Since inception in 1988, Selous Safari Company has been investing in the future of Tanzania. Over the years our investment has taken on different guises from policy reforms and wildlife protection to community education programmes and supporting local charities. These initiatives have been funded by Selous Safari Company as well as generous donations by our wonderful guests.
On the ground
Within our camps we endeavour to be as eco-friendly as possible without interfering with our guests' experience. This includes using a state-of-the-art solar invertor system which allows guest to have 24 hour power and hot water while minimising the use of a generator. We also installed our own filter which we use for drinking water to save on plastic bottles which currently are throttling Africa.
When building and maintaining our camps we venture to use local, sustainable building materials as well as labour. All our recyclables return to Dar es Salaam and sent from paper and cardboard to glass, tins, plastic. Effectively and responsibly managing waste is imperative for the sustainability of our planet.
Ras Kutani is located in a rare coastal forest and since opening in 1992, Selous Safari Company has endeavoured to protect the local habitat for future generations. With the help of Tanzanian Forest Conservation Group, a project was run for 10 years to introduce tree husbandry to the local community.
This initiative was to train how to plant and nurture different trees, including hard wood trees, which had all been eradicated to make charcoal, and also cash crop trees, which could be used for building and charcoal. After this project the Ras Kutani Institute was created to protect the local environment and their good work can be seen today with our Forest Walk. Wildlife is the backbone of our business and protecting these amazing species is not only something we need to do, it is something Selous Safari Company feels very passionately about.
The turtle hatchings at Ras Kutani are supported by staff members, who help protect the nests from poachers and they are also guides for the guests. In Selous Game Reserve, the company augmented much needed anti-poaching patrols, which we continue to support.
Hiring, goods and services
Our hiring policy is driven by discovering diligent, hard-working people from the local community to work within our camps. On hiring, we train them to the highest standard and this new skill-set empowers them and offers them a new scope of employment as well offering them a steady salary and excellent medical benefits.
Buying supplies from the local community not only helps the camp lower the carbon footprint but also gives a steady trade to the growers and merchants. In Selous, we sponsored a farming project by buying them seeds, equipment, pumps and pipes so they could grow vegetables for the camps in Selous Game Reserve.
Donations and community investment
In Tanzania there are some outstanding local charities which achieve sustainable results within their chosen scope. For example SeaSense, Southern Tanzania Elephant Project (STEP), the annual Goat Races, Wonder Welders and African Rainforest Conservancy, which supports Tanzanian Forest Conservation Group. We support them by giving them cash donations as well as free holidays, which they can give away in raffles or auctions, raising much needed funding. To foster a steady economy, Tanzania needs to create the right environment for companies to flourish. Charles Dobie, director of Selous Safari Company, has campaigned tirelessly for over a decade as Vice Chairman and Treasurer of HAT (Hotel Association of Tanzania). For more information on their work please go to their website. Over the years guests have contacted us to ask what to bring for the local communities if they have a few kilos weight limit to spare. This kind gesture has been greatly appreciated and has led some guests to bring suitcases of donations with them! All our camps accept donations for their local communities, however if you would like to give out the gifts personally, Ras Kutani is the only viable option due to geography and not being in a National Park or Reserve.
Donations for the schools, such as stationery, dictionaries and reading books; the children, such as toys, games and footballs; and the clinics, such as basic medical supplies and health charts, are always well received.
However many items have a short life span and only help a few lucky villagers and for this reason we would always recommend supporting longer lasting projects which help the community as a whole. Sometimes the biggest impact in a community comes from a single project, something that simply makes daily life easier. Selous Safari Company have listened to the village chairmen and councils to see what would effect the biggest change and over the years have installed water pumps and wells, giving constant, clean water to the whole community; provided pumps and pipes to create irrigation systems; built a desperately needed police station for a population of over 5,000; and actioned several building and maintenance projects, recently completing new flooring and desks for both teachers and students, at Makifu School near Ruaha National Park.
Many believe the real change in Africa will come through education and to support this Selous Safari Company has initiated several education programmes.
In Mloko, our community in Selous, we sponsored teachers with increased salaries and training. The majority of education in Tanzania is expensive, approximately $400 per year, and leads to high numbers of drop outs. For this reason at Jongomero we have raised funds to sponsor over 20 secondary school children and still financially support several 12 – 15 year olds to receive an education.
After operating in Tanzania for nearly three decades, our understanding of charitable giving and community development has taken on a different shape. We are the first ones to put our hands up and say that some projects have been most valuable for the learnings they provided. Our understanding of how best to help is constantly evolving, based on a firm conviction that aid can cause significant amounts of damage to poverty-stricken countries, the citizens of which need empowerment rather than handouts. It is obvious to all that significant changes need to be made but it is imperative that this change is driven by the communities themselves rather than imposed upon by third party, first world organisations, this way the projects will have a chance of success and will lead to sustainable development.
With this in mind, Selous Safari Company has reformed its charitable policy to match these ideals. With the generous monetary donations from guests and also the company’s involvement, Selous Safari Company will endeavour to sponsor sustainable one-off projects within our local communities – collecting all the donations together and addressing each camp community in turn and asking them directly what we could do for them to make a positive change, not just for one life but the community’s life.
These ideas will be driven by the community, but delivered by Selous Safari Company and could take the shape of anything from installing guttering to gather rainwater or new beds for the medical clinic, to a donation of school books or fixing a water pump. We also continue to support environmental and wildlife driven projects with donations to reliable local charities which are already well indoctrinated and require funds to retain their high standard of good work.
If you are interested to hear about our next project please look at our blog or if you would like to donate to our sustainable, locally driven projects then email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that all funds are spent on the good works, we have no overhead costs and offer our time for free.