The term “modern conservation” has a very specific meaning to all of us at Singita; it describes the positively enhancing relationship between sustainable tourism, the preservation of pristine wilderness areas for future generations and the economic independence and social well-being of local communities. The latter is critical to all stakeholders as the families living close to Singita’s reserves become key role-players in preserving the integrity of the land and its wildlife.
Singita employs more than 1 200 staff within its five regions and as part of our Community Development initiatives, we purchase as much as we can from the surrounding communities to build and sustain local enterprise, thereby contributing to the local economy and ensuring a ‘hand-up’ approach. Assisting these communities to thrive while remaining dedicated to environmentally conscious hospitality and sustainable conservation allows us to protect the vast wilderness areas of which we are custodians.
Education is a key focus for Singita Sabi Sand and Singita Kruger National Park’s community partnership programmes. Funds contributed by Singita, its guests and donors, as well as those generated by community visits and the sale of selected items in the Boutique and Gallery, are placed in a trust and used to support various programmes. These include Teaching & Technology (an initiative in partnership with the European Space Agency and local government that uses satellite communications to enhance the quality of education in rural areas), Growing to READ (helping to improve the quality of early childhood education offered by local pre-schools) and the Singita School of Cooking, which offers local students the opportunity to earn a professional cooking qualification and potentially a place in one of Singita’s kitchens.
Working in partnership with the Grumeti Fund (GF), Singita’s initiatives in Tanzania include actively supporting the development of small agricultural and other businesses and various education programmes. In 2016 alone, the GF Scholarship program awarded 90 secondary and tertiary education scholarships to top students from surrounding communities, while the GHOMACOS vegetable co-operative grew in size from 57 farming group members to 70 by the third quarter of last year. Their sales were close to US$280,000 for the year – a major boost for the local economy. To date, the one-site Environmental Education Centre has educated over 1 500 secondary students and 237 teachers living adjacent to Singita Grumeti about the environment and the role each person plays in minimising impact on the earth’s limited resources.
The Malilangwe Trust, supported by Singita Pamushana Lodge, invests in the education of hundreds of children through a number of different progammes, including the equipping of nearby schools with modern technology, and supporting local culture by funding four students who are studying the Shangaan language at university. The Child Supplementary Feeding Programme is currently in its 13th year of operation and continues to provide 19 000 children with a daily meal through 426 feeding points, helping to fight malnutrition, which can cause impaired cognitive development in children and affect their education. Singita’s community partnership work in Zimbabwe also includes a conservation camp for young learners and a bee-keeping programme (inspired by a similar setup at Singita Grumeti) that sees community partners managing 35 hives and benefiting directly from the sale of the honey they produce.
The programmes listed here provide an indication of the work being done in local communities. In every sense, Singita is committed to facilitating the development of neighbouring rural populations through partnering with them on specific initiatives and improving their education, nutrition, training and business enterprises. Explore our site to learn more about these programmes and how you can contribute to these worthwhile projects.