ElefantAsia working with Kingfisher Ecolodge in Laos

The population of wild and tamed elephants in Laos, once called “A Million Elephants” kingdom (Lane Xang), is dangerously dwindling and too little is done to avoid this horrible situation.

For this reason the people at ElefantAsia deserve a big THANK YOU and all possible help anyone can give for the cause of Asian elephant preservation.

At Kingfisher Ecolodge we decided to support their Elephant Reproduction Project in Khiet Ngong village, to which we are linked not only by the short distance that separates our lodge to it but also by a “business” partnership and love for these pachyderms. Sadly, they are more and more oppressed by human presence and bad consciences.

ElefantAsia, founded in 2001 by Sebastien Duffillot and Gilles Maurer, is a small NGO project entirely funded by private donations and the help of volunteer veterinarians from around the world. It is the only organization trying to do something real to preserve the endangered species. They may be the very last chance for survival of the Laotian elephants.

People can also help through an “Adopt an Elephant” project that can be found on their website or, for the most generous ones, there is even a “Baby Bonus” program where you can become the sponsor of a newborn/calf elephant thus becoming a little like a caring parent to him.

We, at Kingfisher Ecolodge, can guarantee that the staff at ElefantAsia is really concerned and involved in this project, as we have seen it with their dedication, and all donated money is used to treat and preserve this wonderful animal, the last largest terrestrial mammal on planet Earth.

We invite everybody to visit their website, rich with information on the Asian elephant and in particular about the Lao situation. Maybe, one day, you will be able to meet eye to eye with the docile mastodon in the Land on a million Elephants.

For more information about this lodge and the great things they’re doing with the Laotian elephants: Kingfisher Ecolodge

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

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

Ayurveda Retreat in Costa Rica at Finca Exotica

April 2-April 5: Basics of Ayurveda
April 7-11: In-depth intro into Ayurvedic living

Ayurveda or “The Science of Life” aims to avoid and treat illnesses by maintaining the balance in the body, mind and consciousness …
Learn basic practices to enhance well-being and energy for the mind and body through Ayurveda, an ancient approach to health care that originated in India. We will discuss the Ayurvedic daily routine and cleansing of the senses to promote physical, psychological, and spiritual thriving. Ayurvedic wisdom teaches us to connect with our deepest selves, the source of all healing. The fresh spices and herbs available on the farm like turmeric, lemongrass and ginger will also provide us the perfect resources to experiment with cooking and an Ayurvedic diet. Our guide through this experience will be Jonathan.

Jonathan Dahari-Lanciano
An Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultant, Jonathan leads experiential workshops on Ayurvedic principles and practices, at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Lenox, Massachusetts. With additional training in Ayurvedic bodywork therapies and a background in Physical Therapy, Jonathan combines the science of Ayurveda with his knowledge of body mechanics to guide clients and students toward health and balance. He passionately spreads the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda in his signature style: down-to-earth, friendly, and thorough. This year, he also contributed to the book The Everything Guide to Ayurveda (2011).

PACKAGE DEAL: For those interested in an educational and experiential vacation, we are offering 4 days and 4 nights or 5 days and 5 nights stay with all meals included, an invigorating and enlightening schedule of activities including Ayurvedic theory and practice, tours of the Corcovado National Park and a 3 tiered waterfall (for the 5 day package), daily yoga classes and a tour of the farm and our sustainability.

RATES: 4 day package in a cabin – $700/ tiki tent – $520; 5 day package in a cabin – $885 / tiki tent – $660
If you are interested in more information please visit our website
Finca Exotica Ecolodge
or contact Jodi at jodi21@gmail.com.

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

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

Updates from Udzungwa Forest Tented Camp in Tanzania

The latest updates from Hondo Hondo (Udzungwa Forest Tented Camp). Located in the little visited Kilombero Valley in Southern Tanzania, and bordering the biologically diverse Udzungwa Mountains National Park, Hondo Hondo provides a high standard of visitor accommodation and access to the hiking, primate-spotting and birdwatching in the rainforest, mountains and valley.

Key Facts:
• SIX ensuite tented rooms, each with a newly completed stone floored outdoor bathroom, solar heated showers and comfortable, locally sourced coconut wood furniture.
• FLIGHTS to Udzungwa available from Coastal Travels starting June 2012.
• The new Canopy Bar, situated in a beautiful clearing on the edge of the rainforest, looking out at the rainforest canopy and providing a wonderful place to have a sundowner and watch the colobus monkeys and hornbills in the trees.
• 5 comfortable thatched huts, each well equipped with comfortable beds and mosquito netting and with shared access to solar heated showers and western style bathrooms
• Campsite area, offering simple cooking and barbeque facilities and with western style bathrooms and solar heated showers.
• Hiking, waterfall swimming, cycling, village walks, school visits, rubber plantation tours, canoeing on Kilombero River, kayaking on Msolwa river, birdwatching, primate spotting, camping in the rainforest…..
• Eco-certified with The International Ecotourism Society; member of Stuff your Rucksack and Pack for a Purpose. Eco Rating of 4 out of 5 at Eco Tropical Resorts.
• See reviews from our guests on TripAdvisor
• Information for Tour Operators including sample itineraries available on our Tours-Ops page.

For more information on their website: Udzungwa Forest Camp

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

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