Tourism and poverty alleviation project, Konso community, southern Ethiopia
The remote southern part of Ethiopia is the home of many indigenous communities who maintain some of the richest cultural traditions in Africa. It is also an area of extreme poverty. The Konso tribe live partly in unique fortified villages, surrounded by high stone walls. Although visited by tour groups, the villages receive little economic benefit from tourism.
In 2006 we were appointed by UNWTO to work with the regional authority, the local community and SNV (the Netherlands Development Organisation) to establish a project to improve the experience for visitors and create more benefit for the Konso. The project has a number of elements, including:
- Ensuring all visitors contribute to a community fund that is fairly used
- Developing a central information centre and stopping point as a base for visiting the villages
- Strengthening communication with tour operators
- Establishing some small community enterprises
- Engaging the communities more in guiding, interpretation and handicraft sales.
We prepared a comprehensive, costed project plan, with simple targets and indicators, including mechanisms for reporting on project progress and the release of funding through the UNWTO ST-EP Foundation.