There are many great organisations making a positive social impact to their local communities. Whether it is a restaurant, accommodation or an online business, people are making positive changes about the globe.
Next time you travel, see if there is a social impact organisation making a different in the country that you are travelling to. Here is our list of social impact projects around the world. Click on the organisation's name to be directed to the website.
Social Impact Projects Worldwide
Numundo – Is a platform where you can find eco villages, eco friendly hotels, social projects and permaculture farms all over the world. It helps to connect you to conscious travellers and like-minded people.
Travel Ethiopia – Travel is an eco-minded tour and safari operator and a member of Travelers Against Plastic, helping to reduce the use of plastics in Ethiopia. The company has a deep commitment to Ethiopia’s environment, wildlife and community development, creating employment for local residents in Afar. Their work to empower women has helped to minimise negative traditional practices including early marriage within the community.
They guide and organise tours and safaris for local and foreigner visitors within Ethiopia, including sightseeing and educational trips on historic sites, ethnicities, folklore, fauna and flora and scientific research trips to introduce the traveler to the myriad facets of Ethiopia’s past and present.
MitiMeth – Water Hyacinth is a stubborn aquatic weed choking up several of Nigeria’s waterways hampering traditional fishing activities and curtailing access to water bodies. This organisation uses the weeds that can clog waterways to make beautiful handcrafted products. Transforming their environment is providing an income generating opportunity for the local people and restoring livelihoods.
All Women Recycling – Based in Cape Town, this women-led enterprise created eco-friendly gift boxes made from plastic drink bottles. Women who have been unemployed for longer than 2 years are taught the skills needed to create these boxes, while at the same time learning business management, life and sales skills.
Juma Street Art Tours – Artist and tour guide, Juma Mkwela is well known, and much loved in Woodstock and the suburbs of Khayelitsha where he takes visitors on guided walking tours of these neighbourhoods’ street art. He’s also passionate about getting involved with the community, and no tour is complete without painting a wall or helping a local plant their own vegetable garden.
Pack For a Purpose – Pack for a Purpose works with Spier Hotel to help three projects in their local community. They request that guests pack donations in their projects which are then donated to a primary school and a local library to help with education. They also work closely with the elderly to provide essentials to a care home.
The Backpack – The Backpack is one of Cape Town’s oldest and most well-known hostels. In addition to offering great accommodation for budget travellers, The Backpack also contributes to a number of community projects, ranging from sports to skills development. Visitors have an opportunity to contribute to these projects by simply donating their room key deposit. The Backpack also supports the Pack For A Purpose programme.
The Imibala Trust – Situated in Somerset-West, the Imibala Trust makes a difference in the lives of children from impoverished homes by offering various programmes such as arts, math, computer literacy, and more. They also have a restaurant on the premises run by esteemed chef, Nicole Dupper. All profits from the restaurant, as well as the cookery school she runs, goes towards the trust. In addition, you can get involved in Imibala’s Sponsor-a-child programme.
Uthando – Uthando Social Development Projects, or Thando (Love), is involved with a wide range of community projects from education to animal welfare, health, and unemployment. They also work with refugees and migrants. Their philanthropic cultural tours take visitors to a number of these community projects, as well as providing in-depth information about a number of issues facing the community like economic, political and social struggles.
Shayona – Shayona is a pure vegetarian Indian restaurant in both Cape Town and Johannesburg. They are a non-profit community restaurant who give back to charitable organisations in South Africa.
Mad Monkey Hostels – This hostel has created their own Mad Monkey’s Education Fund. In collaboration with Cambodian Children’s Fund they help to raise funds for education in Southeast Asia, and provide clean water to rural villages in Cambodia. You can take part in the ‘crawl for school pub crawl’ every Thursday where $5 is donated to the hostel’s education fund.
Nomadic Tours – Based in Jaipur, this tour company targets unknown routes for guests while creating a positive impact on the local people and their communities. Choose a local food tour to taste local dishes or venture into a rural village for a glimpse into village life.
India and Nepal
Village Ways – Village Ways is an organisation in both India and Nepal which creates income opportunities for villagers. As one of the Leaders in Responsible Tourism for poverty reduction, they offer inspiring holidays in remote villages in India and Nepal that benefit directly from you being there.
Take on Nepal – As a tour organisation they are focused on providing opportunities to young women in Nepal. They are one of the only trekking companies training and hiring women and offer treks to women only groups with women as their guides such as Everest Base Camp.
Blue Dragon Children's Foundation – This amazing foundation works with 1,500 children and youth throughout Vietnam. In the last year alone they rescued 247 people from slavery and trafficking, including girls, boys, and women.
Lentil As Anything – This not-for profit vegan restaurant is in four locations in Australia. With the slogan ‘food without borders,’ they aim to care for people and provide a wholesome and nutritious meal. Guests pay what they can for meals and also use food that otherwise would have gone to landfill. They also train volunteers such as the long-term unemployed, migrants and refugees and help them to find paid work.
Brazilidade – Brazilidade was born from a dream of helping people to feel proud of the Brazilian favela, Santa Marta. As a community-based tourism organisation their aim is to strengthen the residents of Santa Marta’s identity and self-esteem and provide a cultural encounter between visitors and the community. You can take a tour with Sheila and her team to learn more about life in favela.
The Dreamer Hostels – Dreamer Hostel set up an organisation in Palomino and Santa Marta that enforces certain ground rules that such businesses now adhere to. Coupled with their various charitable work for the children of Palomino such as a scholarship that helps send kids to university, Dreamer is a great example of how a hostel can and should interact with its environment.
Community Hostel – Located in the heart of Quito, the Community Hostel is a foundation in addition to being a hostel. From each nights’ stay 10% goes towards their foundation. By serving as both a foundation and business, Community Hostel ensures the tourist footprint is light and the result is beneficial for all parties involved: tourists, local culture, business partners and those in the local community. They also offer community adventure tours which you can go on.
Do you know of any social impact organisations or projects? Comment below.