ANOTHER ECO WARRIOR AWARD FOR LET’S GO TRAVEL IN NAIROBI AFFIRMS THEIR SERIOUSNESS ABOUT CONSERVATION AND COMMUNITY WORK
(Posted 22nd October 2016)
Last Friday was Let’s Go Travel Uniglobe of Nairobi announced as the winners of the highly contested sustainability award, at a colourful event at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Nairobi, in the 2016 Eco Warrior Awards.
This is the 2nd time Let’s Go have won the prestigious award, after 2014 and becoming a finalist in 2015.
Let’s Go are also one out of only four tour operators who are piloting the Travelife international sustainability certification.
Their approach to sustainable tourism is through their declared mission objective, which is to support sustainable and responsible tourism through society and sustainable trade practice. They aim to achieve this through a sustainability policy, which strives to minimize all negative effects on the natural and social environment. In doing so, they pledged uphold professional standards, integrity and promote socially, environmentally responsible and sustainable tourism in conjunction with our business partners.
Let’s Go stated that they are committed to prevent and reduce environmental impacts, and are fully aware of thei role in the conservation of their environment and communities.
In 2015, Let’s Go introduced to the program Travelife which is a global program that certifies the sustainability of tour operators using a global sustainability criteria. Having undergone training and becoming one of the pilot partners in the country, they as a team had a realization that in becoming a much more sustainable tourism entity, they would need to go back to the basics to attain 100% sustainable eligibility.
This meant as tour operators going back to basics, with the principal effect in tourism sustainability being CONSERVATION. Let’s Go therefore made conservation their 2016 Sustainability Theme and derived a footprint on how they would achieve maximum capability in practicing conservation through internal and external practices.
(a) Internal practices – These are conservation projects within their offices and homes
(b) External practices – These are conservation projects that would directly involve communities that Let’s Go worked with in their Corporate Social Responsibility programs
The goals of these project were as follows:
1. To better internal and external conservation practices.
2. To better individual selves through polices created and projects undertaken.
3. To create awareness on importance of conservation to a younger growing generation.
4. To support advocacy through wildlife and Environment organizations
1. Litter separation – Let’s Go introduced the 3 litterbins in their offices, where they would separate litter into 3 categories, Plastics, degradable and non-degradable. This would ensure that once the garbage collectors came, they would collect the plastics and resell to plastic recycling companies in the CBD.
2. Paper Recycling for charcoal briquettes – Let’s Go also introduced recycling of printing paper by double side printing, and went a little notch higher by purchasing a shredding machine, where instead of throwing away the shredded paper, they would store it in bags then taken to Limuru where Mrs. Pat Dixson (the Managing Director’s mother) would then have the shredded paper turned into charcoal briquettes. The charcoal briquettes would then be used as a source of fuel for a charity home that Let’s Go supports in Limuru called Body of Christ (BOC) and the Limuru elderly programme.
3. Water and Electricity responsible consumption.
For responsible water consumption, all water taps were changed
The company also stopped using disposable plastic cups in their drinking water dispensers instead encouraged use of reusable cups and glasses. From 5 sets of 12 plastic disposable cups per month, the company has now moved that number to zero.
For responsible electricity did Let’s Go change their lighting system into using energy saving LED state of the art bulbs.
4. Sustainability staff training. On 18th February 2016, all Uniglobe Lets Go Travel staff were given a Sustainability talk by Sustainable Travel and Tourism Agenda (STTA), to have all understand on why the company chose to take up the more sustainable path. The talk was to engage staff in sustainability and better understanding of the company’s 2016 theme of conservation.
5. Introduction to Permaculture. On 14th June 2016, the staff went on a field trip to Kangemi Youth Center for a talk by Jessie de Boer, a young lady who has a permaculture project at the Youth Center. Permaculture is a system of agricultural and social design principles centered on simulating or directly utilizing the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems. The reason we felt this was important is because we must learn to utilize land spaces to the best of our ability and by introducing this type of agriculture to our staff it meant that they would then do it themselves and teach others in our communities, producing better food quality on minimal land as possible, accounting to better sustainable land uses.
1. 1. Conservation and Sustainability training for 5 teachers from schools in Nanyuki. In early February 2016, Let’s Go sponsored 5 teachers from different schools in Nanyuki, namely, Kalalu Secondary, Kalalu Primary, Ndemu Primary, Gakeu Primary and Umande Primary to a training program offered by African Fund For Endangered Wildlife (AFEW). The 3 day program covered sustainability on a larger scale of which after their 3 day training, they were then taken to Kyamlendu Primary school in Tala, where they got a first hand best practice of sustainability.
In May 2016, the head teachers of the above schools also came to Nairobi and underwent the same training as their teachers by AFEW to assist in the understanding of what their teachers were teaching the students on sustainability.
2. Planting Trees at Kalalu Secondary School, Nanyuki. On 15th March five staff visited the above mentioned schools to see and monitor the projects that they had undertaken since their training and whilst at Kalalu Secondary,planting trees with the aid of the students.
3. Conservation Award Sponsorship – AFEW Environmental Day Awards. For the past 2 years Let’s Go sponsored the awards by AFEW, which target to award students with outstanding in conservation.
4. Sustainability and conservation advocacy through responsible tourism advertisement using online, banners and print adverts.
For more on the company’s efforts on sustainability in tourism and the Let’s Go sustainability report click on http://www.uniglobeletsgotravel.com/sustainable-travel-and-tourism