The Regenerative Travel Impact Awards 2023 – Community

Words Emi Vilas Bôas
Date

Welcome to the Regenerative Travel Impact Awards, a platform dedicated to recognizing the power of community-driven initiatives that foster equity, honor culture, and cultivate vibrant, resilient societies. As we gather to celebrate those who champion the values of regeneration, we shine a light on endeavors that breathe life into the very essence of our communities—nurturing their growth, preserving their heritage, and ensuring their sustainability.

The “Community” awards celebrates the commitment to equity and cultural reverence. As we embark on this global journey to unearth stories of impact, we discover initiatives that transcend boundaries, cultivating inclusive spaces that respect and honor the rich tapestry of traditions and histories that shape our world. These initiatives paint a portrait of resilience and vitality, demonstrating how communities can flourish when nurtured with care and intention.

Interconnectedness and shared experiences define our existence, the significance of community cannot be overstated. The Regenerative Travel Impact Awards honor individuals and projects that embody the transformative spirit of regeneration, a spirit that extends beyond the confines of travel itself. These awards seek out and honor the inspiring changemakers who are committed to tackling our most formidable challenges, both near and far, leaving an indelible mark of positive change in their wake.

View the winner & finalists:

Winner

Wolwedans: Transforming Lives and Landscapes with The AridEden Project – Namibia

Founded in 1995 by Albi Brückner and his son Stephan, Wolwedans has evolved from four igloo tents into a visionary venture. Presently led by Stephan, Wolwedans comprises five distinctive tourism properties, a dynamic Foundation, and the Desert Academy, all encapsulated by a visionary narrative known as “The AridEden Project.” This ambitious framework, represented by Matrix |25, underscores Wolwedans’ commitment to sustainability across five dimensions: Commerce, Conservation, Community, Culture, and Consciousness.

Central to Wolwedans’ ethos is its prioritization of people. This ethos is manifested in vocational training initiatives, desert-centric economic projects, and inculcating a values-driven ethos among its personnel. By nurturing personal growth and providing avenues for advancement, Wolwedans aims to create a ripple effect of positivity, enhancing local communities and setting a global benchmark. Wolwedans addresses societal upliftment through active community engagement. Fostering equitable working conditions, fostering positive local relationships, supporting social initiatives, promoting social responsibility, and bolstering small and medium enterprises are among its primary endeavors. Wolwedans aspires to elevate the quality of life within the community, underscoring its unwavering belief in the fundamental right to basic needs fulfillment and the enhancement of overall well-being.


Finalists

Woods At Sasan‘s Impactful Community Endeavors, From Literacy to Livelihood – India

Woods At Sasan, situated in the region of Sasan Gir, has embarked on various social improvement initiatives to uplift the local communities. One of their efforts involves enhancing literacy and reading habits by implementing a Community Library, a mobile library with over 2000 donated books serving 13 villages and impacting more than 14,000 people. Additionally, the Pustak Ghar Project aims to establish 100 mini libraries across 100 villages in the region, providing accessible reading materials to residents and fostering a love for reading.

The engagement extends to the local farming community, with over 100 farmers and vendors participating in the Woods At Sasan Collaborative Platform. This platform facilitates knowledge sharing on organic farming, sourcing, and yield improvement, contributing to a sustainable agricultural ecosystem. Moreover, the Happy Faces Community Development Program partners with the Happy Faces Foundation to empower women through skill development, offering employment opportunities for over 40 women and enabling increased household incomes through the sale of macrame products.

The Manta Resort: A Journey Towards Environmental Restoration and Community Upliftment – Tanzania

Situated on Pemba Island in Zanzibar, The Manta Resort is a beacon of positive change through its unwavering dedication to environmental conservation and community upliftment. This retreat stands as a testament to the potential of regenerative practices in the hospitality industry, setting a remarkable example for both local and global stakeholders. Recognizing the fragility of marine ecosystems, the resort actively engages in marine conservation initiatives such as coral reef protection and turtle conservation. Their establishment of a marine protected area, supported by marine biologists and local rangers, stands as a triumphant success story in Zanzibar, fostering biodiversity recovery and sustainable fishing practices. Furthermore, the Manta Resort showcases its commitment to social betterment by empowering local communities through employment and supporting educational initiatives. Their efforts resonate beyond their immediate surroundings, as they share their experiences and insights to inspire positive change within the broader hospitality landscape.

Over the past year, The Manta Resort has witnessed remarkable strides through its groundbreaking Impact program. Uniquely designed to gather donations from patrons and supporters, this initiative has galvanized positive change, leading to the establishment of a fishers center for skill development, resource management, and sustainable fishing practices. The resort’s support for the Local Fishing Committee has also been fortified, bolstering their vital role in advocating for responsible fisheries management. A strong commitment to youth development is evident in the construction of a dedicated youth center, providing education, training, and growth opportunities for the community’s young individuals. The partnership with Blue Finance/Blue Rise has further amplified conservation efforts, while innovative programs such as the Coral Reef Safari empower guests to directly contribute to preservation. Through collective action and steadfast dedication, The Manta Resort is spearheading meaningful transformations in both environmental stewardship and community well-being.

The Time and Tide Foundation: Building Stronger Communities Through Girls’ Education – Zambia and Madagascar

In Africa’s wildlife conservation areas, The Time and Tide Foundation’s extracurricular Girls Clubs provide essential assistance to girls enrolled in primary schools, facing academic hurdles, low self-confidence, and challenging home circumstances. These clubs operate across nine remote schools in the region, with a focus on girls in the upper primary grades (5-7), typically aged 10 to 14. The foundation initiates engagement with parents at the outset, securing their permission for their daughters to receive a comprehensive education in sexual and reproductive health. The program’s curriculum strikes a balance between literacy instruction (English in Zambia, French in Madagascar) and critical subjects such as gender equality, reproductive health, and women’s rights.

As participants progress through the initiative, their self-esteem, literacy proficiency, and academic achievement are closely monitored, with a target of ensuring that at least 75% of the girls advance to secondary education. By safeguarding their educational journey, nurturing independent thinking, and empowering them to make informed life choices, the foundation brings about a transformative shift. The personalized language instruction, particularly in English/French, equips these girls with distinctive skills and outlooks. Many become trailblazers within their families, representing the first females with feasible prospects for completing high school, thereby altering household dynamics. This transformation contributes to more resilient families and communities, as these girls actively participate in decision-making, knowledge-sharing, and academic excellence, collectively elevating the entire educational ecosystem.

Kasbah du Toubkal: Moroccan Village Thrives Through Community-Centric Partnership – Morocco

Kasbah du Toubkal (1820 m), just 60 km from Marrakech, is situated in Imlil at the foot of Jbel Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa. At the heart of this endeavor lies a steadfast focus on community betterment. The fabric of Kasbah du Toubkal’s existence is woven from threads of heritage preservation, local empowerment, and environmental mindfulness. Local crafts and customs flourish within its walls, while traditional Berber arts grace its interiors. The staff, hailing exclusively from the Berber community, demonstrate a profound connection to their roots as they journey to work from nearby villages.

The Village Association, an embodiment of collective spirit, spearheads initiatives ranging from waste management to essential public services. Girls from the High Atlas Mountains are afforded educational opportunities through the NGO Education For All, championed by the village. Local muleteers and guides further amplify this virtuous cycle of prosperity, funneling economic vitality into the community. As part of a commitment to sustainability, a portion of guest invoices is channeled into local projects and the charity Education For All Morocco, nurturing a flourishing ecosystem of social responsibility. Carbon consciousness is woven into the fabric of operations – water is sourced sustainably, local procurement is prioritized, and initiatives to offset flight-related carbon emissions are championed.

Vote to support your favorite nomination for our People’s Choice Award 2023 and view all of our shortlisted finalists.

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