The Royal Livingstone Hotel by Anantara and Avani Victoria Falls Resort Scale Up their Community Outreach Programme to Cover Sustainability, Youth Employment and Economic Empowerment of Local Communities

June 28, 2023 - 4 minutes read

As part of the hotels’unrelenting focus on supporting local communities and preserving natural habitats, The Royal Livingstone Hotel by Anantara and Avani Victoria Falls Resort in Zambia have added further components to their wide-ranging sustainability programme. By concentrating on strategic initiatives and vital partnerships, the properties were able to develop a high-impact programme that benefits various vulnerable groups at once while reducing the hotels’carbon footprint.

To phase out 148,000 plastic bottles used by the hotels annually, they partnered with Vivreau, a company offering sustainable water solutions, to place complimentary sealed glass water bottles in all rooms, as well as doing away with as many of the plastic water bottles as possible in the conferencing facilities. Water is also at the centre of another initiative, the ‘Pink Envelope Project’, which enables vulnerable women within the local community to supplement their income by growing herbs to make herb-infused wellness water for the spa and welcome drinks.

To further diversify income streams of the local community, the properties work with disadvantaged women to turn old spa towels and linen into reusable sanitary towels to be sold or donated, and tie-dye textiles that the hotels buys from the artisans directly for distribution among local hospitals, clinics, old age homes and orphanages.

Another high-impact project, the beehive initiative in partnership with Zambia Forest College, tackles three goals: promoting food security, making the hotel’s supply chains more sustainable, and supporting rural livelihoods. The beehives – manufactured by the hotels team under the guidance of Zambia Forest College specialists – were donated to the women of Mukuni village who were trained in beekeeping and honey harvesting. Money made by selling surplus honey to the hotel allows the villagers to send children to school and pay medical bills.

The hotels further optimised their supply chain by engaging Ebenezer Child Care Trust orphanage to operate a on-site vegetable and herb garden. The long-term goal is to develop a sustainable and continuous supply of a wide range of fresh, organic vegetables and herbs, while providing the orphanage that looks after 568 vulnerable and underprivileged children with a steady stream of income.

With youth unemployment on the rise in the country, the properties made youth empowerment one of the pillars of its community outreach programme. To that end, in 2022 a partnership with Sustainable Hospitality Alliance (SHA) and SOS Children’s Village Livingstone was formed to run a six-month Youth Employment Programme. Fifteen vulnerable youths were selected for the first intake to be trained and given formal employment at the hotels. Gainfully employed, the youths were empowered to support their families financially as well as being able to pursue further studies at local hotel schools.

Hotel guests are encouraged to take part in sustainability efforts too with the ‘Pack for a Purpose’ initiative, which is based on the “Small Space. Little Effort. Big Impact” philosophy and encourages travellers to make a lasting impact in the communities at their travel destination by packing essentials such as sanitary products, school supplies and clothes to donate to local schools or clinics in need. By saving a little bit of space in their suitcase, holidaymakers can impact positively on the lives of local children and families.