Culsans Gap Travel

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Culsans is a UK limited company offering 8 week, fully immersive, conservation based itineraries. The itineraries aim to teach the next generation about conservation from a 360 degree viewpoint while incorporating the 4c’s: community, culture, commerce and conservation. Our Kenyan itinerary runs twice a year: September and April. Each course can accommodate 10 students. Students are hosted on 3 different conservancies throughout their stay: Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Borana and Il Ngwesi. In the future we aim to run courses in India and also Brazil. Our overall company aims are: 1. to give students one of the most memorable times of their lives 2. to support local business through successful and purposeful commerce 3. to engage the next generation in conservation so they can become future ambassadors
Member since: 29 Jun 2018

How the minimum criteria of the responsible travel standard was met...

Economic responsibility

1. Culsans scholarship scheme
Each Culsans student makes an automatic donation of $500 towards this scheme. Should all places be filled, we would generate $5000 per course. This money is to be used for local children, who would otherwise not be able to afford it, to go to university.

2. Trainee guides
Culsans welcomes local trainee guides to come and listen to our ‘field guide and nature’ lectures at Il Ngwesi lodge. The lectures are held for 5 consecutive days and aim to teach Culsans students about the basics of field guide, conservation and nature training. This is hugely beneficial for local guides who need further experience and knowledge for their own exams. Sharing this education creates a great opportunity for everyone.

3. Beadwork Maasai ladies
Culsans actively supports the local women of the Il Ngwesi conservancy through pre ordering branded Maasai bracelets to sell onto interested students & parents at Gap Year Fairs.

4. Volunteering in schools
Culsans has created a specific curriculum alongside Lokusero school’s requirements, ensuring that the subjects we help with are wanted, required and unique to the students coming out. It is of paramount importance that we do not take away from local jobs or opportunities. The skills and knowledge we are helping to develop include: CV writing, IT skills, Permaculture Farming, English, Sports.

5. Local people
Wherever possible, Culsans is committed to offering jobs to local people within the communities. We aim to increase commerce in the area giving more income and opportunity to the local people. An example of this is the need for transport and drivers. We will use Il Ngwesi community members for this throughout the entire 8 weeks which will generate good income for the local economy.
We also aim to help with voluntary manual labour at the Kebati Regenative Farm. The work is long and hard and our volunteers will help boost production levels while also learning a new skill. The knowledge learnt will then be taught to the children of Lokusero School . We aim for this to help to generate a more positive and productive future for farming in the area while also giving additional opportunity for those not going on to university.

Environmental responsibility

Culsans operates a flat ban policy of ‘single use plastics’. Each student will be gifted a reusable water bottle and encouraged to pick up any rubbish lying on the ground if ever spotted. There will be a great emphasis and encouragement for students to recycle as much as possible throughout the entire course.

Protecting wildlife:
The main education of Culsans is how to love, respect and protect the environment and its inhabitants. Students will actively engage in game counts, experience bush walks, witness behind the scenes insights of conservation projects at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. Through this education we aim to produce future conservation ambassadors. This is a long term approach but will help protect our future world and its wildlife.

National Parks:
During the final week students are taking up Mt Kenya which is a national park. During their hike they will learn all about the trusts efforts to maintain and look after the surrounding beauty.

Carbon Footprint:
Car sharing is greatly encouraged at Culsans Gap Travel. When in the UK, public transport or walking is the most preferred method of travel and when on the ground in Kenya we ensure that vehicles are always filled to maximum capacity and used as rarely as possible. We do not use internal flights. We have also created a specialized menu which has a focus on seasonal and local foods. Laundry is also left to the students own devises avoiding mass loads and potential water waste.

Social responsibility

Culsans specialises in the education of conservation. In order to ensure we are doing this properly we follow the 4 c’s: conservation, culture, community, commerce. A large portion of the itinerary is therefore spent interacting with local people, their culture and various projects. The Il Ngwesi week in particular holds a key focus on an education in local culture, showcasing how important the Maasai traditions are and how they are developing alongside the modern world. Il Ngwesi is a community owned and run conservancy, therefore for the duration of this week the students are in the hands of the local Maasai. Every evening they will have “Maasai lessons” to help delve deeper in to the understanding of the Maasai culture and on their final night we host a traditional Maasai ceremony complete with traditional dress, dancing, singing, goat and elders blessings.

We also host a ‘community day’ where the students are split into their sexes and go off with the local people for the day. The boys herd cattle and goats while the girls do beadwork.

We aim that the raw authenticity of these experiences will enhance the student’s education and compassion towards a different culture in an interested and lasting manner.

Culsans also has a strict Travellers Code of Conduct. This comes in 2 parts:
Culsans will provide students with accurate pre-trip information including:
Global facts about their destination
Current social and political situation
Cultural differences to be aware of

On arrival students are given an introductory briefing to cover the following:
The beneficial impacts of purchasing local produce
The importance of minimising water consumption and where it comes from
Methods of reducing their personal impact and footprint
Information on local recycling and Culsans non-single use plastics policy
How to tip correctly and the etiquette for local bartering
A run through of the Culsans itinerary and how each element is purposeful to both student and local community

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