We recognise that the need for more conservation and community development programmes to be embedded within the tourism industry, now more than ever, is crucial. Local rural communities are in need of support, not charity, but to be given the chance to be empowered and alleviated from the difficulties that they are faced with. To this end, we have formed the The Hide Community Trust – a non-profit organisation, committed to conservation and sustainable community development.
The Hide Community Trust
The Hide Community Trust runs alongside The Hide and is partnered with a local community that surrounds Hwange National Park. Our aim is for the relief of poverty, the promotion of education, as well as the benefits of conservation. Our support to these communities will be through Community Capacity Building, social enterprise, education, sustainable development as well as conservation and human wildlife conflict solutions.
The lodge itself stimulates the local economy by employing staff from the surrounding communities as well as develops skills. The trust will help tackle the root causes of poverty and environmental devastation. Meaning that the local economy can develop further, with poverty falling and environmental pressures decreasing, resulting in more optimism in the region. Donations will ensure the establishments and the long-term continuation of empowering these people and their children.
How You Can Help
The Hide Community Trust is proud to partner with The Bodhi Tree Foundation, who shares our mission, values and strategy – to serve as our US – based 501(c) (3) arm. Our relationship allows us to have greater reach among US travellers and offers those looking to donate a trusted and secure means to do so. 100% of all donations received by The Hide Community Trust go directly into the initiative you chose to support.
The Bodhi Tree Foundation was established by travellers for travellers, to enable the industry and individuals to fund grassroots initiatives that support people in need, protect cultural heritage and conserve our planet’s biodiversity. By working with The Bodhi Tree Foundation, we are able to keep our administrative costs low, and avoid devoting scarce human resources to administrative efforts, allowing us to maximise the time and financial resources devoted to making a difference with communities surrounding Hwange National Park.
At The Hide we are a 100% dedicated to living in harmony with our environment, and we like to put into practice as many of the initiatives that we teach our communities, ourselves. This includes:
- Recycling everything we use in camp, down to drinking cans to build with and milk cartons in our tree nursery.
- We try not to use plastic water bottles, and instead use reusable glass bottles. All of our water comes from a deep underground aquifer that has passed through a series of water filters including a reverse osmosis filtration system and is 100% pure and safe to drink.
- Food waste is composted.
- Our vegetable garden is organically fed and served daily to our guests… If the honey badger hasn’t got in there first!
- Our plants are also organically protected (elephant dung fertilizer works wonders)
- We have started apiculture in order to protect our trees and have honey to harvest
- We have a tree nursery growing all types of indigenous trees that we plant in our concession as well as out in the communal areas.
Pure, an ex Parks ranger who was hired with very few qualifications but passionate about the environment has worked his way up to obtain certificates in both Permaculture, Apiculture and is now fast becoming a tree specialist within the camp too. He is in charge of our Going Green projects, as well as assists with our community projects!
We have formed a solid partnership with Chezhou Primary School which is based on the outskirts of The Hwange National Park and who have been working hard to keep themselves afloat. We are currently supporting them with:
- Infrastructure development – we were able to rebuild the school which had almost collapsed to the ground due to a termite infestation
- Providing educational materials from The CharChar Trust
- Eco Nutritional Food Gardens using permaculture practices, drip irrigation and a water tank. Growing food in this arid area is difficult to do, these children are learning to grow their own food using these sustainable practices. The school has been able to provide the children with a supplementary feeding program using the vegetables they grow in their garden, as well as have surplus to sell in order to provide them with an income for maintenance and upkeep of the school.
- Adequate water supplies – it used to take children up to 20 minutes a time just to pump enough water to fill up a bucket, we have installed a solar powered water pump and tap so that the children and surrounding community have a constant and available water supply
- Educational bursaries
- Conservation Clubs & Education – we have partnered with various organisations including Painted Dog Conservation in order to create awareness and ignite a passion for conservation in schools around the area.
There are many initiatives ongoing including permaculture training, conservation farming methods/ training, agroforestry, tree planting and recycling initiatives.
Another important initiative is Beehive fencing. It is a concept that has been developed in East Africa in order to reduce damage from crop raiding elephants by using their instinctive avoidance of African honey bees. This has worked extremely well so far, as the beehive fences act as a natural deterrent creating a social and economic boost to poverty stricken rural communities through pollination services and sustainable harvesting of elephant friendly honey.
We are hoping to be able to assist local farmers who grow their crops on the boarder of the park and who often have to deal with crop raiding elephants to establish these fences. There is however a long way to go in getting enough boxes and equipment ready, any donations towards this project would be greatly appreciated.
We have partnered with groups of women in the surrounding area who come together for training in various income generating initiatives.
We bring together people from around the country and hold workshops that educate women in different skillsets, crafts and life skills in order for them to have a better chance at earning an income. The crafts that are made during these workshops are then sold in our shop at the Hide.
We like to centre a lot of the workshops on conservation, therefore we work on collaborating with different organisations who can also provide sustainable solutions for human wildlife conflict to be overcome.
We are aiming at setting up an official training centre, where women can come and learn, make items to sell, and feel comfortable in doing so.
Pack for a Purpose
The Hide are proud members of Pack for a Purpose, an initiative that allows travellers to make a lasting impact in the community at your travel destination. If you save just a few kilos of space in your suitcase and bring supplies for area schools or medical clinics in need, you’ll make a priceless impact in the lives of our local children and families.