In the face of these challenging times, Wilderness Safaris Botswana, in collaboration with the Botswana government, community leaders and a handful of generous donors, have made it possible to bring extensive relief to rural communities affected by COVID-19. Having been reliant on ecotourism, these villages are facing a tough financial reality, with food shortages increasingly prevalent.
Inspired by the work of the government during the lockdown, Wilderness Safaris embarked on assisting communities where further needs were required. With facilitation provided by our community partners, the Okavango Community Trust village leadership, comprised of village district council, councillor, Dikgosi, social workers and a COVID-19 committee were consulted to identify the most vulnerable households. From 12-14 June we were able to deliver over 300 food hampers to the Seronga, Gunotsoga, Eretsha, Beetsha and Gudigwa communities.
“We had a large Wilderness Safaris team in attendance in five vehicles and two 10 tonne 4×4 trucks. We crossed a ferry, dodged huge potholes in tar roads and then badly corrugated gravel, taking some 11 hours to travel approximately 500 km! The handover itself was emotional, and extremely well received by the Assistant District Commisioner Mr Waloka, Kgosi Maeze Maeze and other government attendees. People were very happy and relief was palpable in many”, said Kim Nixon, Wilderness Safaris Botswana MD.
We’d like to express our heartfelt gratitude to our donors from Germany and to Karin Fröhlich, German-based sales partner for Wilderness Safaris, who coordinated to raise USD8450 through her network of family, friends and colleagues at Lieb Management. This phenomenal donation provided the impetus for us to seek further assistance, which was met by Wilderness Safaris and Orezone Transport & Logistics. The retail value of this hamper donation amounted to more than P160 000 (which excludes related transport costs and staff costs, totalling a further P40 000).
The logistics of delivering the hampers required specialised 4×4 trucks and drivers to get through the tough terrain, and Orezone T & L kindly donated the use of their trucks and drivers for this three-day round trip. Wilderness Safaris also sent in five vehicles to assist with food hamper distribution, under the guidance of the social worker of each village. Hampers were mostly delivered by hand by a member of the Wilderness Safaris team at people’s homes.
We are proud to be able to support those most in need during this distressing and economically challenging time. We are committed to continuing our work with the local village leadership and District Commissioners, to understand how we might work together to further assist in overcoming the challenges brought about by COVID-19.