Who They Are
Far in the northern extremes of Mozambique, beyond Pemba in the Querimbas Archipelago, lies the beach oasis of Guludo Beach Lodge. Set up by Amy and Neal Carter-James, a young English couple who passionately believed that quality tourism could benefit poor, rural communities, Guludo goes much further in achieving sustainable tourism than countless resorts around the world that are many times bigger.
Designed to blend in with the landscape without impacting it, the four types of accommodations all open up right onto the beach. The Adobe Bandas have king-size beds under a high thatched roof, and in the Tented Bandas your lodgings are beautifully furnished bespoke tents under thatch that let you feel a part of nature without losing the comfort. Also, there is the two-bedroom Family Banda and the more private Zala Suite.
If lazing on the white-sand beach gets boring, or you need a break from scuba-diving the coral reefs, there are tours to the fascinating and historic Ibo Island and Rolas Island, as well as whale watching and, with the Querimbas National Park right behind you, a hideout to look for elephants.
Under their company Bespoke Experience the Carter-James plan to open other similar properties.
What They Are Doing
The Carter-James’s plans began to take root in 2002, when, at a meeting in Guludo village, community members said they would like to help them realize their dream of creating a lodge that helped the locals uplift themselves. Guludo was built following guidelines on how to make as little impact and be as unobtrusive as possible, and to respect local customs and culture. The lodge keeps in mind the principles of fair trade (such as employing 50 people from Guludo village and acquiring all its produce from within a five kilometer radius).
All furniture and furnishings were produced by local artisans on site, and even uniforms were made by a local tailor with locally bought fabric. Guests are encouraged to buy locally. Several groups have been set up in the area to provide products and crafts, including two weaving palm, one weaving bamboo, and one doing ceramics. These groups sell directly to guests and to the lodge, and a craft store is being created. It is hoped this will create work. The lodge also encourages local services, such as taking guests to a lookout to see elephants and promoting local dance groups.
Five percent of Guludo’s income goes to a specially created foundation, Nema, which carries out an array of community and conservation projects. Numerous local issues were identified before Guludo opened – high infant mortality, lack of education, and lack of jobs.
Prior to Nema, less than one percent of children went on to study at secondary school and less than 20 percent completed all 7 years at primary school because of the costs and the need for children to help gather food. Nema is building two new primary schools and hopes to build a secondary school next year. A feeding scheme now provides a total of one nutritious meal to 550 children every school day. This year Nema has given out 79 scholarships, although funds are sorely needed to keep this number up (see how you can help). School attendance, as a result of these efforts, has increased by 350 percent.
In the Guludo area the average life expectancy is 38, and 30 percent of children do not reach the age of five, many dying as a result of malaria. In 2007 and 2008 over 4,400 insecticide-treated nets were distributed to each woman in six villages who were either pregnant or had children under five, resulting in over 10,000 people sleeping under nets. In 2010, Nema hopes to reach every woman with a child under five in all 12 neighboring villages.
Every day 102 children in Mozambique are infected with HIV and less than three percent will receive treatment. The majority of new infections are in young people, with girls between 15 to 19 three times more at risk than boys the same age. A new local drama group has been trained to perform sketches illustrating the dangers of HIV, and its reception has been incredible, with whole villages turning out to watch the performances. Nema will also start to run HIV workshops, distribute condoms, and will show HIV awareness films. In 2010 it also plans to start a school soccer project to raise awareness among the youth.
In 2007, around Guludo, less than 50 percent of the population had access to safe water and the majority of pumps were in disrepair. In 2007/2008 Nema completed 28 new or rehabilitated water points and pumps in 12 villages, resulting in the provision of clean water to over 12,000 people.
Guludo has also developed a seafood buyers guide to help people decide what non-endangered fish to buy. Guests have helped sponsor humpback whale research, and the lodge helps locals develop kitchen gardens and plans to start working with farmers to be more conscientious of protecting the forest and bush around them.
In Their Own Words
“Inspired by the people living in the Guludo area, Guludo Beach Lodge is just the beginning. Like many entrepreneurs, ideas always abound and you never quite know what’s just around the corner in their quest of using business to relieve poverty.”