Sustainability Spotlight: Community Engagement
Although “community engagement” is likely not the first term that comes to mind when sustainability is mentioned, supporting and responsibly interacting with local communities is a vital aspect of responsible travel and development. Nearly half of the UN Sustainable Development Goals are rooted in responsible community involvement, engagement, and growth. At Wild Nectar, we work with travel operators that are putting forth exemplary efforts within the sustainability realm, and we are delighted to shine the spotlight on just a few of their hundreds of international projects.
One of our operators has created a very successful bike enterprise program with sites in communities across the globe. The program has established women-owned, independent social enterprise bike shops in eight villages and aims to empower local communities through mobility. Bikes are collected in The U.S., U.K., and Australia and sent to the shops to be repaired by employees and sold to community members. The bike program has made vital access to transportation a reality, and as a result, “health care workers can see more patients, students can make the journey to school, middle- to low-income workers can get to work in an affordable manner, and families can carry more goods to and from home.” The program has also empowered local women by providing them with the opportunity to support themselves and their families through earned income, as well as learning business and bike mechanic skills.
Another exemplary community engagement project was established by one of our operators in Medellin, Colombia. The project, Berracas de la 13, was originally created by a small network of women in Medellin with the intention of aiding and empowering women and youth who have experienced violence and various injustices in their community. Previously known as one of the most dangerous communities in the country - and one of the most dangerous cities in the world - due to drug trafficking and gang activity, Medellin has since become a city of innovation and recovery, largely due to groups such as Berracas de la 13 aiding those impacted by the violence and crimes. What started as the sale of handicrafts and souvenirs has now turned into a successful restaurant with a Comuna tour and meal service designed to specifically benefit local women and youth. Our operator has aided Berracas de la 13 with grant writing, business operations, training, and equipment procurement for restaurant operations.
The local communities we visit are truly the backbone of the extraordinary places we interact with. Promoting the health and wellbeing of the people and places we visit and impact is deeply important to us at Wild Nectar, as it is a key component to furthering global sustainability in an equitable fashion.
Many of our operators have wonderful opportunities on their journeys to not only contribute to their community engagement projects, but to also aid and interact with the communities firsthand. To learn how you can contribute to either of these projects, or similar efforts, contact us!