Village Ways Partnership is a shared values enterprise that evolved out of a community tourism initiative in the Indian Himalayas in 2005. Since then, we have gone on to develop Village Tourism Enterprises in several regions of India, as well as Ethiopia and Nepal. The Village Ways Partnership team is made up of responsible tourism specialists based in the UK, India and East Africa. We are experienced in rural development, community and responsible tourism, agricultural economy and environmental awareness, and several of us have a background in the travel industry.
Village Ways Partnership collaborates with a range of partners: community-managed village tourism enterprises; environmental and conservation bodies, funding agencies, government bodies, and travel companies with a sound track record in responsible tourism. In addition, we receive support from many specialist organisations and enthusiastic individuals in activities ranging from language training to rural handicrafts.
Our principal partners are the communities with which we work. To become partners, communities must demonstrate a need for supplementary income and a commitment to benefit sharing among their members, as enshrined in our Founders’ Charter. Each community forms a democratically-elected institution to set up and manage their village tourism enterprise (VTE), under a long term marketing agreement with Village Ways Partnership. In some cases they approach us directly, to seek our help in establishing a VTE. In other cases, we are introduced to communities by a funding agency, a government agency or through local contacts. VTEs form the core of our work and we have to date created 25 such enterprises.
We are very experienced in the development of Village Tourism Enterprises in remote rural communities, and have worked in collaboration with funding bodies who wish to support responsible tourism initiatives. The following are examples of that work.
In Himalayan India, Village Ways formed an innovative partnership with UPASaC, a regional government-sponsored social venture capital agency, which is working to improve entrepreneurship and livelihoods in poor hill villages. Our co-operation created six village tourism enterprises in the Saryu and Pindar valleys.
In the hills and jungles of Madhya Pradesh, India we have formed a strong partnership with the regional Forest Department to develop rural and village tourism.
In Ethiopia, adjacent to the Simien National Park, we have worked alongside The African Wildlife Fund to create three village tourism enterprises linked to create a harmonious village to village walking experience for guests.
Tour Operator Partners
We work with a range of international travel businesses to encourage guests to visit our partner villages, as well as working with Village Ways Travel in India, which offers trips for independent travellers.
We are always seeking partner travel companies, which share our values and can bring guests to our villages who appreciate the community experiences offered. Village Ways Travel in India provides wonderful trips for independent travelers to all our villages. In the UK, Inntravel has been a long-term partner for our communities in India. In France the renowned independent tour operator La Balaguère promotes trips to all our villages. We are always happy to consider new partners.
In Country Associate Partners
In a recent development we have set up Grass Routes to enable us to promote and celebrate village life to a wider range of destinations. The aim of the programme is to offer a variety of sensitive holidays and travel arrangements with arrangements put together exclusively for Village Ways by in-country operators, ‘Associates’, who know their backyard well and who have an affinity with our values and product. Holidays should celebrate village life and in some way help towards the long-term sustainability of each village. Village traditions should be supported through locally sourced food and traditional food preparation, through participation in and supporting cultural events, through opening up and maintaining traditional paths and ways. We currently work this way in Georgia, Spain and Thailand. We are always very happy to consider new Associate Partners.