Tribal Voice Communications’ work in Kenya towards helping Maasai communities develop an ethical and sustainable source of income from tourism has been shortlisted in The Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards 2009, organised by responsibletravel.com.
Launched in 2004, the Awards aim to celebrate those individuals, companies and organisations in the travel industry that are making a significant commitment to the culture and economies of local communities and are providing a positive contribution to biodiversity conservation.
It is great that TVC’s work in Kenya with the Maasai tribe has been recognised in these awards in the ‘Best for Poverty Reduction’ category. We have been working in Kenya’s Masai Mara since 2006 overturning decades of exploitation of the Maasai cultural villages there by Kenya’s driver guides. Many of these villages are now benefiting from tourism for the very first time since setting up their tourism enterprises over 30 years ago and as a result are now lifting themselves out of the poverty trap through their newly acquired tourism income. They have to date built their own schools, rain water harvesting and sanitation systems.
The shortlist was selected by a panel of 13 prolific judges at a recent judging day held at The Royal Geographical Society, London. Dr Harold Goodwin, Chair of the Judges and Professor of Responsible Tourism Management at Leeds MetropolitanUniversity said :
“Working our way through this year’s long lists, we were impressed by the willingness of so many organisations to take responsibility and to do what they can to help make better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit. This year over 140 submitted detailed responses to our questionnaire and we received hundreds of references. Despite the economic difficulties being faced by the travel and tourism industry, responsible tourism continues to move ahead and I’m continually impressed as more is achieved by more people. As judges we are all very aware of the great work that is being done by so many and our decisions are often very difficult and sometimes long debated”.