Friedmann (1992) developed an empowerment framework for determining the impacts of ecotourism enterprises on local communities. There are four levels of empowerment: economic, psychological, social and political (Friedmann, 1992; Scheyvens, 1999; Singh et al., 2003). This next section analyses the Lodge in terms of its contributions based on the empowerment framework.
Ecotourism and community based tourism ventures must consider opportunities for economic gain in terms of both formal and informal sector employment and business prospects. Economic gains derived from ecotourism activities are usually experienced by a community; however, issues may arise if the income is inconsistent and unreliable. Concerns may also develop over inequity in the distribution of economic benefits, which is equally important as the actual amount of benefits a community may receive. This is critical in determining the success and sustainability of an ecotourism venture.
The owners sought expert architects to consult the design of the eco-lodge during the planning and developing stages. All materials used in the construction of the Lodge were produced locally. For example, the floor tiles in the Lodge are made from pottery that the local women at the village hand-made. The building process served to develop local capabilities and empower local people with new skills, knowledge and techniques. The lodge works closely with over 150 local suppliers and employs more than 50 staff members from the local village and surrounding communities. There are also six local craft enterprises that allow locals to sell their products directly to guests, instantly creating an income to support themselves and their families. This has enabled many families and individuals to earn income and learn the value of employment and responsibility.
Concerns over inequity in the spread of economic benefits were void as Nema Foundation is run by members of the community and works to alleviate poverty throughout the entire 16 communities. For example, there are presently 47 water points in the area, providing clean and safe water to 24,000 people (Fig. 4). Mozambique is an area rife with malaria and HIV, therefore, more than 9000 mosquito nets and malaria workshops have been provided to families and individuals, helping to protect children and educate parents on the facts of malaria and HIV. Nutrition, hygiene and sanitation is another major issue for the poor and rural
Fig. 4 A new water point in Guludo Village (Source: Francisco Rivotti)
communities, therefore 3000 nutritional workshops were established and presented to families; predominately focusing on women as the primary caretakers of children. Nema has helped to establish the one health clinic and alongside the government run an ambulance service for the local population.
Five primary schools have been developed as part of the education initiative and over 260 students have received full secondary school scholarships since 2007. Due to the severe food shortage in the Guludo area, Nema has established a school feeding program, providing 1000 school children with one highly nutritious meal a day (Fig. 5), dramatically boosting school attendance. Moreover, a school farms initiative has been developed with hopes of 1 day replacing the food bought from central Mozambique. With Nema having been set up as an independent charity, this has enabled the foundation to fundraise independently for its community projects. By far the majority of our funding has come from past guests (and their companies). An example is Laura Tennison, from JoJo Maman Bebe, who was a guest in Guludo. Laura is now a Nema trustee and her company have been Nema’s major funders for the last couple of years.
Economic empowerment or disempowerment can also refer to the local community’s access to productive resources used to produce goods and services in an area now targeted by ecotourism. For example, the establishment of protected areas, such as Quirimbas National Park, limits access to hunting and agricultural lands. In terms of the equitable distribution of benefits, this is of concern, particularly to conservationists as local people will usually only continue to support conservation efforts if this provides aid to their own development (Scheyvens, 1999). The Guludo community has learned the value of sustainable farming and fishing practices as small number of people in the community have assisted expats involved in researching and developing conservation projects for Nema, such as in
Fig. 5 The school meals project at Ningaia Primary School (Source: Amy Carter-James)
humpback whale research, preparing a seafood buyer’s guide, and undertaking reef surveys.
More people in the community now understand the value in forestry and agriculture, as they now support the development of farms such as chicken and goat farms within the two primary schools. Another initiative implemented is assisting families to develop kitchen gardens, where they learn to grow their own vegetables and herbs. Nema has developed and supported several agricultural associations to improve agricultural techniques and protect the coastal forest (Fig. 6). For example, this project ran for 3 years but the community was not able to achieve sustainability. When the funding secured through Helvetas, a local Swiss NGO, finished, the associations were overly reliant on Nema’s technician for material support and motivation. In future Nema is going to re-design the project focussing more on local, highly motivated entrepreneurs and it will provide them with technical support and access to micro-loans.