Like most places on the African continent, Zanzibar has lots to offer.
But in this era of responsible tourism, travellers are paying more attention to social upliftment, too. And the tourism industry is cognisant of this. At the moment, there are community outreach initiatives as well as sustainable development and ecotourism plans in place.
Pennyroyal Ltd, the British developers of Blue Amber Resort, are making giant strides to uplift the local community.
Saleh Said, the Managing Director of Pennyroyal Ltd, explained, “Our Chairman Brian Thomson envisioned the concept for Best of Zanzibar (BOZ) as being a craft and gift market used by the local women and youth in Matemwe to earn a living through the sale their crafts making. He gained inspiration from a similar marketplace he had seen in Barbados.”
He continued: “It’s important to note that through the proposed Amber resort development it is anticipated to provide direct and indirect employment opportunities. Therefore BOZ conducted a survey and understanding of the community needs. After this study, it was necessary for Best of Zanzibar to evolve into a broader reach of different educational and skills training programs, and community health.”
“For now, we have a plan to have an Arts and Cultural Center where the community members can learn and develop their art and craft skills. The center is to host performers, soap making, curio and so much more. Through the activities done at the center, BOZ expects the community to develop economically.”
Of course, understanding the needs of the community to ensure a noticeable improvement in their lives necessitated some research.
“We conducted a baseline study in 2016 to give us insight in order for our CSR initiative to be effective and sustainable,” he confirmed. “The study took a sample case of 100 households, taking note of the demographics, education levels and income per household. After we understood the community needs, BOZ in conjunction with various government stakeholders, developed programs that were well suited for the people of Kijini and Mbuyu Tende.”
The CSI programme will be ongoing, ensuring viable change.
He added: “Our programs are tailor-made to suit the communities' needs, the health and sanitation programs that touch the people directly at their point of need, the education and skill training programs work cohesively with the government syllabus and needs of the youth. Behavioural changes take time, we will be here to see this to its fulfillment.”