In a continued drive to aid rural communities in Botswana, Wilderness Safaris donated additional consignments of essential supplies to Tsodilo Hills and the Okavango Community Trust villages at the end of August 2020.
Thanks to generous support from past guests, friends, trade partners and Wilderness Safaris staff and Chairman’s Foundation, 1 820 food hampers have been delivered to over 17 settlements in Botswana since April, assisting thousands of people with improved food security, and providing crucial relief due to challenges brought about by COVID-19.
“Over the lockdown period we were inspired by government’s efforts to assist the people of Botswana, and embarked on a mission with the support of local chiefs and government to provide food hampers to numerous rural communities around the country, which has been home to us since the inception of Wilderness Safaris in 1983”, notes Kim Nixon (below left), Wilderness Safaris Botswana MD.
“Many rural communities in northern Botswana are reliant upon ecotourism to earn revenue, and have been really hard hit by the current pandemic and worldwide lockdowns. Even with some domestic tourism opening up in the region, their needs still remain great, and the struggle is intensifying daily. We are doing everything possible to ensure that we can continue to assist our communities with this much-needed food relief, and are extremely grateful for the generosity of our partners, staff, guests and Chairman’s Foundation, who have made this possible”, adds Kim.
As Botswana moves into the hottest and driest time of the year, the struggle for many communities will intensify in the next few months. “We recently visited the villages of Eretsha and Gudigwa, literally the hardest hit villages, located at the furthest end of the Delta. In addition to food relief, there is an urgent need to assist Eretsha Primary School with further classrooms and ablution facilities. There are currently only two classrooms for over 200 pupils; one in three children have a desk and chair, so most sit on the ground; and only two long-drop toilets. We are reaching out to local authorities to work together to support the school, and have begun fundraising efforts to build two more classrooms and another six toilets”, says Kim.
Water for hygiene, and, very importantly, to reduce issues occurring as a result of human-elephant conflict – such as encountering elephant at the river where water is being collected – is also in extremely short supply. Wilderness Safaris has therefore identified six sites suitable for boreholes and community hand pumps. Each installation costs P75 000 (USD6 525) and would service the needs of between 1 000 – 2 000 people in the vicinity. The above-ground works would also be equipped for overflow, for livestock drinking water.
“Our alliance and collaboration with our communities, partner organisations, donors, as well as our close working relations with government, has never been as crucial as it is in this moment. We have a cherished and long-held association with these communities and care deeply about their wellbeing. We will continue to work together, doing as much as possible to make a positive difference”, concludes Kim.
SUPPORT OUR CONSERVATION HEROES
~ Wilderness Safaris COVID Relief ~
The impact of COVID-19 in Africa has been profound – particularly on wildlife conservation and rural communities dependent on tourism. Please join us to support our Conservation Heroes. Together we are stronger, and together, we can continue to change lives. It only costs USD50 to feed a family for a month. Or USD5 000 to cover the monthly operations of an anti-poaching team. Every single contribution, no matter how big or small, makes a significant difference.
To learn more about Wilderness Safaris COVID relief efforts, click here