Practicing Responsible Tourism
Working in the South Luangwa has many challenges and demands but Robin Pope Safaris never loses sight of the importance of the responsibility that comes with working in a fragile and rare environment with a unique tribal community.
Working with the people
“Our workforce comes predominantly from the local tribal community, the Kunda people. Our work brings us close to the chiefs, the tribal leaders, and of course the villagers in many ways and maintaining a respectful but relaxed relationship has been paramount. After all, we are part of the community”.
“Over the last twenty years the process of Zambianizing the jobs has been impressive in the Valley as a whole. At RPS we have mostly Zambian guides (17 out of 20 guides are local) which is a complete turnaround from 20 years ago. We are also training staff in all the areas of the headquarters – office, workshops, stores etc.”
Education : Kawaza School Project
Kawaza School was built in 1932 and lies in the rural area of Chief Nsefu. The school gets limited money from the government and would be in an impossible state without the donations given by our guests and supporters. Since 1988 we have been working with the school to improve the standards of the buildings, access to educational material and number of teachers.
Nsefu School is some four kilometres from Kawaza and the growing gap in standards was becoming an issue and so we have started the process of renovation at Nsefu School as well.
In addition to the government schools we have also helped to form two community schools in the Nsefu area, Kapita Community School and Katapila Community School. The community schools provide the opportunity for small children who cannot walk the far distances to school to be able to attend classes and they also offer an learning environment for students who have been turned away from the government schools due to overpopulation.
Beyond the building of schools we also support a number of local children through secondary school and college, both of which are quite expensive in relation to the annual income earned in the local area.
It is also quite difficult to get a sufficient number of teachers employed and paid at the local schools and so we have made an effort to pay more than 15 teachers salaries at Kawaza, Nsefu, and Kapita Community School so that the children will be able to benefit from smaller class sizes and more classroom time with the teachers.
Robin Pope Safaris founded the Luangwa Safaris Association Medical Fund, which currently donates to the upkeep of the main local clinic in the Mfuwe area. The clinic provides healthcare for more than 20,000 residents in the Luangwa area and through the medical fund we provide a volunteer doctor at the clinic, as well as providing medical supplies and medicines through donations
Robin Pope Safaris has an HIV/AIDS programme set up for staff members. HIV/AIDS currently affects approximately 25% of the population of Zambia and with new Anti-Retroviral Drugs (ARV’s) now freely available we want to make sure that everyone on our staff has the opportunity to be counseled and tested, receive ongoing attention and when necessary have access to the drugs. We provide weekly transport to the district hospital, over an hour away, and when asked we assist staff members and their spouses if they have any extra costs relating to having the disease.
Conservation and carbon footprint
Robin Pope Safaris have always contributed to the Luangwa Valley conservation – in many ways. Other than donations to the South Luangwa Conservation Society (SLCS), time and vehicles are always made available for conservation efforts. Keyala Phiri, our Nkwali Camp Manager, is also on the board of SLCS.
To reduce our carbon footprint and also to help reforest the Nsefu area we have started the Reforest Nsefu project. This project will plant a combination of trees to help counter two very important environmental issues... carbon emissions and deforestation. The first trees were planted in July 2007 and there will be on going plantings from this point on with the help of Kawaza and Nsefu schools and the community of the Nsefu area.
Offset Your Flights
In conjunction with the Reforest Nsefu project we have partnered with FlyingForest.org, an organization based in South Africa who plants trees to offset the carbon emitted by flights.
If you are interested in making your trip to Robin Pope Safaris truly carbon-free, please follow the link and offset your flights.