Leading Voluntourism organisation African Impact nominated for Green Tourism Award

At African Impact they considers themselves the African Specialists in volunteer travel. Their British Youth Travel Awards Nomination for Green Travel in 2009 is further testimony to their passion and dedication to what they do.
By: Sarah Graham
 
 
Nov. 13, 2009 - PRLog -- And so what does it take for an organization to gain recognition in this awards category? How has African Impact set themselves apart? Here are a few excerpts from their 2009 application to the British Youth Travel Awards leaders…

In 2008 African Impact launched their UK-registered Charitable Trust, The Happy Africa Foundation which is their supporting arm for the sustainable and accountable manner in which they aspire to manage their projects.

In 2009 alone African Impact volunteers will have contributed approximately 90,000 hours of volunteering in the numerous sustainable projects that they facilitate in Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, South Africa, Zambia and Zambia with new developments on the horizon for 2010 in Ghana and Swaziland.

The team at African Impact says that they have learnt a number of valuable lessons over the past 5 years. These form the basis for their approach to project development, in conjunction with our charity partner The Happy Africa Foundation http://happyafricafoundation.org
Here are just a few…

A little forethought on the ground goes a long way...
African Impact has a diligent system of careful Planning, Monitoring and Evaluating for ongoing project management. This involves Planning by means of incorporating local village heads and authorities, Monitoring by continuous assessment and Evaluation by the submission of quarterly development reports to independent sources including The Happy Africa Foundation.

Prep the volunteers...
Besides careful planning of actual project structures, African Impact  then focuses on careful preparation of their volunteer participants themselves. They focus on carefully educating volunteers and paving the way for them to respect and understand the respective project they will join and on arrival, volunteers are made well aware of that particular projects’ goals and objectives during their arrival orientation which is conducted by experienced Project Managers.

Case Study: Examples of Measurable Results in Conservation

In 2005 African Impact were partner founders of the UK-registered ALERT Trust (African Lion and Environmental Research Trust) to facilitate the expansion of their lion rehabilitation and release into the wild project as well as to raise awareness for conservation efforts in Africa. http://www.lionalert.org In this endeavour, African Impact and ALERT are very proud of their association with renowned British Explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes as the patron of our ALERT trust.

Over 300 African Impact volunteers having worked on ALERT’s lion rehabilitation project in the past 2 years, contributing approximately 40,000 hours of volunteering between them, and over GBP60,000 in donations made by African Impact directly to ALERT.

Case Study: Example of Measurable Results in Community Development

St Lucia Community Projects, South Africa
From January 2008 to May 2009 African Impact volunteers contributed over 11,850 hours to community development in the St Lucia area of South Africa.

The African Impact Orphan Daycare Project in St Lucia has succeeded in painting 5 buildings including the village information centre, the day care centre and a sick person's home, sponsored an HIV Awareness event with the local High School, reaching over 500 pupils and with the Reading Club, our volunteers work with about 40 high school students twice a week on developing their English reading and comprehension skills.

In addition, volunteers have also individually touched the lives of about 200 children in 3 creches in Khula Village - the extent of their impact ranges from basic education and improvement in English, to feeding and nourishing the children, to care for their wounds and injuries, to simply providing one-on-one attention and playtime to children who would otherwise be ignored.

Each week, volunteers meet with an HIV Support Group, consisting of about 15 regular members.  They discuss all aspects of positive living and encourage the members to support each other.  In addition, they have sold ZAR30,000 of crafts made by members of the support group to volunteers, with 100% of the proceeds going directly to the maker of each craft.

African Impact volunteers in St Lucia have also proudly contributed to the completion of the building of a new day care centre to look after 80 children, many of whom are orphans.

And looking to the future?

African Impact will continue on their path of actively striving…
• To design and operate volunteer travel experiences and voluntourism opportunities in a way that gives the highest degree of long-term economic benefit to the host communities, whilst also maintaining and/or improving the environment;
• To use local suppliers wherever possible should they be in need of additional partners to facilitate any of their itineraries;
• To develop long-term relationships with partners/agents overseas so that the economic benefit is ongoing;

• To increase the skill sets of local staff through skills such as guides training, literacy programmes and HIV education;
• To ensure that their type and scale of volunteer project is appropriate to local conditions and does not overload local infrastructure;

• To take into consideration economic, environmental and cultural issues when looking at new project locations;
• To minimise water and atmospheric pollution from any specific project areas;
• To aim to achieve zero litter policies everywhere;

• To aim to work closely with all relevant local bodies and authorities to help preserve or improve the environment and deliver a long-term benefit for the host community;

• Where possible they will encourage local involvement and provide financial support for economic, social or environmental projects that will benefit the local communities;
• To facilitate their volunteer experiences in a way that encourages positive cultural exchanges;
• To continue to support their partners The Happy Africa Foundation and The ALERT Trust as goal-orientated and recognized UK-registered charities.

Click http://www.betauk.com/index.php?id=4254 to cast your vote for African Impact to WIN this award for 2009, and to make your impact on continuing their powerful legacy to responsible voluntourism in Africa!

* Voters must be engaged in the youth, student and educational travel industry ether as a producer or supplier, tourism board or other.

# # #

African Impact is the largest facilitator of responsible volunteer projects in Southern and East Africa. In 2009 we were nominated as finalists in the World Travel Awards, and are continuously striving to improve the nature of our work in Africa.
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