Community Partners

Communities with a need, where responsible tourism can bring benefits

Our principal partners are the communities with whom we work. Sometimes, they approach us directly, to seek our help in establishing Village Tourism Enterprises. In other instances, we are introduced to communities by a funding agency, government agency etc. In all cases, we assess the communities in terms of economic need, whether we consider there are good prospects for attracting guests and to ensure that the enterprise conforms to the principles of our Founders' Charter.

We currently work with communities in India, Nepal and Ethiopia. We are also keen to support existing community enterprises who share our values.

If you represent a community wishing to explore the possibility of partnering with Village Ways Partnership, or if you run an existing community tourism enterprise and are interested in becoming an associate of Village Ways Partnership, please contact us.

Our Communities

Each of our partner Village Tourism Enterprises has its own story to tell. Many individuals and communities put an enormous amount of hard work into every aspect of the development, from planning and organising funding, to architectural plans and construction, to training of guides, cooks, porters etc.

An example is the case history of the 'Goodearth' houseboat in Kerala (read more). We will be adding new stories to this section soon. For information on how to visit our communities, please click here.

 

India

Binsar Sanctuary, Uttarakhand

Binsar Sanctuary, India  

The first Village Ways Village Tourism Enterprise was set up in the Binsar Sanctuary in 2005. This community-owned tourism enterprise, involves five remote Himalayan foothill village communities in which populations were decreasing as people left to find work in the cities. The Village Ways enterprise established a much-needed new income stream via responsible tourism. Each village elected a committee to establish, own and manage their guesthouse. Through a combination of grants and interest-free loans from Village Ways, they each built and now manage a guesthouse. At their instigation, they formed an  'apex' body (Paryotin Vikas Samiti), with two representaives from each village, to coordinate tourism activities in Binsar. In 2012, a sixth village (Matkanya) joined the Binsar cluster of VTEs.

 

Saryu & Pindar Valleys, Uttarakhand

Saryu & Pindar Valleys, India  

Initially, two villages were involved, Supi and Jhuni: each elected a committee to renovate, maintain and manage their guesthouse. They formed a Self-reliant Cooperative Society to coordinate activities and also set up Advisory Committees from the wider community, who monitor activities. Supi village committee established a seasonal tented camp at the grazing meadow of Jakuni. In 2013 a new enterprise opened in Khal Jhuni.

We formed an innovative partnership with UPASaC, a government-sponsored social venture capital agency, which works to improve entrepreneurship and livelihoods in poor hill villages. UPASaC shared the costs of renovating the Jhuni house and training villagers; in 2012 they added four more renovated guesthouses (in Karmi & Dhur) to the VTE cluster.

Read more

 

Sirsi Spice Gardens, Karnataka

Sirsi Spice Gardens, Karnataka, India  

The villagers of Hulgol and its nearby hamlets formed a 'Spice Route Cooperative Society' to build, own and manage a guesthouse, and provide a team of guides. Operation since 2010, the enterprise ensures that all community groups have opportunities to benefit from the guesthouse income and guiding.

The guesthouse in Hulgol has brought a supplementary income stream to a remote area where spice growing is the main livelihood, while enabling the communities to continue their traditional way of life.

 

Backwaters, Kerala

Kerala back waters, India  

In 2010 Village Ways initiated an enterprise involving four villages in remote backwaters of Kerala, an area where fishing and coir rope production are the major sources of income. The four villages formed a 14-person committee, known as the Kayal Gramodaya, to build and manage a houseboat, funded by loands and grants from Village Ways (70%) and donations via the Village Ways Charitable Trust (30%).

As well as boat-builders and canopy makers, many of the villagers are involved in the running of the houseboat and guiding, and a ladies committee has been formed to manage cooking and cookery demonstrations.

Read more

 

Thar Desert, Rajasthan

Thar Desert, Rajasthan, India  

In the village of Hacra, in a semi-desert region of Rajasthan, we encouraged establishment of a self-help group committee to manage the a village tourism enterprise. They built traditional-style 'Jhumpa' thatched roundhouses and welcomed their first guests in 2011. The VTE provides a much-needed additional income stream to that from unreliable farming, traditional crafts of shoe-making and weaving and dry-season employment in cities.

 

 

Coastal Karnataka

Sirsi Spice Gardens, Karnataka, India   Nestling on the palm-fringed west coast, the fishing village of Pavinakurva joined us in 2012. The villagers set up a committee of 19 local people to develop a village tourism enterprise. With our support, through grants and loans, they constructed a guesthouse, which they expect to be open by early 2014. The villagers are keen to participate on a supplementary income stream and to benefit from welcoming outsiders to their village.

 

Wayanad Hills, Kerala

Sirsi Spice Gardens, Karnataka, India  

Mothakkara lies in the cooler climate of the forested Nilgiri Hills of northern Kerala. We were introduced to the villagers by a local NGO. The community was keen to collaborate to generate an additional income to compensate for unreliable coffee, pepper, jack fruit and pineapple prices. They set up and registered a Village Tourism Enterprise (VTE) committee in 2012, named Bansura Soyam Sahaya Sangam (BSSS). They commenced building a guesthouse with support from Village Ways and hope to be in business by the end of 2013.

Read more

     

Ethiopia

Tigray Plains

Northern Highlands, Ethiopia  

Village Ways has been working in partnership with Tesfa, an Ethionian NGO, since 2009 to raise standards and develop village tourism enterprises in Ethiopia. Currently, Village Ways Partnership is working with community partners in four villages of Tigray province (Shimbrety, Gohgot, Erar & Eraf).  We plan to develop new VTEs in the Simien Mountains in 2014/15.

 

 Nepal

Sailung Himalaya

Northern Highlands, Ethiopia  

The three remote mountainous villages of Solambu, Pasiban and Teksingh agreed to join us in late 2012, through our local NGO contacts. Each community set up a committee and formed a VTE cluster to operate their new village tourism enterprise. They built or renovated guesthouses and we n plan a tented camp at Kholakharka, which has magnificent views over the main peaks.