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Responsible Travel 2.0

The goal of responsible travel is to minimise the negative impact that international visitors might have on a local economy, natural environment, or unique culture. As an sustainable development organisation supported by international contributors, we take responsible travel to a new level of engagement and awareness. We believe in travel that is not only responsible, but empowering. In other words, we think that travel should not simply seek to minimise potential negative impacts of global tourism but to strengthen visited regions through the engagement of international visitors in long-term, locally lead, sustainable development programs, the success of which is measured and reported on regularly.

All GVI programs operate at the invitation, and under the direction of local partner organisations and communities, to ensure they are focused on the most critical local issues and produce the results required locally. All credit and results from our projects remain in-country and belong to our partners.

In addition all objectives of GVI programs are aligned to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. All of these Global Goals are focused on local empowerment on a global scale, including objectives such as eradicating extreme poverty, currently measured as people living on less than $1.25 a day, for all people everywhere by 2030.

Our staff and participants around the world contribute to these locally lead programs, but before they do they are provided with training on best practices. They complete training on the UN SDGs, the issues in the region, and how local partners are tackling these challenges. If they’ll work with children, they  complete training in our Child and Adult Protection policy. They are also provided with clear instructions on how to act in a culturally appropriate manner if they’ll be working in a sensitive cultural setting, or how to prevent harm to a local natural environment if they’ll be working in a sensitive habitat.

Below highlights ways in which we ensure that we are empowering the people and organisations regions in which we work – ethically, economically, intellectually, environmentally, and culturally.

Ethical Empowerment
  • We are committed to the welfare of animals both wild and domesticated. We do not support activities that are unnatural for wild animals to perform, and educate local communities and participants about the harm of operators supporting these activities. We support only those captive animal facilities that have passed our rigorous security, proving that their work is in service of long-term conservation efforts.
  • We are committed to the welfare of children and vulnerable adults. We do not support orphanages or other residential care organisations, we ensure all our participants and staff have passed a police background check, and we take care not to post images of children with identifying factors on our site or other marketing channels.
Economic Empowerment
  • We actively contribute to in-country skill and knowledge growth by contributing to student education and furthering adult education including women’s empowerment programs.
  • We train local students through our National Scholarship Program. Students join as a GVI intern and receive the same skills, training and qualifications that international interns are afforded. This is part of our commitment to building in-country sustainable development capacity. We are pleased that many of our national scholars have gone on to work for local partner organisations, continuing to work on the most critical local needs.
  • We train, manage, and pay host-country staff.
  • Typically, 60 to 70% of all participant contributions go directly to running the local sustainable development project.
  • The GVI Trust, a registered charity in the United Kingdom, is used as a fundraising vehicle for our local partner organisations to further boost funds. Up until November 2018, we have raised almost £1.8 million through this fundraising channel.
  • Whenever possible, we use locally owned suppliers, including accommodation, restaurants, grocery stores, farms, transport, and culture or adventure trip providers.
Intellectual Empowerment
  • All research rights stay in the host country and data remains with host organisations.
  • We ensure that credit for successful projects remains with local organisations, communities, and individuals.
  • We actively contribute to adding the data set of local independent research organisations and governments through recruiting the assistance of international staff and participants.
  • Through our Fellowship program, we make the expertise leading international researchers available to local communities and organisations.
Environmental Empowerment
  • We use sustainable practices in our project operations where possible, including rainwater harvesting, compost toilets, and solar power.
  • We recycle in at our locations around the world and run plastic awareness programs.
  • We make carbon awareness and offsetting initiatives available to participants.
  • We educate and train local communities in environmental issues and best practices.
  • We educate and train international participants in environmental issues and best practices.
  • We actively contribute to ongoing in-country conservation efforts with the help of international staff and participants.
Cultural Empowerment
  • We provide full pre-departure information and training for participants in local cultural traditions and culturally appropriate behaviour.
  • We ensure that all participants complete an in-country orientation session in local customs and cultural norms.

Download our program brochures

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