Our commitment to transparency

Posted in News on Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

We recently submitted an application for the World Responsible Tourism Awards. We were asked to consider how our approach addresses the UN's sustainable development goals (SDGs) for tourism.

This is a summary of how our work with our villages meets the following SDGs:

"SDG8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

SDG 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns, tourism that creates jobs, promotes local culture and products."

Apart from providing excellent holidays, our main objective is to bring a much-needed new income stream to villages through the creation of our village homstays, and to ensure that income is spread across as many families as possible. The outcome of our initiative is the creation of 19 village-owned and run guesthouses across India, including two tented camps and one houseboat, and the employment of people from 261 families in those villages. Impacts include a reduction in out-migration, with young people choosing to stay in their home villages and work as guides, and an increase in transferrable skills through the training provided.

We have always been clear that our objective needs to be effective and we need to monitor the economic impacts. We have encouraged any families who wish to be involved to join the village committee. Our operational team has been in close communication with the committees and has made them aware that we wish to run a system that evaluates this outcome. This has taken much discussion with village communities to avoid intrusion of privacy. From the beginning we have documented the total income received in each village and by 2013 we were in a position to start reporting the flow of income.

The cluster of villages in the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary has been running for the longest period and it was here that we began collating data. In 2015 the first set of data was published, showing that in the villages of Dalar, Risal and Satri, 100% of households were involved in the initiative. In Satri, the impact of reduction in outward migration can be seen; before joining Village Ways, the families had submitted a request to the government to abandon their village so as to receive compensation. They have since retracted this request and the 8 families involved have received 223,045 INR income over the last 4 years.

We are now able to include data from 16 villages across India. We have recorded data on income by gender, ethnicity and poverty indicators. In 2016/17, 316 individuals from 261 families, of 18 different castes, received employment. 54% of those were from families who were below the poverty line. These figures relate only to those who are members of the village committees; additional employment of local taxi drivers, suppliers and labourers is not included.

Village Ways stipulates that women must be allowed to join the committees and take employment. The outcome of this was 37.8% of village employees involved in Village Ways in 2016/17 being female. Women are working as guides, porters, treasures, cooks, housekeepers and gardeners and an increased acceptance of gender equality is seen.

 

Our most recent data can be seen here: Village Ways economic data