The guesthouse is owned and operated by the Island Youth Association which is registered with the Ministry of Social Welfare as a Community-Based Organisation (CBO). The BIGH has a Management Committee whose members included the elected town chief (Mrs Elizabeth Wray) other island residents and our sponsors and investors/donors(a US-based NGO,FARE).
The land is community owned. It is in the care of the Youth Association for the development of a guest house. The guest house is owned by the Youth Association with the Management Committee having control of investment decisions. As a community based tourism project the goal is that all profits will be reinvested in the project and the community.
We employ 20 local people in our chalets providing necessary employment in the community. We provide staff training including sending staff to a restaurant in Freetown to learn how to wait tables etc. We also provide literacy training for all staff.
We have improved drainage to protect the beaches; we want to train our staff about biodiversity, bio-hot spots, good environmental stewardship etc. and have tried to get a volunteer to the island through an ecotourism association and the British VSO program but have been unsuccessful so far.
We have developed a bakery as a micro-project and have plans to develop a crafts center and tailor shop but have no funds at present. We have also approached other groups to try to get a nurse on the island (we have a health center but it has been closed for three years due to no staff) and the local primary school is getting some assistance from our backers.
We have named each room after an historic figure and have a framed one page description on each building. We have developed a pamphlet about the islands history and its relationship to the history of Sierra Leone in order to inform our guests of our cultural and historic heritage.
Several tourists have asked us how they can help the community more and we are happy to obtain donations from them for local projects - like topping up the nurses salary to induce her to move to the islands.