Since March 2020, it became increasingly clear that the impact of Covid-19 in Sub-Saharan Africa was going to be enormous.
According to an estimate by SafariBookings, the safari industry usually generates some $12.4 billion in annual revenues for Sub-Saharan countries – thousands of people rely on the tourism industry to support themselves and their families. Since the pandemic began, the closure of tourism of regional and international borders, combined with partial lock-downs in Malawi and Zambia, has created a major economic vacuum in these countries.
It has had a severe, detrimental impact on people’s employment and food security, and their accessibility to education and healthcare. Without people visiting national parks, wilderness areas and wildlife have been vulnerable to exploitation and poaching.
In order to help prevent a devastating humanitarian crisis, we have been working harder and in different ways to support the communities that need it most.
From the very first day of building its first property, Ila Safari Lodge in Zambia’s Kafue National Park, Green Safaris’ mission has been to conserve wildlife, empower communities, and operate sustainably within pristine wilderness areas around Sub-Saharan Africa.
The six properties in Zambia and Malawi have been a means to that end, and each lodge or camp supports at least one conservation or environment initiative and one community project.
Most of the Green Safaris properties have been closed for long periods at a time, and some have been closed indefinitely. Without funding from guests, the Green Safaris Foundation has had to increase our efforts, with our work being important more than ever during this challenging time.
Our plan for 2020 was to get the majority of the Green Safaris lodge and camp staff involved in a wide variety of projects within their local communities in four locations in Zambia and one in Malawi. This was important in preventing unemployment and it enabled as many people as possible to support their families.
These projects were also initiated to address some of the biggest challenges faced by our communities and wildlife: income and food security, accessibility to education and healthcare, natural resource exploitation, and poaching of wildlife.
We named these our Covid Kindness projects. Our Covid Kindness projects targeted the most vulnerable groups in our communities, such as the elderly and children.
Some of the Covid Kindness projects we undertook were:
Educating and building awareness (in locally spoken languages) about Covid-19, non-medical ways to prevent transmission of the virus, and general health and safety measures.
Constructing sanitation systems, such as the ‘Tippy Tap’, which enables people to make their own handwashing stations using plastic water bottles and string.
Distributing large amounts of soap, disinfectants, and food.
Establishing a Food Support Programme for the Tongabezi Trust School children who were still given food daily, even while schools were closed in Livingstone, Zambia.
Initiated a large-scale Reforestation Project on Likoma Island in Malawi to simultaneously provide work and conserve the environment.
Expanded the Ila Community Farm just outside Kafue National Park in Zambia to create sustainable livelihoods and fresh food for the community.
Tasked our guides and rangers to take regular game drives (without guests) around the parks where Green Safaris properties operate. This presence helps prevent poaching happening undisturbed.
Invited children from our communities to visit the parks to learn about wildlife and conservation. We are also providing sustainable farming lessons to enable families to grow their own food.