2021 Mid-year SUSTAINABILITY REPORT
The French poet Antoine de Saint-Exupery once wrote, “Life has taught us that love does not consist of gazing at each other but in looking together in the same direction”. If I had to summarize the actions we’ve taken as Basecamp Explorer thus far in 2021, it would be exactly this. Despite the uncertainty and what sometimes seemed like insurmountable challenges, we’ve proven that by moving forward, continuing on with what we do best – adhering to our values during times of trouble – we will succeed. I sometimes remind myself that ‘Safari’ is the Swahili translation of the English ‘Journey’.
I know we have all been on our personal ones for the past 18 months. With my greatest gratitude to our supporters, I wanted to share a bit of mine. In all of my many recent trips to the Maasai Mara during the COVID-19 pandemic, I watched as every member of our Kenyan team continued working with the same spirit of determination, generosity, and overwhelming kindness that I saw when I first visited this country and we started the Basecamp concept in 1998. That includes seeing a full evaluation underway in our Talek area reforestation project as we move toward expanding into a full carbon credit program that aims to scale throughout the Mara ecosystem. I also applauded the work in our efforts to continue waste management and recycling, partnering with more camps and improve the measurement of the outputs of the program.
Our beloved Mamas at the Basecamp Maasai Brand were moderately busy fulfilling large international orders and finalizing their webshop to further improve the project’s reach and sustainability. I was there when construction began on the Wildlife Tourism College of Masai Mara, which in partnership with our Enjoolata Centre at Basecamp Masai Mara, will shape the future of awareness and higher education for youth in the Mara and beyond. This ensures our mission as a company and Foundation continues as Saint-Exupery saw it: together, in the same direction. Finally, I have so much appreciation for our management and team, who moved into over gear despite working at a reduced salary to steer us through this storm. We are well on our way to recovery – we aim to reach 40% of our 2019 income this year. Though the rains have not yet fully left the Savannah, we can see the incoming rays of the sun.
Ashe Oleng! (Thank you)
Founder, Basecamp Explorer
The 2021 Sustainability report highlights the work that our dedicated team completed despite the months of uncertainty and challenges that we faced. This includes signing a new 15-year lease agreement with Landowners at Pardamat Conservation Area (PCA). This is an extension of their existing agreements through to January 2033.
By the beginning of the year, we had planted over 300,000 trees. We have plans to scale a carbon credit program and promote the use of indigenous species, which is now the global consensus for successful large-scale reforestation programs. To provide sustainable and equitable access to safe drinking water, together with our partners, we built a rainwater harvesting system at Basecamp Maasai Mara camp – with a 1,500 square meter roof and 100,000 litre tank that can support camp needs, 500 community members, and irrigate the new vegetable garden.
We also launched another exciting income-generating project- beekeeping for the Maasai women in Talek area to diversify sources of income through harvesting and selling honey. Basecamp’s unwavering support to the local women at Basecamp Maasai Brand ensured the women were busy: They got to train and improve their techniques, made new designs, and used higher quality materials. This resulted in a consignment agreement with Angama Safari Camp, and, in August, a visit from two Fair Trade photographers interested in showcasing the products in German boutiques.
We were excited when Maasai Mara Wildlife ConservancyAssociation got a chance to utilize the space at Enjoolata Centre for three conferences, and since its opening, hundreds of our guests are interested in learning more about Maasai culture through the experience of hands-on bead working.
Do you want to learn more? Download the full mid-year report (pdf) below.