The empowerment framework analyses the impacts that ecotourism ventures have on local communities and emphasises the importance of equally distributing the benefits gained from ecotourism activities. The framework addresses the importance of communities exerting control over ecotourism initiatives in their area and stresses the value of involving the host community in all stages of planning and development. The Guludo Beach Lodge demonstrates a positive empowerment framework, working alongside the host community to achieve their needs and interests of both conserving the local environment and promoting development at the local level.
- 1. Before the Nema Foundation was established, less than 1 % of children in the area went to secondary school and less than 20 % completed all 7 years at primary school. However, since 2006 Nema has built two primary schools, feeds 820 primary school children a daily meal and has helped to support over 250 children with secondary school scholarships. What other tasks could the Foundation undertake to complement the education it provides for children of the local communities?
- 2. Life expectancy in the region is just 40 years old and 21 % of children do not survive their 5th birthday. Malaria, malnutrition, HIV/AIDS and diarrhea are still a problem and Nema is combatting these diseases by raising awareness in the communities and improving access to essential health services. There are no ambulances in the region at present so research some alternative forms of transport which could enable people to be transferred to hospital quickly in case of emergencies?
- 3. When Nema first started less than 50 % of the population had access to safe drinking water and the majority of pumps were in disrepair. However, the
Foundation has built or rehabilitated 48 water points which now provide access to safe drinking water for over 20,000 people. What else is required now to ensure that the pumps keep working and that local people know how to work them?
4. The vast majority of people living in the Guludo area rely on subsistence farming and fishing, leaving them extremely vulnerable to crop-raiding elephants, droughts, floods and diminishing fish stocks. With tremendous pressure on parents to find food for the family, many children must help in the farms instead of going to school. What are some enterprises which could be established to help the local people achieve a sustainable level of existence?
Acknowledgement The authors wish to thank Taylor Rawlings, Industry Advisor, Tourism Council Western Australia for her contribution to this chapter for which she undertook research whilst an undergraduate student at Edith Cowan University.