Wilderness Safaris’ Group Culture and Children in the Wilderness (CITW) Regional Programme Coordinator, Bongani Baloyi, recently participated in the 2019 University of Cambridge Sustainability Practitioners Programme in Cape Town to showcase the company’s commitment to ongoing training and development of its staff members.
The four-day workshop is affiliated with the University of Cambridge through the university’s Institute for Sustainability Leadership. It invites sustainability leaders from various industry sectors to share best practice and discuss solutions to current global sustainability challenges.
“The workshop was an eye-opener for me and really challenged my perspective on the role we play, particularly in local communities. It was inspiring to see that Wilderness Safaris remains on a par with leading global sustainability-driven organisations, but as a leader of authentic ecotourism, it is vital that we continually investigate better ways in which we can achieve our overall mission: To conserve and restore Africa’s wilderness and wildlife by creating life-changing journeys and inspiring positive action”, said Bongani.
The programme provided an excellent platform for Bongani to gain expertise, while also sharing Wilderness Safaris’ best practice methodologies with other industry leaders. The conference inspired many new ideas for Wilderness Safaris to increase community engagement and cultural activities for its guests, as Bongani believes this is vital to the success of ecotourism and a great way to derive value for local communities.
“Our business has a strong role to play in community social issues, as this is one of the most important ways we can benefit those who live in and around our areas of operation. Our 4Cs – Commerce, Community, Culture and Conservation – blueprint has enabled us to do so much within our communities and I believe it can enable us to do even more. When we create value for our local communities, we strengthen our relationships and gain their support in bringing our mission to life”, added Bongani.
Bongani’s other plans for the year include rolling out Wilderness Safaris’ Ethics Charter training to staff in Namibia and the Zambezi region, organising the annual Wilderness Heritage Day celebrations to create awareness and celebrate diversity, as well as improving culture collateral across all offices and Wilderness Safaris camps.
“Culture is a vital component of the Wilderness Safaris 4Cs sustainability ethos that speaks to where we come from and where we are going. It has enabled us to continue offering our guests authentic and life-changing journeys while contributing to cultural preservation in many communities. I believe it is our cultural understanding and appreciation that helps us maintain good, long-standing relationships with our community stakeholders”, concluded Bongani.