Responsible travel is about travellers making informed and responsible choices, and planning trips which have a positive impact on the country they’re visiting, and its wildlife, environment and people. This usually means getting closer to local cultures, learning about the people and the history of places, and embracing diversity. It’s something that is part of our DNA at African Impact, it’s something we’ve built our lives and our reputation around, and it’s something that we like to think we’re pretty good at. More than that, it’s something that our team members, projects volunteers and the international responsible travel industry think we’re pretty good at. We love sharing Africa with our intrepid travellers, seeing the difference that you can make here, and seeing the changes that Africa makes in our volunteers. It’s a very special symbiotic relationship and one that we work constantly to improve and refine.
Volunteering abroad, if managed correctly, fits into this category and is a growing industry in itself, but don’t be too quick to believe everything you read. There are some organisations who would seek to exploit peoples’ desire to give back, and that’s where you (as the traveller) come in. It’s critical that you do your homework when choosing a volunteer organisation to travel with.
Find out whether they have a responsible volunteering policy, or proof of other policies that govern their operations. Make sure they have a proven ethos and philosophy around sustainable and responsible tourism practices. This applies both to their work with local communities and wildlife; and to the facilitation of you, the volunteer. Read reviews – there’s no proof like feedback from real people just like you! Any organisation worth its salt should have no problem providing you with enough information that you feel comfortable you are making the right choice.
What makes African Impact responsible? In a nutshell:
- We develop our projects alongside community stakeholders, making sure we are meeting the needs of the host community
- We run and manage our own projects and have teams made up of trained and experienced people managing things on the ground
- Our projects have long term goals in line with the communities we work in, and embrace sustainable best practice
- We employ local staff as coordinators and project support
- We offer 24 hour on the ground support to volunteers
- All volunteers undergo a comprehensive induction program upon arrival to prepare them for project work, introduce them to the local landscape and culture and brief them on safety
- We abide by a strict Code of Conduct and Child Protection Policy.