New amenities in Sikondo show villagers the benefits of tourism
When the Headman of Sikondo village in Kavango East, Alfons Kavera pumped the first clear water last week from the new well in the centre of the village, he was able to give a tangible demonstration of the local benefits of international tourism.
A proud Headman Kavera informed his villagers that the borehole on which the water pump is installed, was drilled and equiped with funding that came from the Hakusembe Community Development Fund.
Hakusembe River Lodge, situated some 16 kilometres upstream from the Kavano East administrative capital, Rundu, is one of the lodges operated by Gondwana Collection. The latter is a major tourism company, operating 16 lodges and a boutique hotel, with a community development arm attached to each of its establishments.
On the same day that Headman Kavera inaugurated the well, he also opened the new Paukini Kindergarten close to Hahusembe, another project funded by the Hakusembe Community Development Fund. The Kindergarten’s previous building was badly damaged during the rainy reason and to be rebuilt completely.
A jungle gym inside the school’s fenced yard was also constructed for the children who took to the playground with glee on the day of the inauguration. In addition, the fund erected a new fence around Ru-Rumwe Primary School to improve the security of the premises.
The ceremony was well attended by parents and other members of the village, teachers and learners from Ru-Rumwe Primary School close to the Kindergarten, representatives of the Ministry of Gender and Child Welfare and staff from Hakusembe River Lodge. School Choirs, youth groups and community members alike entertained the audience with song and dance, making the ceremony joyful for all.
The Gondwana Collection said in a statement, it greatly values its relationships with the surrounding communities at all the Gondwana properties and constantly works to uplift these communities.
When Gondwana took over the Hakusembe River Lodge in 2012 the group established the Hakusembe Community Development Fund to share the benefits of tourism with the local community. A portion of each guest fee goes into a fund, which is used to support projects in the vicinity of the lodge particularly focusing on education and youth development, access to potable water and sanitation facilities, and a clean and healthy environment.
The Hakusembe Community Development Fund is now administered by the newly established Gondwana Care Trust.