Sunday, February 9, 2014

Wanna be a pioneer of a new more equal North-South relationship?

How many of us living in the Western world wake up every morning, are frustrated from seining an unequal world, a huge gap between the North and the global South. Yet, there is so little one can do. Traveling to developing countries often brings you in a badly organized and expensive tourist track, that enables a few to get rich and all other remain poor. You enter into a closed world, where you see lots of monuments, you hardly meet locals except for the kids who run behind you to beg you for money or a pen. The only local you meet is the tour guide, who is one of the winner of the system and just ensures that you only see what the country wants to show. You come home with the bitter feeling that you did not visit that country. Your second option is to volunteer, but face it you cannot change the world by visiting a country for 2-3 weeks, and even worse you might actually take away a local job. Do you really want to do this? The third option is to make donations, but by now we all know, most of the money stays in the developed world to pay wages and nice offices. Aid has made poverty a business like baking and selling bread. People have to remain poor so that the aid industry to which you donate money can persist. Do you really want to support this?

The community lodge

Powerlessness we all face is source of a lot of frustrations, and only few of us wake up one morning and say, yes we can contribute to a new way to look at North-South relationships and invent new approaches that are more respectful of local traditions, and consider each human to be equally important and capable of taking decision about one own life. You might think, this is too difficult for me, I am just too small to change anything. If you think like this you are simply wrong, there are today easy options to be part of a different world.

Inside travel has the right solution for you : book a social tourism trip to Ethiopia. You go on a semi-organized tour, which makes sure that you are going to meet local people on the street, you live a normal day with a middle class family, you visit and try out handcraft in local NGOs, and finally you spend some days with a rural community, who is going to introduce you in its daily activities. You can learn how women are organized to help each others, the fears and dreams of the local kids, and when you come home, you know how to wave an Ethiopian traditional basket and make traditional coffee.

Interact with local people
And now you think, why am i a pioneer if i just go on a fun holiday? Inside travel is run by volunteers who insure that the money you pay is spread in equitable way in Ethiopia, we pay local (low but market conform wages) to people involved with us, whereas the margin on our trips is spread in the communities with work with, making sure that not one person but a whole community can benefit from tourism. For example, farmers involved with tourists will get a local wage, the difference with the price that the tourist pays, goes to a communal bank account. The community has clear rule how to administer that money and they decide as a community how they want to invest it. In this way the community has the power and the ownership of their projects (no NGO with strange donation rule tells them what to do). Basically, by visiting this community, you offer them the opportunity to work and raise money in dignity, they don't beg, they don't feel indebted, they get paid for services.The particular community we work with has decided to fund their own clinic with the money from tourism.
discovering everyday life
So you still believe that a different world in unreachable? Could i convince you that it might be easier than what you think? Wanna be a pioneer of this new North-South relationship? Then join our Easter tip from 10th to 21st of April 2014 ! check it out on

Join us for your next adventure

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed reading this post, big fan. Keep up the good work.I hope you post again soon.