Gebeco and Futouris support the development of a community-based training and tourism project in Namibia
Hamburg / Kiel, 16 October 2019. Futouris e.V. and Gebeco, a specialist in worldwide adventure and study tours, are expanding their joint commitment to improving the living conditions of a Khwe community in the Namibian Bwabwata National Park. After successfully building training and education programs with the community since 2013, the goal of the current partnership is to establishment of a self-sustaining community-based training and visitor center.
The local community of Khwe lives in the Bwabwata National Park in northern Namibia – and has been for thousands of years. Today, however, the Khwe are increasingly confronted with the challenges of the modern world. Valuable cultural traditions, such as hunting and gathering in the wild, threaten to be lost, which also results in a loss of vital livelihoods. This is where the joint commitment of Gebeco and Futouris comes in. The two organizations have been supporting the Khwe community since 2013 in preserving their cultural knowledge, passing it on to younger generations, and developing new sources of income by integrating tourism. For this purpose, knowledge transfer training programs have been developed and implemented by the elders to future generations. In addition, initial programs for conveying traditional knowledge to travelers were created and tested with Gebeco travel groups.
Now it’s time to for the Khwe to start their own business. The aim of the current partnership is therefore that the Khwe can manage their project independently and generate a stable ans sustainable income for their community. For this purpose, the Khwe are supported in the establishment of a so-called “Cultural Village”. It is intended to become a permanent starting point as a central training center as well as for the reception of guests.
“With this project, we combine development cooperation and tourism product: We support the development of a community-based small business and make it possible for our guests to experience sustainability through visits to the Cultural Village,” says Thomas Bohlander, CEO of Gebeco.
In designing and building the Cultural Village, the Khwe receives energetic support from the local non-profit organization “Living Culture Foundation Namibia” (LCFN). The LCFN is committed to rural development in Namibia by helping local communities combine the preservation and transfer of their traditional culture with the creation of new income opportunities in the tourism sector. The LCFN follows the principles of in-house development and responsibility, whereby the organization provides support to the local community, but the projects are developed and executed by the communities themselves.
The second important part of the project is the continuation of the development of training programs for the local community. The project focuses on the preservation and promotion of knowledge that is very important for the daily life of the Khwe community: the handling of wild animals. Coexistence between humans and elephants in the park is not always easy, as animals often destroy Khwe fields or access points to clean drinking water in search of food or water. Therefore, in 2018, the first training to promote a peaceful coexistence between humans and elephants in the National Park was implemented by project partner Elephants Human Relations Aid (EHRA). This project is now being expanded and two members of the Khwe community are trained as elephant experts so that they can then pass on their knowledge to the community.
The local project partner next to LCFN and EHRA is the Gebeco agency African Travel Concept (ATC), which assists the Khwe community in designing deals for travelers.
This partnership is based on the “wilderness tracker” project, initiated in 2013, which aims to preserve and transfer the unique knowledge of the Khwe community. The focus of the follow-up project is the independent management of the project by the Khwe, so that a stable and sustainable income can be generated.