2012 in focus
Increasing international recognition, large increases in client numbers from 2011, very high client satisfaction rates, excellent reviews from our guests and huge increases in the numbers of guests enjoying the Honey Badger tailor made safaris and ethically sound mountain climbs all in all 2012 has been a great year for Honey badger Lodge and Safaris. This year we added two cars to our fleet of safari vehicles, these have been kitted out for our guests ultimate comfort, with fridges, plug sockets and comfortable reclining seats.
We have built five new rooms, renovated another five and have plans to add more later into the year. Our gardens in general and in particular our pool area have flourished since opening it last year. Our hardworking grounds team work tirelessly to keep our environment green and vibrant. This is not just for the enjoyment of our guests but also to showcase to the community around the importance of respecting and planting trees. Honey Badger is regularly referred to as an ‘Oasis in Moshi’ or the ‘best place to relax in town’ and we know much of this is due to the lush and cool environment that we are surrounded by.
None of our achievements could have been realised without the dedication and hard work of many wonderful people. At Honey Badger we recognise and relish the investment in human resources. Our staff has grown to an impressive 35 people full time and various others who receive work as and when, this is an impressive number of families (in excess of 200 people directly or indirectly receive support from Honey Badger employment!) We ensure our staff are treated fairly, with respect and we work hard to foster a sense of friendship and family at work, something that is frequently commented upon. Many of our staff have been with us since we took over the lodge in 2010 and are showing a genuine love for the work, the environment and the guests that they meet throughout the year. We have developed a staff training programme that involves peer led and supported learning. It has been well received and continues to grow. We also support the continuation of other formal training for our staff, one of our team is attending tourism school (funded by Honey Badger), another computing classes, a couple English language and one is doing a distance learning degree. In addition to this we continue to welcome students from hospitality, hotel and catering schools. These students have to do a mandatory 3 month placement. Many struggle to find places where they receive genuine training and the offer of employment after. This year we have welcomed over 10 students, we are currently continuing to employ 5 of them.
I have really saved the most important until last. Our aim at Honey Badger remains the same; we are focused and driven by our commitment to community development. This aim is multi-faceted and by no means a quick fix. This year we have continued our work in this area and with the help of many others I have listed a few of our collective achievements:
- Hosted and supported a teacher training workshop for 30 local teachers for one week, the training provides teachers with the motivation and skills they need to better equip their students.
- Prepared a strategic plan for our local education centre to help focus and refine the activities
- Conducted a first aid course for the local community and our staff
- Reviewed the scheme of work for the local kindergarten to create a logical sequence of activities for the early years education of many poor children in our community
- Paid the school fees of a number of primary and pre-primary school children to help them get a better start in life
- Provided support for the teachers salaries of the local community secondary school as it struggles to find a more sustainable source (we have also been supporting them in this quest)
- Provided income for our local school through the creation of our gift shop, 100% of the earnings go directly to the school. Most of the items in the shop are produced by the education centre, making it also a channel through which young people learn different skills (from crafts, to market analysis and booking keeping).
- The lodge prides itself in purchasing locally; our chickens are from a few local families, our eggs from a community group, our beef from a local butcher and much more. We are expanding our range by encouraging other local groups to produce goods suitable for our purchase.
- We are currently developing a soap and jam recipe and range that a different local group in the community will make and that we can then purchase, creating an income for different families and thereby increasing our sustainable support of the community.
- We still own and farm a rice paddy which produces the much needed staple diet for the local school.
Next year we remain focused on growing our lodge not necessarily in size but in its ability to better support our community initiatives. We strive to ensure we remain a genuine community conscious tourism option; offering great value quality tours, safaris, trips and accommodation to all types of guests from all over the world. We are invested in what we do at the lodge, with our tours and safari company and in our community. Come and stay at Honey Badger and experience Tanzania.
As a final word I would like to say a large thank you to all the Honey Badger team. And on behalf of the whole team we would also like to express our uttermost gratitude to all those who have visited, volunteered, climbed, ‘safaried’, swum, eaten, drunk, stayed at/with Honey Badger and to all our family and friends who have supported us throughout, none of this would be possible without all of you.
We wish you all a very merry festive season and a happy and propserous new year
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