To thrive means to grow vigorously and progress towards or realise goals despite your circumstances. This mindset forms the core of Singita’s community partnership work, which is aimed at helping the people living in and around its reserves to achieve social and economic success, regardless of challenges such as place of birth or access to resources.
Singita’s non-profit conservation partner in Tanzania, the Grumeti Fund, facilitates various outreach programmes. These are all designed to unlock the potential of its community members and include a hands-on mentorship programme for scholarship recipients.
Grumeti is located in the northwest of the country, where 99% of wage earners are farmers. Their livelihood is extremely vulnerable to external threats, including climate change and crop-raiding elephants. The Grumeti Fund offers them the knowledge, tools and resources needed to provide for themselves, their families and their communities as a whole.
A key component of the Fund’s strategy to enhance livelihood security in Grumeti is to help young people to achieve higher levels of education and increase their income-generating opportunities. Educational support is provided in the form of scholarships for secondary school, vocational studies, university and training in conservation and tourism. For scholarship recipients in secondary school the students are paired with management-level mentors from the Grumeti Fund and Singita, developing confidence and a support structure that encourages the mentees to finish their studies.
Research confirms that high-quality mentoring relationships have profound ripple effects and benefit young people personally, academically and professionally. Mentoring enables young people to grow and develop – and creates social and economic opportunities too. With this in mind, the first phase of the mentoring programme focuses on 22 of the Fund’s annual scholarship students from Issenye Secondary School, all of whom are from disadvantaged backgrounds. Many of these children are the first in their families to pursue an education after primary school. The hope is that the one-on-one support of experienced mentors will help them on their way to secondary and even tertiary qualifications.
All mentors receive appropriate training and are paired with mentees with whom they share similar interests.
Another area of strategic focus is the support and empowerment of young girls, who are traditionally disadvantaged in rural Tanzania, due to issues like early marriage, female genital mutilation and teen pregnancy. Empowering African women and girls in the spheres of economics, education, human rights and politics has significant advantages for the women and their families. As a result, ensuring that the rights of women are upheld and female empowerment have become important sustainable development goals for the Grumeti Fund and its partners.
The planned outcomes for the Grumeti Fund’s mentorship programme are a reduction in the school dropout rate and significantly improved career prospects for the young learners who participate. Helping to make their dreams a reality will have a lasting impact on their future success. Enhancing the livelihoods of individuals living along the boundary of the protected area also uplifts the community and creates opportunities for it to flourish.
The impact of community work is integral to Singita’s 100-year conservation purpose to preserve and protect large areas of African wilderness for future generations. The Grumeti Fund relies on the support of donors to ensure that these projects continue to create opportunities for the youth. It costs $1,300 per student per year to attend private secondary school, $1,500 per student per year for vocational studies and $2,500 per student per year for university. The Grumeti Fund scholarship programme currently supports 123 students in Tanzania, but its reach could be dramatically increased with additional funding. To find out more or to make a donation, please click here.