With Steve off on his water project, the rest of us split into groups and started brainstorming and researching new ideas. I paired of with Deirdre. One of the ideas that I’d suggested when we first got together in the UK was to look at harnessing the growing eco-tourism market.
There are so many deprived countries to which tourism is a vital lifeline. Eco-tourism – or holidays where you’re giving something back to the community – is simply an extension to this. So we started kicking around ideas of what sort of eco-tourism type initiatives we could get going. Our underlying objective is to come up with something that could not only bring money into the village, but also directly benefit the lives of people in the village in other ways too. And the outcome: Teach Inn Uganda.
The concept is to build a tourist hotel in the village. Guests would pay to stay at the hotel and split their time between exploring the landscape of Uganda (which is simply beautiful) and also teaching English and sport to the children in the village.
The upside: profits from the hotel can go back into the community; it’ll provide job opportunities for the villagers – not just people working in the hotel, but suppliers to the hotel, so someone selling firewood to the hotel, someone doing the laundry and so on; it’ll reduce the reliance on farming; and it’ll help improve education for the kids in the village. It would also be an amazing place for parents to bring children to show them the real world and give them some perspective on life – I could easily see myself bringing Max to a hotel like that when he gets a bit older. Or it could be used for corporate team building exercises. The list of positives just go on and on.
The downside: we have under a month to build a hotel, find staff, and plan out a marketing strategy. Somewhat ambitious…
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