1km of elevated boardwalks protect the natural bush floor and an organic vegetable patch in season supplies 70% of the resort kitchen’s fresh produce needs – from edible marigolds, to beans that rival those of any fairy-tale.  Kitchen scraps are composted and fed to the chickens that kindly lay some 20 eggs a day – a poignant example of the ‘great circle of life’, and a reminder that we are all interdependent.

Going green actually creates more guest comfort and more delicious meals! And guests can sleep soundly in their premium King Beds (minus the peas under the mattresses!) under a million stars, knowing that they are supporting the sustainability of the planet.  It’s surely a win, win situation.

Find out more about Eco Beach Resort Broome and book online.

Facebooktwitter
Facebooktwitterrss

Alternative Electricity Generation – Photovoltaic Solar Panels and Sustainable Water usage

Facebooktwitterrss

Finca Rosa Blanca is a model of Sustainable Tourism, which has at its core not only sustainable good practices in terms of  conservation but also in terms of generating financial stability (ie; sustainability) so that the company can continue to innovate and create newer and more solutions to the issues of win/win situations for its bottom line. After 24 years of being pioneers in this kind of green innovation, and in regard to your observations about solar or alternative energy sources we have grave misgivings about requiring photovoltaic solar panels as preferred means for generating electricity, as they are not actually sustainable at this point in time.

This is an issue that we believe is misunderstood and is a very complex and evolving topic, and one in which we have been very involved. The advantages to solar energy are on the surface very obvious; the major benefit being the mitigation of greenhouse gases that fossil fuels produce. In the case of Costa Rica, 92% of the electricity generated is from hydroelectric, Eolic (kinetic wind energy) or geothermal sources; none of which emits fossil fuels. The company that sells this electricity is a nationally owned cooperative, called Compañía Nacional de Fuerza y Luz, from which we buy this clean power as a cooperative member (consumer). In the case of other countries or places where the “grids” mean that the electricity is created through fossil fuels, the transportation of these materials and their subsequent waste is also of concern, along with the financial impact, transportation wear and tear etc.

Basically, going off grid is a huge advantage for those in isolated areas where they cannot get access to the cooperative electricity generated through a nonpolluting or fossil fuel depleting grid.

The disadvantages, which for us in Costa Rica outweigh the advantages, are the following; solar energy is not viable at night and for a tourism business that relies on services that require electricity (ours is a luxury accommodation which requires 24 hour services to our guests) nor is it constant. Furthermore, it is drastically reduced during our rainy season where many hours of the day are spent in overcast or stormy conditions.  Beyond daily inconsistency, solar production decreases over winter months when there are fewer hours of sunlight and sun radiation is less powerful.

But more important to us, as a business (and sustainability also includes first and foremost, financial sustainability) is that solar energy production is relatively inefficient. At best it is efficient at 25% and this is not sustainable on a viable level for those businesses that have healthy alternatives to this kind of electricity. Furthermore, because of this inefficiency for converting solar power to electricity, it requires a tremendous amount of coverage in order for it to be useful. This then as a result requires us to cover a large area of land that could be used for other good practices, like reforestation, propagation of endemic species and erosion protection. Our abundance of foliage and trees does not allow much of our roofing area to be used, and what is available for sunlight is being utilized by solar panels for heating water, which is a very efficient and viable energy use. (100% of our energy for heating water is through solar panels)

Additionally, there is great polemic about the storage and inversion of solar photovoltaic cells to A/C current which for the time being in any achievable or viable financially option, requires lead based batteries. In other words, solar electricity storage technology has not reached its potential yet.  These batteries have a short life of a year or two and then need to be discarded; posing a new and more worrisome issue of what the lead and acid detritus does to the places it is discarded. They are very bulky, VERY expensive and not a good option for a business that needs to have reliability and recyclability in mind.

So in conclusion, we believe that the assumed benefits and “green” stamp that photovoltaic solar panels imply can be misleading and in our case, we are actually being much more sustainable using the system we have in place for generating electricity.

In the case of heating water, then there are no real arguments, as this is a 100% viable and efficient method for heating water and as a result, 100% of all of our hot water comes from this technology. 

Water:

All of our water comes from a well which is pumped to a holding tank and delivered via gravity to most of the hotel. We have several water saving methods which we use to monitor our water usage, including flow meters on every outlet of water which are checked daily and logged into a monitoring logbook. Not only does this allow us to keep tabs on our water use and spikes in its consumption, but also allows us find leaks quickly and efficiently.

All of our faucets, shower heads and water outlets have water saving devices and our water is checked every 3 months for contamination of any kind through a licensed and official professional laboratory approved by the Ministry of Health. Additionally all of our toilets are 3.8 liter flushes (1 gallon) and we have literature in the rooms and bathrooms asking our guests to conserve water.

Additionally, our pool water is sanitized and cleaned through copper/silver ionization which has a 100% avoidance of harmful chemicals such as chlorine, acids or other damaging materials. Finca Rosa Blanca uses all of this water from the rinsing during the pool cleaning (chemical free water) for irrigating the Coffee plants that are in the green area below the hotel.

As per the CST, there is a large portion of the biological category (25%) which is dedicated to water consumption and its monitoring.

For instance in many parts of the CST one can find norms such as the following

  • Design a plan whereby the principle norms of practice and operation of the company in environmental concerns would permit the best water quality
  • The company creates an integral operation for the use of its water taking into account the following aspects;
    • Better use of water through a monitoring system and optimization for reaching the goal of reducing its use.
    • Reusing residual water for the irrigation of its green areas
    • Guaranteeing the use of such water at its most efficient methodology
    • Utilizing any irrigation with the most efficient technology possible to minimize its use.
    • To maintain a monitoring and establish standards (benchmarks) for the utilization of water
    • Select grass species (and the species of all plants) that would best adapt to the climatic characteristics of the soil in its area
    • Establish areas of priority for irrigation, identifying those that require no or little irrigation
    • Ensure regular comparisons of the irrigation system with the intent of premature leakage, inundations form defective irrigation systems or that do not cover the area adequately,  bad pumping systems among others
    • Avoid irrigating in windy conditions or during the day
    • Follow a regular monitoring of the soil humidity levels
    • Use hydro-receptors for accumulating  ground water

We have scored 100% on the CST inspections which include all and more of these norms.  To go to their site: Finca Rosa Blanca Plantation

Finca Rosa Blanca recently updated their Eco Rating for Eco-TropicalResorts.com.  In part, the above was a response to the Eco Rating and it started a conversation.  The Eco Rating will be updated to reflect some of the views held here.  When I first started Eco Tropical Resorts there was no country getting 92% of their energy from renewable resources.  

Facebooktwitter
Facebooktwitterrss

Sustainable hand water pumps in the Usmabara Mountains, Tanzania A project of MamboSteunPunt in cooperation with FairWater

Facebooktwitterrss

Water
Clear drinking water is still not obtainable to all citizens in many African countries. When MamboViewPoint opened in 2008, for the 22,000 inhabitants in the area, only one pump was available. Most people fetched water from open streams or holes which reached the ground water. Many negative problems occur for people using these as a source of drinking water.

Water Projects
Tanzania is a beloved country for donors, a peaceful society, but still within the top 10 of the poorest countries. Vast sums over the years have been spent on water projects. But still the situation is far from satisfactory. Presently only 62% of the population has access to clean drinking water.

What has been achieved?
Pumps have been installed by donors, but the result was they were not to be sustainable and the pumps broke soon after installation as no maintenance program had been put in place. According to a RWSN report, May 4th 2010 in Africa roughly 50% of the 350.000 donated pumps are abandoned; this is also true in Tanzania. In and around Mambo you can find many boreholes which are no longer covered or in use.

In all cases the pumps were supplied free to the user, who took no responsibility for the maintenance. After a while the pumps broke and the bore hole was abandoned. Often the inexpensive rope pumps were placed in areas of high demand, and expensive mechanical pumps installed in areas of low demand!

In the eighties the Afridev hand pump was developed in Kenya and Malawi. This should be an example of a VLOM pump (Village Level Operation and Maintenance) suitable for use in Africa. Unfortunately this pump appeared to have many shortcomings, especially the availability of spare parts. Many pumps broke down soon after being installed, the result was that these pumps were no different from the cheap pumps that are still favoured by governments and NGO’s alike.

The sustainable Fairwater X-factor
Fairwater has finally developed a durable pump that should be more sustainable compared to other pumps and should last for many years with a little maintenance.

A distinction should also be made and taken into account if the ground water is found near the surface or if it is deeper underground. This factor will determine the amount of use the pump will get during its life time and the amount of maintenance it will require.

If an organizational model is developed in which the stakeholders feel responsible for the maintenance of the pump, abandoned bore holes and pumps will hopefully become a thing of the past.

Fairwater projects are found in Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo, DRC, Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoir, Ethiopia, Niger, Malawi, Mozambique, The Gambia, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Swaziland

How it now works in Mambo

The prime consideration for locating a pump are 300 people who are together prepared to pay an equivalent of 30 US dollars monthly for access to clean drinking water available all year round.

Then a contract is agreed with the community, the MamboSteunPunt foundation and a local company. The company; Jamii water, drills the bore hole and installs the pump. The company also collects the money for the pump manager’s wages and the maintenance. In cases of financial hardship support is offered by MamboSteunPunt. The workers from Jamii water are trained and assisted by MamboSteunPunt to ensure that the project will succeed and meet the needs of the local community.

Next the Blue pump is delivered by Fairwater. This pump costs US $3,250 and can be funded by a company or private individual. The ownership of this pump stays with MamboSeunPunt and the pump is removed if the community does not take care or does not pay the manager as agreed. The donor is then encouraged to use the pictures for advertisement and visit the people who are benefitting. This can be combined with a nice holiday in the Usambara Mountains.

The borehole is then drilled and the pump is put in place by Jamii water. They are assisted by local volunteers in the local community who will have access to the clean drinking water. The hand drill was funded by a Dutch insurance company and is used each time a suitable site meets the set criteria.

Every pump has a manager who is paid from the revenues of the pump. He is responsible for the proper use of the pump and collection of the money from the users for the maintenance. The manager is also responsible to make sure that the pump is clean and serviceable. The manager employed is always somebody who lives close to the pump and is appointed by the community. After the manager’s wages have been paid the remaining money is used for maintenance and payment for the cement to build the platform.

As the project has a strong involvement among the users, the control of the money and responsibilities are now in place to ensure the pump is properly used and maintained. This should now result in a sustainable supply of clean drinking water made possible by BleuPumps being brought to Mambo.

Donate a water pump in Mambo

Around Mambo we still need 80 (eighty!) pumps to supply average 300 people of clean drinking water.

The sustainable concept is in place the community don’t have enough means to buy the pump. Your contribution would make the difference to find additional information and help directly please contact us via:

www.MamboSteunPunt.org
www.MamboViewPoint.org
www.FairWater.org

Facebooktwitter
Facebooktwitterrss

New Monthly Green Living Workshops at 3 Rivers Dominica/Rosalie Forest Eco Lodge

Facebooktwitterrss

FIRST SATURDAY EVERY MONTH

Next workshop – March 3rd 2012, 10 am to 4pm

Solar and Wind energy
• History of renewable energy.
• How does it work?
• How to calculate and size a system
• Where can I buy?
• How to do installation?
• Troubleshooting and maintenance

The workshops are held at 3 Rivers & Rosalie Forest Eco Lodge.

Local Lunch and juice included
EC$ 100 per person, in advance, or EC$ 120 per person at the gate.
Call or email, for ticket locations
Students get the discounted price of EC$ 50 per person – advanced bookings only
Group discounts also available on request

ATTEND THE WORKSHOP & STAY THAT NIGHT AT THE ECO LODGE 50% ROOM DISCOUNT

Newfoundland Estate, Rosalie,
PO Box 1292, Dominica,
West Indies

tel: 1 767 446 1886
cell: 1 767 275 1886
OR 1 767 616 1886
e-fax: 1 510 578 6578
3 Rivers Dominica
info@3riversdominica.com
Rosalie Forest Eco Lodge
info@rosalieforest.com

Facebooktwitter
Facebooktwitterrss

MamboViewPoint eco lodge in Tanzania, a new approach for sustainable development and tourism

Facebooktwitterrss

MamboViewPoint is owned by social entrepreneurs Marion Neidt and Herman Erdtsieck. They travelled through many continents, cooperated with various development agencies and saw very many development projects. In the end they felt unhappy with the often very poor or even counterproductive results of many aid projects and all the money that went to expensive overhead, offices and 4×4 cars.

All previous experiences resulted in a plan for a new approach. The basic idea was to create a permanent socio-economic stable base in a poor area and to start regional development from there. In our vision development is not based on unconditional aid but should be achieved by empowering people, building capacities, giving them ideas and information, knowledge, expertise and support them in obtaining tools. As our current experience learns it sometimes only needs a little push to enable people to pull themselves out of poverty. There are some important features in our concept. First, development is not a one item issue like f.e. education because in the end everything is interlinked. For example, when children are educated but there is no work in the end, it is likely to lead only to depopulation of the area but no improvement. Second, development can best be based on practical experience people already have and try to improve quality of products and give it added value instead of selling raw materials. Third, there is always a reason why projects fail or fall apart. The fact that we wanted to have permanent base and become part of the village gives the opportunity for in-depth understanding of optional failures and make together with the population the right adjustments in time.

After a fact-finding mission early 2008 MamboViewPoint eco lodge was established in the Usambara Mountains in Tanzania. It is situated on a beautiful spot near Mambo, which is an area with many opportunities but the population has an average income below the poverty line.

For the hart of the project is chosen for a lodge because in Tanzania tourism is one of the main income sources. Moreover, for the project it is very important to have an inviting place for people from abroad who can bring knowledge and assistance.

MamboViewPoint is an example for sustainable and responsible tourism. Though the owners are from abroad, there is a strong connection with the local community. Employees, building materials and food are as much as possible from local origin.
Moreover the lodge offers a meeting place for people from all over the world including the local people where they can enjoy their holiday in a family atmosphere.

What makes MamboViewPoint special is the associated foundation which is in charge of the various projects that target various development issues. Because of the stable position of the lodge and the many volunteers and guests who contribute to the project, it is possible to spend 100% of the received aid money on the projects without overhead costs. This is an essential difference compared to what we see at other places where only for example 10% of the profits are spent on community projects. With our concept we are able to do far more.

The MamboViewPoint approach

In the first place the lodge is a steady centre for all the activities. This is not for a limited amount of time but without end. The fact that the owners of the lodge are living permanently in Mambo, created a strong bond already with the local inhabitants because the lodge and its owners are facing the same problems as they do. The cooperation of the village and the lodge creates a bigger potential to solve existing and upcoming problems.
In the second place, the lodge is built with local people. Over 650 women and 350 men worked in shifts for one and a half year. This made the lodge to a kind of product of the people around and gave them the first income and skills.

In the third place the lodge is not a goal in itself but is a vehicle to create development. Experience learned that it is important that the spill of the project is a lodge. It brings many people from all over the world who can contribute with their skills, funding. knowledge and relations. They see with their own eyes existing problems discuss about optional solutions, afterwards see the result of their contribution and stay updated regarding the impact. Nevertheless to actively contribute is not an obligation, only having a nice holiday is already supporting local development because their stay brings work, sales-opportunities and money for the region.

In the fourth place the projects and professionals for the projects are only for a small part financed by the lodge. What the lodge provides is ideas, contacts, the necessary infrastructure and (most important) an eye on the projects once the volunteers who helped to achieve certain goals are gone. We can, together with the people concerned, help to make the necessary adjustments that are needed if specific problems might occur. This ensures the feasibility and effectiveness of the initiatives undertaken.

In the fifth place, the focus is to create added value to the things which are already there. Like making cheese from milk, biogas from cow dung, juice from fruits that are already growing etc. All not in big projects but by encouraging people to start their own business.

In the sixth place MamboViewPoint is an eco lodge which means that the footprint which it is leaving behind is as small as possible by using as much as possible solar power, natural building materials, local produced food and most important, being close to the local people and taking care they are benefiting and not exploited.

About the MamboViewPoint approach and the aid industry

Since Tanzania belongs to the poorest countries in the world but the political and economical climate is positive, it is a beloved target for many aid organisations. This causes a main stream from aid funds and many projects concerning public matters which actually should be done by the government. Combined with the present corruption this is resulting in a huge spill of aid money and a not optimal governmental system with, especially on individual level, other targets than the development of the country.

All this resulted in an “aid industry” where even volunteers have to pay a lot of money f.e. to work in an orphanage. MamboViewPoint does not want to be a part of this aid industry but chose for the approach like it is explained before.

This makes it worthwhile to donate to the project since none or only a little money from donated amounts is lost and the results are very visible and projects keep being monitored. Many guests of MamboViewPoint realized this and are contributing to the projects.

About MamboViewPoint and the tourist industry

A main part of the tourist in Tanzania are heading for the well known hotels and tour operators. Often those are owned by foreign companies which supply food and other needs and staff from far and even the profits go abroad again. A well known saying is “the only thing which is left for local people is the dust from the cars if tourist come or go”

MamboViewPoint is trying to optimize the profit of tourism for local benefit by involving as much as possible the local sources. Employing local staff, purchasing local products and food and being under the national tax system.

Read the whole story at: The rest of the story

For detailed information about Mambo ViewPoint click
Mambo View Point

For detailed information about MamboSteunPunt foundation:
The Mambo ViewPoint Foundation

Facebooktwitter
Facebooktwitterrss

Hydroponic Gardening for Sustainable Community Development at Finca Rosa Blanca Plantation & Inn in Costa Rica

Facebooktwitterrss

Buy a Bag, Grow a Garden
Hydroponic Gardening for Sustainable Community Development

Introduction
At Finca Rosa Blanca we have a long history of working towards the well being of our surrounding community. We have worked with the area schools, the local food bank, the environmental group “Patrullas Ecologicas”, and the senior citizens home. Through the years we have improved infrastructure for these groups and increased their environmental awareness; we have reforested and improved waste recycling; and we have provided skills training and opportunities for improving income generation. Our latest project of hydroponic gardening will augment interest in more sustainable living while at the same time implement an activity that in itself leads to more sustainable community development.

Requiring relatively small space and minimal materials hydroponic gardens are a source of fresh produce contributing to healthier diets and increasing local food production, which we know helps reduce the carbon footprint. These gardens are simple and fun to establish and maintain, and can even beautify a space.

Project Purpose
Buy a Bag, Grow a Garden involves community members and children in the production of fresh produce for local consumption, and in the improvement of waste recycling in order to increase awareness of more sustainable living and improve nutritional value of local diets. It responds directly to the needs of the Santa Barbara community to develop appropriate solid waste management processes as well as the impoverished community’s need to supplement diet at minimal costs.

How does it work? Produce will be grown by the local environmental group Patrullas Ecologicas. All produce grown by the Patrullas Ecologicas will be donated to the food bank, where many of the children and youth of this environmental group receive one free hot meal a day. In return for receiving fresh produce the food bank and its clients will commit to the improvement of their recycling center so that it may adequately receive the community’s recyclables. These recyclables are sold to the larger companies that process the material and the income earned is re-invested in the operation of the food bank.
Finca Rosa Blanca and its gardening and sustainability teams provide the space and know-how for creating the hydroponics garden and they also provide the guidance for improved management of the recycling center.

Why do this? Buy a Bag, Plant a Bag is a relevant undertaking for sustainable living in our community for the following reasons.

It encourages better solid waste management among the community.

The project will directly help increase the amount of recyclable waste collected in the community. Besides guiding improved management of the facility, Finca Rosa Blanca, with Patrullas Ecologicas will initiate a community wide campaign to teach and encourage Santa Barbara residents to separate wastes and bring them to the recycling center.

It increases social and financial sustainability by teaching the value of active participation in ones well being.

The project aims to increase the social cohesion among the aforementioned community groups by switching the mentality of “living from a handout” to actively participating in one’s well being. Some of the clients of the food bank will be growing part of their food and others will be helping generate funds for the maintenance of the food bank, by ensuring proper and responsible management of the recycling center.
The additional money generated from the sale of recyclables is re-invested in the operation and maintenance of the food bank. Further, the produce for the food bank will enhance the nutritional value of the food served for the community without incrementing costs for the food bank.

It creates the opportunity for others to improve access and consumption of fresh produce

Lastly, Buy a Bag, Grow a Garden also aims to generate interest in hydroponic gardening as a method to improve access and consumption of fresh produce among other community members. Once the gardens have been set up and are functioning, Finca Rosa Blanca will offer, to those that are interested, the technical lessons so as to help individuals of the community set-up their own gardens.

Submitted by Teri Osman Jampol, owner of Finca Rosa Blanca Plantation

Facebooktwitter
Facebooktwitterrss

Black Sheep Inn Retreat & Learning Center

Facebooktwitterrss

September 1, 2011 – Chugchilán, Cotopaxi, Ecuador – Black Sheep Inn, an internationally acclaimed award winning ecolodge, is converting into a Retreat Center hosting workshops and events. The lodge will no longer be operating as a hotel with daily check-ins and check-outs, but instead will specialize in group events, offering the entire facility for 5 days or more.

Groups enjoy Black Sheep Inn’s globally recognized services:
• Worlds Best Hotels – South America STAY LIST – National Geographic Traveler 2011
• Top 10 Eco-Resort – Delta SKY Magazine 2009
• Top 50 Eco-Lodges – National Geographic Adventure Magazine 2009
• Winner – ECOCLUB.com Ecotourism Awards 2006 & 2008
• Skål International Ecotourism Award 2006
• Smithsonian Magazine/Tourism Cares for Tomorrow Sustainable Tourism Award 2005
• Finalist for Tourism for Tomorrow Award – World Travel & Tourism Council 2005
• Highly Commended – Best Mountain Environment – Responsible Tourism Awards 2005
• Short-Listed – Responsible Traveler Award 2004
• Top 10 Ecolodges in the World – Outside Magazine 2003
• Eco-Certified – Ecuadorian Ministry of Tourism & Ecuadorian Ecotourism Society 2003
• Best Website – Ecuadorian Ministry of Tourism 2002

Suggested themes for Retreats include: Yoga or Meditation Retreats; Creative Workshops for Artists or Writers; Eco-Living or Green Building Trainings; Family Reunions, Weddings, Birthdays; Volunteer Vacations with Community-Aid Work; Corporate Team Building and Empowerment or other weeklong events.

Black Sheep Inn’s rural Andean location offers world renowned day hiking, horseback riding and excursions to: Laguna Quilotoa, Rio Toachi Canyon, cloud forest in the Iliniza Ecological Reserve, indigenous markets, and local cooperative workshops producing handcrafted furniture and Swiss-style cheeses.

Eco Permaculture Features include: solar panels, adobe construction, composting toilets, recycling, roof water collectors, gray water systems, organic gardens, community education & aid work, reforestation, erosion control and more.

If you are organizing a vacation, event or workshop please send an inquiry to: info@blacksheepinn.com or blacksheepinn@yahoo.com

Facebooktwitter
Facebooktwitterrss