Females in safari is a platform that showcases female empowerment in our business and in the tourism industry. From our camps in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana that are managed and run by women to our female guides program and community empowerment projects that are supporting mothers and young girls, we are actively investing in the development of women in the areas of leadership, education, business and career development.
“I was encouraged and inspired by my daughter to apply for the Female Guides program. When I got accepted, she said: “Wow mom, are you going to see many elephants? I haven’t seen elephants before. “ So, I am really expectant to experiencing so much more when I get out there. I want to see a lion take down a giraffe, see different species of animals and learn how to tackle the mokoro. So, I would encourage women out there to apply for this program and to join us in being one of the best, I will be one of the best when I get out there!”
This story by Gorata Tshekoeng who recently joined ABC in July 2022 as a female guide trainee in Botswana, who was inspired by her daughter to apply for this program, is a powerful reminder of why representation in the workplace matters. Why creating opportunities and platforms in the workplace that empower and equip women to grow and develop is motivating and inspiring the next generation of young girls to still believe that they can be and do anything that they set their minds to. And that opportunities now exist in companies like ABC for women to take up space in industries and roles that were previously male-dominated.
Sharing and conserving Africa, together is the cornerstone of our business. This philosophy constantly keeps us grounded in remembering that we can only grow and go further as a business when we are growing, working, developing, and building together. We are constantly striving to create a culture of inclusivity, diversity, and transformation in our business and to be an example in the tourism industry by promoting the development, progression, and inclusion of women in various roles, functions, and positions in our business and camps.
With an ABC family of over 500 staff members across our camps and offices in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, and South Africa, 42.2% of this workforce is made up of women, spanning various roles from finance, camp managers, general regional managers, human resources, safari guides, foundation ambassadors, sales consultations, and product managers. This number is on the increase as we are constantly striving to retain, develop, and promote great talent in our business.
From our female guides program that aims to develop 25 female guides by 2025 and our women’s empowerment projects in the local communities in Botswana and Zimbabwe that are investing in women-run community projects that generate economic activities for families through fashion, basket weaving, and jewelry, we are actively supporting what we believe to be a vital part of developing healthy and thriving communities and societies by investing in programs that give women a voice, skills development, ownership, and independence.
On the 24nd of October we hosted our first Females in Safari event at our Thorntree River Lodge in Zambia in partnership with our trading partner Elevate Destinations. Elevate Destinations focuses on driving benefit to destinations by encouraging visitors to connect and invest in the places where they travel. We hosted a career day for high school girls from the Believe Girls Club in Zambia. Believe Girls Foundation is an empowerment foundation that builds communities by empowering the young girl child with skills to enter adulthood confidently through access to higher education and by creating a forum where girls have an active role in their well-being. The Believe Girls Club spent the day with us in our camp learning about the various career opportunities available in the safari industry and learning from the amazing women that run our camps what it takes to be a dynamic women in the male dominated safari industry.
Our panel of female speakers for the day included our camp manager and assistant camp manager, hostess, head of house keeping and foundation ambassador, chef, beauty therapist, trainee female guides and our foundation and communications officer. The panel sharing about their various career experiences, highlights, professional advice and of course the significance of being a female in safari. As part of this event, we also gave back to our local foundation project in the Maunga Village by donating care packs for new moms.
“Know yourself, that is your power”-Hellen Thorntree Assistant Manager
Zozibini Tunzi, the longest reigning Miss Universe from Africa, said: I think the most important thing… is leadership. It’s something that has been lacking in young women and girls for a very long time, not because we don’t want to, but because of what society has labelled women to be. I think we are the most powerful beings in the world and that we should be given every opportunity. This statement is a strong call to action for businesses in the tourism industry and other sectors to endeavour to create space for leadership development amongst women because it remains a critical component for building strong organisations, work cultures, stable households and enriched communities.