Location InfoSouth Luangwa National Park, ZambiaDescription
The Sustainable Tourism Challenge, Zambia
There is a huge contrast between visitors of touristic sites and locals living in the touristic area. Also in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia this problem arises. Locals feel disrespected, have no idea what happens with the pictures tourists make of them and communication remains superficial. Moreover, locals feel they are being exploited by international tourism organisations. They are happy they offer them jobs, however they have to work 6 days per week for a salary that does not suffice, leaving them no chance to develop themselves. The focus of the Sustainable Tourism Challenge is therefore to create together with local stakeholders an intervention that improves intercultural exchange between visitors and locals based on mutual respect and equality and to improve livelihoods of locals living in South Luangwa National Park.
The 7Senses Challenge is an intensive 12-week program for students, post-graduates and professionals. In a multi-disciplinary, international team they perform Participatory Action Research in the field to boost community empowerment while at the same time work on their own personal and professional development.
|Challenge name||Sustainable Tourism Challenge|
|Start date||March 2018|
|Number of participants||4|
|Number of local researchers||2|
Each Challenge design starts from a community issue, addressed by its problem owners at location. As such, we make sure the Challenge is based on local demand rather than donor demand. Together with these local stakeholders, we design the Challenge in a way that fits the local context, from the problem framing up to methodology and concept definitions.
The growing tourism in Mfuwe area has an influence on the development of the communities in the area, there are positive influences as well as negative influences, what are these influences and how can these be changed and/or reduced in a way that local communities can gain more benefits from the tourism industry.
To co-create and implement together with local stakeholders ideas/projects on community development through tourism with keeping in mind cultural norms, values and traditions.
What intervention can be co-created and implemented with local stakeholders in Mfuwe area for more positive community development through tourism without losing local cultural norms, values and traditions?
- What does community life look like in Mfuwe area and what are the main important structures, conditions and basic norms and values of the village life?
- What is the community perspective on the growing tourism industry in Mfuwe Area?
- What have occurred or changed in the community (as a result of tourism) over the past 5 years? (And who benefitted from these changes?)
- Did tourism bring positive change in the community life or for local residents, if yes what were those benefits?
- Did the villagers (local residents) and community experience negative influence caused by tourism, if yes what were these influences?
- How would the local community in Mfuwe area like to benefit from the tourism industry? What would their ideal community situation look like?
- Networking / informal conversations
- Interviews structured / half structured/ unstructured
- Transect walks / Guided tours
- Church visits
- Cross the line (community group)
- Village mapping
- Focus groups
- Questionairs at schools
Which terms should be defined
- Tourism Industry
- Action Research
- Mfuwe area
- Human-animal conflict
- Village constructions
- Local norms and values
Each Challenge delivers direct outcomes for the local community on the addressed issue: we can share how many people have been reached, what their perspective is on the current and desired situation and what final Community Action Plan (CAP) they have co-created and implemented. In a later stage, local stakeholders will evaluate the impact of the CAP.
According to local stakeholders they don’t benefit enough from the growing tourism. Only a handful of locals from the community have a chance to work in the tourism industry, as an example at a lodge, the others in the community only benefit indirectly by doing some piece works like working on the land for example of the more fortunate naber. The community can see that some of the people in the community are gaining benefits, there is jealousy, since the difference in standard is growing. Since all the locals in the community would like to be part of the development and profit from it, like having electricity in the village and all children of every household being able to go to school. They can see there is development in the area and some lucky ones are benefitting, but feel the system to get part of the ones that benefit is corrupt. You need to have the right network or connections to be in the position to be able to benefit from all of it. For example schools have been built by the tourism industry and less fortunate children from poor families get the chance to go to school and be paid for, but they don’t understand how the system works and feel that if you know the teacher in charge then you’ll be chosen otherwise there is no chance. So on the one hand the community is positive about some development that’s been coming along with the growth of the tourism industry but on the other hand they feel left behind and even mentioned that ‘white people that come to see the animals’ might look down on them and the way they live, like they should be ashamed.
The local community would love to be part of the development of the area and be part of projects that would help develop their village and community, better infrastructure, electricity, more transport options, knowledge sharing opportunities, generating income group projects, a nursery and that all the children would be able to go to school. This is what they want to strive towards and work together on. They would love to start a market and generate income for the community to invest into sustainable development and change. Give their children and the youth new and better opportunities. Next to this they want to tackle the system of corruption in the area, since this is what they feel is keeping them down and small. The system is against them and its keeping them from sustainable development. Investment money and goods is getting lost along the way.
As the picture shows, they chose to realize the borehole, the market and the nursery school. In the end they discussed that it would be best to start with the market, as this could bring money and with that money they could realize the other ideas faster.
We focused on 2 main topic themes during our project. 1. Business and 2. Development.
For Business a group has been selected to work together on realizing a market for the community, the market will be managed by the group and there will be e a chance for the whole community to sell their products. The market will consist out of 2 parts. 1. will sell vegetables and crops since there is no vegetable market in the nearby area, 2. the market will sell handmade souvenirs for the tourist that are visiting the national park and the area. This will generate income to invest into other development projects in the community.
For the second topic, development, the local stakeholders strongly felt they are being threatened unfair because of corruption and came up with an idea to work on that. A anti-corruption awareness group, they want to educate all the members of the community and the surrounding communities on corruption and how corruption is threatening them and keeping them down. They want to become strong together to be able to stand up to corruption when it hits them. They feel like sharing knowledge and discussing the topic with all the community members will help preventing others to sometimes unknowingly joining or accepting the corruption. The group is there to educate on the topic and to get strong together to fight it. They want to organize a committee with a representative from every community selected. In that way as a committee they will be able to plan meetings with government institutions when they want more insight on certain procedures or projects and or how this failed. As a committee they stand strong together to face the bigger system and represent their communities and the development of the villages. Gain more insight and stand up for the wanted development in their villages. It’s a educative- awareness program with which they in the future aim to make big chances to end corruption and gain benefits for their community.
The impact of this Challenge has not been measured yet. As soon as we have results of the impact measurement, it will be presented here.
Sustainable Development Goals
Blogs and reports of the Sustainable Tourism Challenge
- Blog: The Sustainable Tourism Challenge in Action!
- Report: De Groot, F. (2018). Positive Change. Participatory Action Research as a tool for the community. Sustainable Tourism Challenge Report. Download here.
- Blog: Terugblik op de Sustainable Tourism Challenge: samen is alles mogelijk!