We often get asked whether Village Ways is a charity, and when we explain we are not, then people wonder what kind of business we are. The simple answer is that Village Ways is a social enterprise, although there is no fixed definition of that term! Our primary purpose is to sustain village life and culture, improve livelihoods in remote rural areas and reduce the need for outward migration. We try to do this by working together with our partner communities to create village tourism enterprises that can generate profits for the communities, as well as generating employment and income that supplements traditional income streams such as farming. To succeed, the whole organisation of Village Ways has to make a profit and be sustainable, so that we can continue to provide the infrastructure of training, international marketing and finance that is required to keep Village Ways growing.
We have a wide spectrum of individual shareholders, who are committed to our principles, and our partner communities are also shareholders in the whole company. In this sense, we are a shared value business, seeking to make sure our core values as defined in our Founders' Charter guide us in our work. Our Founders' Charter is an important document for us, enshrining our values, we back this up with our Advisory Council, which is independently chaired and which scrutinises our work to see if it does indeed conform to our guiding principles.
We are committed to inclusivity, sustainability and true eco-tourism, where we feel tourism can bring benefits both to the communities and their natural environments. We also believe in transparency, and are aiming to publish shortly independent studies of how our enterprises benefit local communities. These will be published on our website.
To find out more about our work, our people and our ethos, have a look at our Village Ways Partnership website.