African Adventures’ initial commitment to long-term development at the projects it supports is detailed in our Community Development Pledge, which ranges from the provision of capital for income-generating initiatives and on-site souvenir shops to meals for children and subsidising school fees. However, our trips ensure that our wider economic impact is far-reaching and profound. Though we have UK Co-ordinators based in both Ghana and Kenya during busy programme periods, we want to use the expertise and experience of domestic Co-ordinators to ensure that our volunteers benefit from the skills of our entire workforce. We purposely purchase all foodstuffs from local businesses to support local economies and, where possible, individual market sellers for staple food, fruits and vegetables. We use an approved local transport company in both countries to provide safe transport for volunteers and support small businesses. In addition, we organise accommodation through small businesses as opposed to hotel chains. In one area of Ghana, we use a project-owned volunteer house, which donates all of its profits to two nearby primary school projects to help cover its costs.
As one of the UK’s leading ethical travel organisations, we take our environmental responsibilities seriously both in the UK and in Africa. The UK office does not print brochures and instead communicates all information literature via email to save needlessly wasting paper and ink. We only work with airlines which offer volunteers the option to offset their CO2 emissions. In Ghana and Kenya, we encourage all staff and volunteers – where logistically possible – to use public transport to reduce CO2 emissions. Where hygienically possible, food which is prepared for volunteers is never thrown away. We are acutely aware of the malnutrition issues which many families face in the areas we work and if it is appropriate, we will ensure unused food is shared those who are not able to fund their own. We support the Kenya Wildlife Service and the Ghana Wildlife Division, who between them host our adventure activity trips and organise an annual fundraising events for their respective wildlife protection divisions.
Where possible, we encourage projects to adopt an entrepreneurial approach to generate their own revenue, alleviating pressure on external donors which can instead be spent on longer-term initiatives. Separately, whilst working at your project, there will be ample opportunity to gain a better understanding of why the project exists, what challenges it faces and how it plans to move forward. In addition, there are regular community visits at some projects, which involves visiting families who are unable to travel to school, hospital or to the local shops without support. Before you leave for your trip, you will be provided with a comprehensive information document about your project, together with any resources you may find useful during your trip. For example, we provide all teaching volunteers with copies of the domestic syllabus so teaching assistants can travel with a good idea of the academic level children are expected to reach in their class.