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QUIRIMBAS ARCHIPELAGO, MOZAMBIQUE
Guludo Beach Lodge overlooks the white sands and azure waters of the Quirimbas Archipelago in Mozambique. Here, two marine sanctuaries have been established with the help of Worldwide Wildlife Fund (WWF), to conduct research to protect four types of turtle, humpback whales, dugong and other species. The lodge’s 2km of beachfront is arguably one of the finest in the whole of northern Mozambique, but it’s for their work with the local community that Guludo are award-winning.
While Guludo Beach Lodge stimulates the local economy and develops much-needed skills, their charity, the Nema Foundation, tackles the root causes of poverty and environmental devastation. Since 2006 Nema has built two primary schools, feeds 820 primary school children a daily nutritious meal and has helped to support over 250 children with secondary school scholarships. The lodge itself encourages entrepreneurship by using local construction materials and skills, procuring almost everything from a 5km radius and establishing woman-only craft groups to sell products to tourists.
Guludo’s heart lies firmly in the local community and environment. The award-winning architecture ensures that environmental impact is minimal. Lighting is provided by paraffin and solar lanterns, water is hand-pumped from a shallow borehole and grey-water from the showers is used to keep the banana trees hydrated. Guests are invited to participate in conservation efforts, visit local charity projects and learn more about the local Arabian, Portuguese and African cultural influences. A laid-back ethos also guarantees visitors plenty of time to revel in the nature-filled coastal and bush habitats that surround the lodge.
Guludo Beach joined The Long Run in 2015 and committed to a holistic balance of the 4Cs – Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce – as a means to contribute meaningfully to the biodiversity and the people of their local region.
Guludo has a 40 hectare tourism concession with 2km of beachfront in the north of the Quirimbas National Park. It works with 16 communities spread over an area of approximately 40,000 hectares and a marine area of approximately 35,000 hectares. Through its poverty alleviation projectsit created more sustainable, alternative livelihoods, which have strongly reduced pressures on the marine and coastal forest resources from overfishing and deforestation within the area.
Guludo has been working with WWF to establish and monitor 2 marine sanctuaries; one of which has been very successful. Its conservation team carries out reef surveys around the Quirimbas. Work with fishermen to encourage more sustainable fishing resulted in the development of a “Seafood Buyers’ Guide” in 2011 for the hospitality industry, at WWF’s request. Guludo also conducts humpback whale research with guests each year, and this is to be extended to other marine species including dugong, turtle (4 types), marine mammals and indicator reef species. Landscaping at the lodge is done through exclusively locally found plants, with no new exotic species introduced outside the herb and vegetable garden.
Guludo is one of the few eco lodges that do not have electricity; lighting is provided by paraffin and solar lanterns. All water in the lodge is hand pumped from a shallow borehole and tanks are either gravity or manually filled. Water consumption is kept to an incredibly low level. The Lodge has dry, twin-chambered composting toilets – the famous “Loos with a view” – that require no water. Showers are hand filled and slow flowing. Grey water from the showers is used to water banana trees.
Waste is carefully managed; guests are asked to return plastic waste to their country-of-origin. Items with minimal packaging are purchased; other waste is re-cycled/returned to Pemba.
Guludo has won an architectural award for its innovative design, which is based upon local building styles. The design has ensured that the environmental impact is absolutely minimal, both locally and globally. The villas are self cooling, making the use of fans redundant.
Environmental and social awareness are promoted to suppliers, employees, guests, and the local community. Guests are educated on both environmental and social policies and actions through leaflets and presentations. An official review of the environmental policy and performance is done every year. Guludo’s environmental policy, and its implementation, has been so successful that in July 2008 UNEP show-cased Guludo as a best-practice tourism-lodge in “Sowing the Seeds of Change: An Environmental and Sustainable Tourism Teaching Pack for the Hospitality Industry.”
With a farmers association, techniques that reduce slash and burn farming have been introduced.
Guludo is very much part of the community. It’s independent foundation, Nema works with the local government in neighbouring communities, to carry out Guludo’s mission of poverty alleviation through responsible tourism.
Nema currently works with 16 communities around Guludo, and approximately 24,000 people. Some of Nema’s current activities and achievements include:
Nema has built 4 primary schools, previously classes were under shady trees, in dilapidated classrooms or mud huts.
It improved healthcare through the construction of a clinic and provision of two motorbike ambulances; distributed malaria prevention nets; continuously provides maternal healthcare; and supports vulnerable children with health, education, emotional and legal support. Nema trained a local theatre group who have now given HIV performances and workshops to 12 villages and distributed tens of thousands of condoms. Football/HIV projects run in 12 villages and HIV+ families are given specific health, enterprise and emotional support through a trained Nema employee.
Through partnering with Helvetas (an established Swiss NGO), an agricultural technician has established four village Farmers’ Associations, involving 120 families who have received technical support and equipment, such as irrigation pedal pumps.
The lodge employs the majority of its staff locally and has invested in the professional development of local staff since it started.
The architecture of the lodge and its decoration borrowed from local traditions with artistic representations, and the production of items from natural materials by local artisans.
The surrounding area is very culturally rich with African, Arabic and Portuguese influences. Village tours by local staff provide an authentic village experience through interaction with local people at grassroots level, while providing an opportunity for local artisans and entrepreneurs to sell their products. Guests participate in traditional pottery. The Milala palm weaving group teaches weaving, a relaxing activity for guests of all ages. Employees and local friends ensure local customs are protected and all sacred sites and mosques are avoided altogether. Guests can also go on traditional fishing trips.
The lodge procures nearly everything needed for the day-to-day running from a 5 km radius; often at higher cost than in if bought in the city. There are over 150 local lodge suppliers who sell seafood, fruit, vegetables, building materials, material, ropes etc on a daily basis. Guludo also set up two bakeries and two soap-making groups (all of whom are women) who supply both the lodge and the staff. They have also helped to set up craft groups (64 artisans) who sell to tourists and further afield through marketing channels created by Guludo. They make and sell palm-woven jewellery, palm-woven mats and baskets, pottery, ceramic jewellery, coconut products and various products made by tailors. Local tailors produced bags that Guludo sold online through Global Angels, which have been carried in the Prestigious Sunday Time Magazine Hot List.
Supporting and encouraging local entrepreneurship (with its powerful multiplying effect in the region) is central to its ethos. This has been carried through from design of the lodge to operation with construction using local skills and materials, all furniture and furnishings produces by local artisans on site and even uniforms made with locally bought fabric by a local tailor.