Responsible tourism: Victoria Falls conservation volunteer project, Zimbabwe
This project has been specifically developed and created to address conservation issues facing the wildlife and environment of this UNESCO protected area. Many of the species that can be found here are rare or endangered, and so their numbers require protection.
The multiple initiatives undertaken by the staff and volunteers on this project actively contribute to the conservation of some of the area’s most important species, most prominently the black rhino and elephant. The interaction that the volunteers have with local schoolchildren is also invaluable, as it not only provides the children with one-on-one educational contact, but it inspires them to view the native animals that inhabit the area with respect, and to value them as integral to the natural ecosystem.
Through combining these initiatives, the project encourages community involvement in conservation efforts, and bridges the gap between humans and animals that has widened in recent years, resulting in the endangerment of many of the species.
The project team acknowledges the importance of a holistic approach to tackling conservation issues, and strives towards making a difference through integration of conservation, education and community. Thus, the programme structure on the Victoria Falls Conservation Project is based on the approach that everything is interconnected, and specific issues cannot be effectively addressed in isolation.
For this reason, the project aims to educate both its volunteers and the local communities on the importance of conservation, creating environmental awareness through volunteers in the community and abroad.
The project has also teamed up with other great organisations who share the vision, including TUSK Trust, the Children in the Wilderness Foundation and the International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF). The vision is to provide an education centre that is recognized for its high standards in the conservation and community work achieved, and experiences and education offered to students and volunteers, thereby enriching the lives of all people involved, and simultaneously preserving the unique natural environment of the Victoria Falls area for future generations