Environmental and Animal Welfare Responsibilities
As all of our projects concern ecotourism in regards to animals and a diversity of environments, it is essential that we work towards implementing conservation goals and support these. We do this by:
- Using fixed group sizes to avoid putting pressure on the surrounding environment and the species of wildlife present within it.
- Educating and training local communities where necessary on conservation and environmental management.
- Encouraging volunteers to adopt environmentally friendly practices.
- Enforcing a 'no animal contact' policy for animals that are in the process of rehabilitation and subsequent release.
- Working towards reforestation and environmental preservation of a diversity of environments – including game reserves, coral reefs and rainforests.
- Teaching volunteers the importance of environmental conservation and also the best possible methods for animal rehabilitation.
- Providing the best staff to educate volunteers in first class environmental and animal welfare initiatives.
Responsibilities to the project:
We believe that our projects need to fit in with local needs and requirements and address actual local problems. We believe that we have the following responsibilities as a responsible tourism company:
- To ensure that the project is based on realistic and achievable aims/objectives – meeting the needs of the host community.
- To provide volunteers with skills that match the needs of the projects.
- To work in joint partnership with local governments, organisations and the host community.
- To work to ensure that projects are sustainable to avoid dependency by the host community.
- To ensure that volunteers should work with, not instead of local workers
- To provide appropriate resources and support to run the volunteer programmes to those involved.
- To provide ongoing evaluation and monitoring of the volunteer projects.
Responsibilities to the volunteer:
We also have a responsibility to our volunteers in order to provide them with a meaningful project that is based on solid responsible volunteering principles. Responsibilities and commitments we feel that we ensure to our volunteers include:
- Providing an honest and accurate image of the companies and the charities with which we are associated with true values and objectives.
- Providing free, fair and unbiased information on the company and the projects that we offer.
- Preparing volunteers for the project through information on different cultures, what to expect and overall orientation programmes.
- Providing continual support for volunteers. From the moment they book until after they return home, volunteers have 24 hour access to our support team allowing for issues to be quickly dealt with.
- Ensuring the health and safety and wellbeing of volunteers to protect them from harm and potentially harming others.
- Recognising the importance of volunteers and value their contribution – helping them to realise the importance of their effort and overall volunteer work.
- Preparing the volunteer in what to expect about the culture and destination in which they are travelling to.
We also believe that we have a range of economic responsibilities to uphold in order to ensure that the host communities benefit financially from the projects in question. We believe we do this by upholding the following economic responsibilities:
- Helping to create a local economy through employing locals, using local accommodation and sourcing food and products locally where possible.
- Ensuring that the cost of the cost of the volunteer placement is covered and paid directly to the relevant local partners.
- Ensuring that the donations are given to community development projects, charity partners and to the projects themselves.
- Operating a policy of financial transparency – providing a breakdown of costs and how and where money is spent.
We also believe that the needs of the host community should lie at the heart of all of our volunteer placements. By understanding the host community and building equal partnerships based on mutual trust and respect, volunteer placements can run successfully. We believe we do this by upholding the following Socio-Cultural responsibilities:
- Helping to respect host communities and their values, attitudes and beliefs whilst encouraging volunteers to do the same.
- Helping to create local employment opportunities resulting in an alternative sustainable income for many local communities.
- Supporting and developing local infrastructure, health care and education – creating a better life as a result of tourism.
- Working with local people to develop and train them in relevant and useful skills providing them with a sustainable future.