+ 233 (0) 247 919 469 explore@westafricansafaris.com
+ 233 (0) 247 919 469 explore@westafricansafaris.com

Responsible Tourism

We recognise that in the work we do we have a huge responsibility to ensure our actions consider society, culture and environment. We are very aware that in order to create a sustainable future we need to be extremely careful of our actions. As such as aim to ensure that our staff, clients, company and partners act in a responsible manner and be continually aware of their environment.

Read more below about our expectations of you and our policies which guide minimising and maximising our impact as applicable:

Client Statement
Economy
Society
Environment
Culture

Client Statement

You will have a very immersive experience whilst away. Therefore, everyone taking part should be aware of and responsible for his or her own actions. It is very important to remember that we are visitors in a foreign culture and so cannot impose our standards and opinions on matters we only partially understand.

  • Throughout the trip, you will be exposed to a huge variety of communities, cultures, environments, tourist attractions and people. It is likely that you may not have experienced anything similar before, but through pre-departure research and preparation you will begin to gain an understanding of local customs and traditions that will minimize the tourism impact you have
  • Your visit will change lives in a small but positive way, but be aware that your every move is observed, every action discussed and every conversation interpreted in a different way!
  • Try to minimise the impact of your presence upon the environment and take responsibility for improving it where you can
  • Take photographs and leave only footprints
  • Abide by local regulations. Observe customs e.g. passing items with your right-hand only. Never drink alcohol or take drugs. Expulsion from the trip will be instantaneous
  • Ask before taking photographs of people (for children ask parents if present)
  • Care must be taken to observe local codes of dress throughout your time in populated areas. You can seriously offend people by not observing elementary rules of courtesy. Shoulders and knees should be covered for women and going topless for men is not acceptable
  • Spend money in the local communities and consider your response to begging

Be aware that donations should come through the office and should be in direct response to official requests from community members or groups. Random donations are not sustainable and create a feeling of ‘handouts’ that is not positive.

Soci-Economic Attitude

We spend 10-15% of our annual turnover on development projects, this is a large proportion of our income and reflects our keen desire for creating sustainable futures. The following are actions we take:

  • Support local businesses
  • All staff and clients are encouraged to use local community markets
  • Clients are discouraged from bringing items which can be purchased locally
  • We make contributions to local communities who we work with, but these are done in partnership with local authorities
  • We contribute to even wealth distribution as we work in rural areas where tourism is less developed
  • We employ staff transparently, creating a diverse workforce in terms of gender, ethnicity, age and disability
  • We employ our 90% staff from the areas we work in, training is provided by expatriates until such a time as comprehensive handover can take place (our vision is a locally managed and delivered package)
  • We purchase fresh produce and project materials mainly from the source
  • We pay all our employees fairly and treat them ethically and conform to local HR Government laws
  • We ensure that all our education projects are undertaken in conjunction with the local Education Department. These projects are conceived by the schools involved in the partnership and deeply reflect their shared views as agreed under the terms of the partnership agreement they jointly complete
  • Any projects that involve healthcare issues are overseen by the local Health Directorate and seek to compliment current practices.

Reduction of Social & Cultural Impacts

Negative impacts are generally created through lack of education or lack of respect. There are many things we can do to reduce these impacts such as learning about:

  • Local culture and history
  • Language
  • Current society views and opinions.

We focus on promoting sustainable development through responsible travel by providing opportunities for our staff and clients protect the environment, preserve cultural heritage and contribute to economic development without having a negative impact on the communities they are working with. Below is listed some of our guiding principles:

  • All projects and partnerships are co-located with communities, staffed and managed by local people, enabling strong and durable relations built on trust and respect. This allows us to monitor any negative interactions between clients and villagers through regular dialogue and react swiftly
  • Our projects are developed and reviewed in partnership with each community to encourage local ownership and pride
  • We are working against gender discrimination through various projects empowering women who suffer from gender based poverty, violence, illiteracy and health issues
  • We involve local communities and stakeholders in the planning and decision making process for new and existing projects
  • We carefully assess the economic impact of each new initiative before implementation
  • Implementation & project development is dictated by specific needs of local communities
  • None of our activities jeopardise the provision of basic services such as water, energy or sanitation to neighbouring communities
  • All clients are given local language notes and briefed about religion, local customs, traditions and appropriate behaviour by community members to facilitate integration into the community as guests, not tourists
  • Client group sizes for each project activity are kept as small as possible
  • A comprehensive client code of conduct has been developed for all our programme activities in collaboration with the local indigenous communities.

Environment Considerations

We are constantly developing new and innovative solutions to tackle the challenges posed by climate change through exploration of sustainable ‘green’ options. Our environmental projects seek to protect the environment and help people use the resources they need without compromising them for future generations.

  • Our clients have the opportunity to off-set their carbon emissions created on their visit.
  • We have in place a solid waste management strategy and are continuing to explore greener alternatives for waste management e.g. building composting toilets in schools
  • We actively looking at ways of reducing our use of disposable and consumable goods
  • Wherever possible we minimise the use of harmful substances such as pesticides, cleaning products and paints, and substitute with innocuous and environmentally friendly products
  • The use and disposal of chemicals is properly managed
  • We use bamboo as a favourable & commercially viable alternative to charcoal production
  • Where possible, we have implemented extensive recycling programmes, esp for plastic
  • We choose only environmentally friendly products for building materials, capital goods, food and consumables
  • We look to implement measures to further reduce our energy and water consumption and all clients are encouraged to conserve water and energy during their stay.

Cultural Heritage

Everything we do is focused on culture. It is of paramount importance that our presence does not negatively impact on the cultural identity of our host countries. We strive to build a strong cultural awareness and respect among ourselves.

  • We provide our clients with the unique opportunity to live and work alongside rural communities, away from the traditional tourist circuit so that they can experience the true essence of the country they are visiting, creating a wholly positive experience for both visitors and hosts
  • We use elements of local art, design and architecture in our operations whilst respecting the rights of individual communities
  • We contribute to the protection of local historical, archaeological, culturally and spiritually important property and sites, improving awareness and access to them for local residents
  • Our volunteer code of conduct includes established guidelines for visits to culturally or historically sensitive sites
  • Historical/archaeological artefacts are not sold, traded or displayed except as permitted by law
  • We provide physical and financial support for small entrepreneurs to develop and sell sustainable products that are based on the area’s nature, history and culture, such as food, drink, arts and crafts)
  • We help to create cooperatives among neighbouring communities so that local arts, crafts and traditions can be preserved and flourish
  • We encourage our clients to purchase of locally made arts and crafts

We ensure that visits to local culturally/historically significant places are incorporated into our trip programmes wherever possible.

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