African Impact is a multi-award winning volunteer travel organisation offering meaningful interactive volunteer projects throughout Southern and East Africa. Founded in 2004 in Zimbabwe, we have over 8 years’ experience and having facilitated over 10,000 volunteers in 12 countries across the continent, making us the largest on-the-ground African specialists in volunteer tourism.
Maximising the Power of Volunteering
We truly believe in making a difference and seek to maximise the positive impact of voluntourism in Africa, both for volunteers and for communities and conservation efforts. To us, volunteering is a two-way thing. It’s not just about the hands-on help and skills that volunteers bring; it’s also about what this amazing continent, its people and its wildlife can give those volunteers in return.
Our approach is really about these three key elements: the impact our projects make on the ground; the volunteer experience; and running the business to ensure our longevity. Finding the perfect balance between these three elements and running our projects in a way that allows us to maximise all three is an important goal of ours.
Our Charity: The Happy Africa Foundation
As part of our commitment to making a positive impact, we set up The Happy Africa Foundation in 2008. The charity helps to independently monitor our projects and provides tools and expertise that help to ensure our sustainability. The charity also ensures that donations given by our volunteers are managed responsibly.
Through our close partnership with them The Happy Africa Foundation has grown into an organisation that has funded numerous initiatives and programs in the communities where African Impact volunteer projects are based. The charity is proud to have financed the building of clinics, crèches and school classrooms, provided communities with education and skills training and helped beneficiaries improve their wellbeing and quality of life through improved nutrition and the provision of much-needed health equipment.
Our Wildlife Trust: ALERT
African Impact were also instrumental in the establishment of the African Lion and Environmental Research Trust (ALERT) in 2005, a non-profit organization dedicated to the facilitation and promotion of sound conservation and management plans for the African lion in consultation with governments, wildlife authorities and communities.
Alongside African Impact, ALERT also aims to support the ground-breaking four-stage African Lion Rehabilitation and Release into the Wild Program developed by our founders in 1999. The aim of this program is to provide a solution to augmenting the sharply decreasing numbers of African lions through the release of wild-born offspring from rehabilitated captive bred lions by raising awareness and funds to source, secure and prepare suitable release sites for the lions.
To ensure the sustainability of our projects, we thoroughly evaluate each potential project with a detailed scorecard before setting up a volunteering program. This involves analysing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of a project as well as its long-term viability and impact. Also, every single one of our projects has a community stakeholder. We won’t run a project unless the community not only wants us there, but actually has ownership of the project. Community buy-in is essential.
At African Impact we take a holistic approach to the implementation and running of our projects. We always aim to integrate ourselves into every level of the community working from grass roots to local governments. We have a core emphasis on learning and empowerment for all involved – changing the lives of people in the communities we impact, our volunteers and all African Impact staff.
- Green Credentials
Global Youth Travel Award 2014
Imvelo Award for Responsible Tourism 2014 - Winner
GoAbroad Innovation Award 2014 and 2013 – Winner
British Youth Travel Awards 2011: Silver - Green Tourism
Recycling at projects, roll out of meat-free Mondays, organic vegetable farming.
The International EcoTourism Society (TIES), WYSE Volunteer & Travel, WYSE Work Abroad
Responsible travel policy
Through careful sustainability planning at our volunteer project locations we endeavour to increase the positive impact of our volunteers and operational practices on the social, cultural and physical environment within which our projects are based.
African Impact as a responsible travel company
- To design and operate our volunteer travel experiences and voluntourism opportunities in a way that gives the highest degree of long-term economic benefit to the host communities, whilst also maintaining and/or improving the environment
- To use local suppliers wherever possible should we be in need of additional partners to facilitate any of our itineraries
- To develop long-term relationships with our partners/agents overseas so that the economic benefit is ongoing
- To increase the skill sets of our local staff through skills such as guides training, literacy programmes and HIV education
- To ensure that our type and scale of volunteer project is appropriate to local conditions and does not overload local infrastructure
- To take into consideration economic, environmental and cultural issues when looking at new project locations. These assessments are overseen by our sustainable development team who are available for consultation by our project managers
- To minimise water and atmospheric pollution from any specific project areas
- To aim to achieve zero litter policies everywhere
- To aim to work closely with all relevant local bodies and authorities to help preserve or improve the environment and deliver a long-term benefit for the host community
- Where possible we will encourage local involvement and provide financial support for economic, social or environmental projects that will benefit the local communities
- To facilitate our volunteer experiences in a way that encourages positive cultural exchanges
- We will continue to support our partners The Happy Africa Foundation and The ALERT Trust as goal-orientated and recognized UK-registered charities
African Impact Blog
Read the African Impact blog for the latest news
Media articles featuring African Impact:
Honoring the 2013 GoAbroad Innovation Awards Winners!
Opinion: Volunteers make the world a better place
All photos below were taken by Annabel Vere