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Finally a true eco-lodge company
We have been working hard to protect and improve the natural areas around our lodges for over two decades now. This includes both hands-on involvement with our local communities and protecting and preserving our surrounding fauna and flora.
Driving ecotourism through Campfire
Our lodges are part of Zimbabwe’s CAMPFIRE initiative. This natural resource management project looks at local community involvement in tourism and wildlife conservation. CAMPFIRE is the acronym for Communal Areas Management Program for Indigenous Resources. The philosophy underlying the project is: the people living within the natural resources are best placed to manage them and when doing so in a positive way, should reap the benefits directly.
Over the past five years, Imvelo have ploughed over US$ 1.5million into local communities. The money is distributed to where it is needed most - education, providing clean water and developing initiatives to ensure the local people are benefiting directly from tourism.
Driving ecotourism through providing clean water
The health of a community is directly linked to its access to clean drinking water and in dry western Zimbabwe, the single biggest issue with which local villagers have to cope is access to a year round supply of clean water. By drilling and fixing boreholes Imvelo strive to supply local people and their livestock with reliable sources of clean water. Over the past 3 years, Imvelo has been responsible for the establishment of 66 new village wells in 4 districts as well as hundreds of repairs. 5 of these new wells were at schools with an average of 300 pupils per school. The other wells provide water for an average of 40 families per well (6 people per family on average). This program has transformed the lives of over 120 000 villagers and it is no wonder then that guests from our lodges who take part in one of our famous village visits are welcomed so warmly when they are shown around.
Until a few years ago, most local villagers around Hwange and Victoria Falls had never received any dental care, so, in 2011, we teamed up with 13 Spanish and Italian volunteer dentists and formed our first mobile dentist safari. The response from the communities was both overwhelming and heart wrenching. People travelled from miles around to receive vital, and in some cases, life-saving dental care.
In the past five years, well over 8 000 dental procedures have been carried out, including extractions, fillings and root canals - for free! This incredibly successful initiative has transformed thousands of lives and has received multiple awards click HERE for more information or view our blog post HERE. In 2015 for the first time, we ventured into eye care as well during the same programme, with a volunteer optometrist and 165 spectacles sourced by Elke from International Travel Partners.
Already plans are underway for the 2016 mobile dentists safari so be sure to follow the progress of these heroes from Sonrisas Para Zimbabwe and their support team from Imvelo.
Driving ecotourism through providing education
Providing much needed support to the teachers and schools that educate the young people living on the frontline of our wildlife areas is a primary goal for Imvelo and we provide direct support to 9 different schools around our lodges.
Two examples are Ziga and Ngamo Primary School on the edge of Hwange National Park. By 2010 through a combination of donated funds from visiting tourists, revenues from safari camp lease fees and funds by the local safari operators, these schools went from being the worst primary schools in the district to the best. Nearly 500 students all have safe clean classrooms, including 3 complete new classroom blocks built by Imvelo, with furniture, electricity and water. The teachers are all now also housed in comfortable cottages, receive salary initiatives and training support. The schools have become the pride of the community and are a show case for the success of the program.
As the primary schools began to function well, an issue became obvious - there was only a 5% recruitment of primary school leavers to secondary school. So, the plan for Ngamo Secondary School was hatched.
In 2010 the first high school classroom block was built by Imvelo with funds raised from concerned and involved donors. By the end of 2011 through the generosity of our guests and donors - and a lot of hard work - the school had 2 double classroom blocks, an ablution block, 3 teachers cottages and 110 eager pupils enrolled.
During 2012 and 2013 Imvelo Safari Lodges and their donors built 3 more teachers cottages with ablutions and kitchens, drilled and equipped a well for the teachers and students and established a school library. Enrolment continues to increase to this day.
Guests on Imvelo’s signature school visits are welcomed by proud school heads and teachers and entertained with welcome songs from grateful school children, culminating in a heartwarming interaction between guests and these excited school children who are eager to learn about people from elsewhere in the world.
Here at Imvelo we are at the cutting edge of successful community-based conservation initiatives and love connecting people with nature
We are proud members of Pack for a Purpose, an initiative that allows travelers like you to make a lasting impact in the community at your travel destination. If you save just a few kilos of space in your suitcase and take supplies for the Ngamo Primary School, you’ll make a priceless impact in the lives of our local children and families. Please click HERE to see what supplies are needed for our project/projects.