Ol Pejeta Conservancy has been named the Community Award winner at the 2017 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards.
Ol Pejeta beat fellow nominees Cinnamon Hotels and G Adventures to win the award in a ceremony held in Bangkok, Thailand last Thursday.
The conservancy’s Community Development Manager, Moses Muthoki dedicated the award to the staff and the communities working at Ol Pejeta.
“These are the people that really deserve this award. For conservation to be where we want it be it cannot happen without the participation of the community,” Moses said.
The Tourism for Tomorrow Awards recognises how tourism can create socio-economic and cultural benefits for local communities and environments – in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Community Award is given to organisations that use gains from their tourism activities to foster positive societal change among communities directly affected by their operations.
“Receiving this prestigious award is a fantastic not only for Ol Pejeta but Kenya in general. This award is proof that our model of working closely with communities is the only way of conserving endangered species like rhinos at scale. We feel that this model should be replicated across the world to further conservation,” said Ol Pejeta CEO Richard Vigne.
Five categories are recognised during the annual awards namely: Community Award, Destination Award, Environment Award, Innovation Award and People Award.
Ol Pejeta is a not for profit organisation that reinvests 100 per cent of its income from tourism into conservation and community development.
Through business enterprises and with the help of willing donors (both large and small), Ol Pejeta Conservancy works to develop the funding necessary to pay for wildlife conservation work, and to support projects that benefit the neighbouring communities.
By the end of 2016, Ol Pejeta had raised and dispersed over US$ 6.5 million in support of community development programme.
The conservancy bases its projects on socio-economic surveys, with the aim of providing the necessary support to address real needs and to make a real difference to the lives of the local communities.