The Wolwedans Foundation
The most rewarding element of community outreach is its longevity. Being able to educate young Namibians and leave them with a tangible - a nationally accredited and internationally recognized qualification is priceless both for our facilitators and trainees.
One may wonder why it is that not every single tourism product across the globe doesn’t invest in the 4C’s – a Global Ecosphere Retreats and Long Run Destinations initiative – however, the commitment, by in large, is a big one and it takes a dedicated team to engage the four areas of focus: commerce, community, conservation and culture.
Perhaps one day, all businesses will adopt the vision of balancing people, planet and profit; so as to embrace sustainability in all we do, whether commercial or personal. At Wolwedans, we exist to inspire a new way – it’s our Wolwedans vision. We believe that there is one and we’ve chosen to call it the Wolwedans Way. One of the things we choose to do differently is empower young Namibians through education whilst affecting the countries communities in a positive way. Over 10 years ago, we established the Wolwedans Foundation (Trust) and it’s certainly been an investment that we are proud to support year in and year out. After all, it’s responsible for educating over 300 young Namibians in hospitality and culinary art - through its Desert Academy at Wolwedans and Windhoek-based Nice academy (Namibian Institute of Culinary Education) both supported by the Namibian Training Authority.
So when you visit with Wolwedans Collection of Camps & Lodges, you won’t be surprised to see our Foundation levy on your invoice, payable along with park fees to sustain our efforts in vocational training, community upliftment and the improving of livelihoods in our organisation and communities for the long run.
Commerce affects the sustainability of a destination as it affects the people who live in and near natural areas. Sustainable commercial operations offer the opportunity to provide income streams for people, as well as for reinvesting back into the initiatives in each of the 5Cs dimensions.
Community activities enhance the wellbeing of all relevant communities who have a socio-economic or cultural relationship with Wolwedans or the land on which they are located. Activities in this dimension address fair working conditions, local and regional relations, social ventures, capacity building, and support for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), among others.
Conservation refers to the sustainable use of natural resources and safeguarding the integrity of the local ecosphere. This dimension addresses issues related to environmental management systems to minimise their impact (i.e. energy, water, waste management) as well as biodiversity conservation of the Pro-Namib and beyond.
Through this dimension we strive to strengthen intercultural understanding and relations, safeguarding cultural heritage while raising awareness of cultural diversity. It not only refers to the wider public but starts with ones own internal culture.
In the context of day-to-day life at Wolwedans, Consciousness is “the state of being aware of and responsive to one's surroundings – as an organisation and as individuals, including guests." This applies to what one does and why, and how one lives and engages... It is not such a straightforward concept and is, therefore, possibly the most interesting ‘C’ in the Wolwedans mix.
A major focus of our community upliftment work at Wolwedans is empowering young Namibians through investing in innovative vocational education that goes beyond the textbook, equipping them with the skills to forge a successful career in the hospitality and tourism industries.
The Award is one of the highest accolades in the Namibian eco-tourism Travel industry.