We are all feeling the effects of the COVID-19 crisis. Tourism is vital to so many communities across the globe, and the travel bans and temporary closure of hotels and lodges have had a devastating impact not only on the hospitality and tourism sectors but also on the communities that the travel industry supports.
The Zambezi Queen Collection teamed up with the Community Conservation Fund Africa (CCFA) and Accor’s ALL Heartist Fund to come to the aid of families living within the Chobe River Region. Together we distributed two rounds of 225 hampers each, coming to a total of 550 much-needed food hampers.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, the CCFA has been hard at work helping communities who rely on tourists for survival. Their work has been aided by our partnership with the Accor Group. This partnership provided us the opportunity to apply to the ‘ALL Heartist Fund’ – a €70M COVID-19 relief fund specifically set aside to help employees in need during this trying time.
The parcels, each containing nutritionally balanced tinned and dried goods, were put together in consultation with a dietitian and designed to feed a family of four. Then the hundreds of hampers were packed and distributed to remote regions, where they were handed over to our support team members as well as families living in the surrounding villages of Impalila, Kaskika and Kabulabula.
Adrian Gardiner, chair of CCFA, explains ‘Due to the loss of income from our business being closed, together with logistical problems of access to the nearest town by water being 98km away, it became essential that we deliver food to these communities. Our thanks go to our partners, Accor and the ALL Heartist Fund, which has enabled us to support our teams and local communities during these difficult times.’
‘We are very pleased to be able to support our Mantis team members and their surrounding community through the funds allocated by the ALL Heartist Fund, with the assistance of the CCFA’ adds Mark Willis, CEO for Middle East & Africa Accor. ‘It really is a prime example of why Accor launched the Fund in order to support its team members and partners in need.’
The COVID-19 crisis has taken a heavy toll, and an increasing number of communities are being left vulnerable. These food hampers are just one of the many projects being rolled out by the CCFA to help people living in the Chobe River region. By supporting communities that live alongside conservation areas, wildlife benefits too as hunger and desperation can often lead to an increase in poaching.
’The need is great’, says Di Luden, executive director of CCFA. ‘Without the generosity of the Accor and the ALL Heartist Fund, and other funders, we would not be able to assist the most vulnerable. We are truly grateful that in some small way we have made a difference in the lives of the families who are a vital part of the Mantis Zambezi Queen Collection team.’
– Read more about Our Response to COVID-19