How We Are Achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals
Kenya in east Africa is a country abundant with natural beauty and home to some of the world’s rarest wildlife. It’s a fragile ecosystem, with many keystone species and a cultural heritage which is deeply embedded in communities. This is why, for us, sustainability and regeneration has to be at the very core of our business.
As responsible tour operators, we observe and follow best industry practices during our Kenya safari tours and always try to educate local children, people and guests on holiday in Kenya to adhere to environmental policies which help to heal and not harm our planet.
In this blog post we want to show our guests how we are achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in Kenya, so that you know you are travelling with a company that truly cares about people, wildlife, the environment and future of our planet.
The UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals
Sustainability and Regeneration in Kenya
The United Nations have defined 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) which they intend for us, as a global community to achieve by 2030.
Many of these goals are linked to reducing poverty and inequality in countries around the world, protecting the environment, encouraging growth in local communities and focusing on the preservation of life below water, and on land.
We are already on the right path, shining a light on the Kenyan initiatives which impact our lives, and the lives of others – both human and animal. We have detailed below how we currently focus on these SDG’s and what we do to achieve them.
After all, if nature rewards those who learn to protect it, we believe this is a good place to start!
Helping to Combat Hunger in Communities
UN SDG #2 – Zero Hunger
UN SDG #3 – Good Health & Well being
The World Food Programme states that currently 135 million people suffer from acute hunger around the world due to economic downturns, climate change and man-made conflicts. If recent trends continue, it is estimated that 840 million people will be affected by extreme hunger by 2030.
Our dedicated safari guides in Kenya and office-based teams try to combat this in the local area, by distributing food to selected primary schools, offering rice and porridge so that the children eat well and regularly.
As we help others remain healthy and properly nourished, it sets an example, educating future generations to be compassionate and caring towards others and to be willing to help those in need
Working With Local Schools in Kenya
UN SDG #4 – Quality Education
As ambassadors for the preservation of wildlife in east Africa, it is our responsibility to inform and educate future generations about our national parks, the animal species living there and indigenous peoples who call it their home.
We always ensure that education is at the forefront of our business, whether it’s visiting local children’s homes and giving talks or offering excursions and safaris to enlighten visitors about the area.
Every year we organise tours for children from the Excel Emanuel School in Kibera slum, Nairobi. Life is tough for children here, extreme poverty is rife, there are constant food shortages and high crime rates.
We offer the children a short-term escape, providing food, transport, safari game drives and gifts by which to remember the experience. When we show a different perspective, it gives them hope and highlights their love for nature and animals, enabling them to make positive decisions as they continue to grow and evolve.
These trips are an ongoing project of ours, and for each travel booking we donate $10 USD so we can offer more excursions each year. We also invite guests to sponsor educational tours in Kenya and to become part of our sustainable tourism efforts
Investing in Our Employees
UN SDG #1 – No Poverty
UN SDG #8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth
Our safari guides, administration staff and cleaning crew are all important members of our team. We respect them and the roles they play in our continued success as a business.
Our employees participate in on-going training when needed, we support their career development and aspirations, and pay them a fair and decent wage, reflecting individual skills, experience and training.
Our sustainable safari tours in Kenya directly benefit local communities too, as we employ locally and continue to embed our development goals to assist the growth of cities and regions we work in.
Recycling and Reducing Waste
UN SDG #12 – Responsible Consumption and Production
UN SDG #14 – Life Below Water
Since February 2020, we have been replacing all single use plastic bottles containing drinking water with stainless steel bottles for our team of guides and safari guests. These bottles are double-insulated to help keep drinks cooler for longer and our safari vehicles carry 20 litres of water to top up drinks on route.
We don’t use or provide plastic straws, instead replacing them with more eco-friendly bamboo straws if requested, and each vehicle is stocked with recycled plastic bags to dispose of any litter during the tours.
That’s not all, in our head office, we have waste separating facilities for recycled and non-recycled goods, and work alongside Nairobi Taka Taka Solutions who sort and recycle up to 95% of our waste.
Re-Foresting in Kenya
UN SDG #13 – Climate Action
We are passionate about protecting the environment in Kenya but acknowledge that this is no easy task. Climate change affects every country across all continents, disrupting economies and impacting lives. Kenya has lost many forests over the past couple of decades to deforestation, which can be incredibly damaging to air quality, keystone species and important food sources.
To counteract this devastating loss of biophilia, we work with KATO, supporting a ground-breaking tree planting initiative.
Local communities come together to plant, water and maintain the tree seedlings regularly and in May 2020, we helped to plant 2,000 trees in the national parks of Kenya.
We also understand that for every safari we undertake each day, our carbon footprint increases. We offset this by partnering with Seed Balls Kenya to re-forest the terrain, and for every booking we take through our website we donate $1 USD to the cause.
Seedballs are indigenous, cost effective, mass produced seeds, which can be dispersed over vast areas of terrain easily, reintroducing trees and grass species into degraded areas, thus, rehabilitating the land.
Guests can become involved in our tree planting initiatives whilst on safari in Kenya should they choose to and make donations to Seed Balls Kenya to continue helping throughout the year.
Protecting Humans, Animals & Environments
UN SDG #15 – Life on Land
This Sustainable Development Goal is incredibly important to us. In this corner of east Africa, the indigenous people, wildlife and resources need protecting more than ever. Therefore, in addition to reducing our plastic use and re-foresting to offset our carbon footprint, we also support conservancies vital to protecting endangered and threatened wildlife species.
This includes working with Ol Pejeta – a 360 km2, not-for-profit wildlife conservancy in central Kenya. Ol Pejeta works to conserve wildlife throughout the region, they provide a sanctuary for great apes and have the largest black rhino sanctuary in the region, helping to raise the population each year. They also operate a centre for rescued and orphaned chimpanzees and house the only two remaining northern white rhinos in the world.
We collaborate with Laikipia Wildlife Forum who take a more holistic approach to conservation, by accurately linking the well being of people with the health of the natural environment. Also, we work alongside Lewa Wildlife Conservancy who help to preserve the wetlands and wildlife of Kenya by placing key focus on anti-poaching initiatives and changing community mindsets regarding topics of water, agriculture, agro-forestry and healthcare.
Working With Those Who Share Our Vision
UN SDG #17 – Partnerships for the Goals
In addition to the conservation partners, we work with to preserve Life on Land, we are also members of several further initiatives to help us achieve our mission.
Our travel company, from its moment of inception, has always been about leaving positive footprints in Kenya, and that is why we embed social and environmental best practices into everything we do. We are members of Eco Tourism Kenya and the Kenya Association of Tour Operators, so that we can share our vision with other industry professionals, and continually follow the guidance of Sustainable Tourism International, Partnership for Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria, United Nations Millenium Development Goals and Kenya’s governmental policies.
Recently, we achieved partner level on Travelife. This is no easy feat and involves adhering to a number of corporate social responsibility themes and issues, which include, water and waste management, energy efficiency and conservation, labour practices, human rights, community relations, cultural impacts, animal welfare and ecosystem conservation to name a few!
However, this comes naturally to us. We are committed to protecting and preserving the environment and wildlife in Kenya for this generation and those to come and will always partner with companies who share our vision.
What’s Next For Us?
This is our story so far, as you can see we are just beginning an exciting journey with many more pathways and challenges ahead. There are more initiatives to follow over the coming months and years, from which we will continue to evolve and grow and help to educate the next generation of forward-thinkers in Kenya.