ECF - AusAID partnership
Wilderness Lodge and AusAID's Enterprise Challenge Fund (ECF) are partnering to realise a Business Enhancement and Capacity Building Initiative. After a one year planning and submission process, this Partnership Initiative officially commenced on the 1st of October 2009 with a project timeframe of two years. Approved activities include:
- training in hospitality, admin and accounting, with focus on further building skills and sustainable income opportunities for the indigenous people of Gatokae with particular focus on school leavers and women (underway)
- design and construction of two two deluxe oceanfront guest bungalows adjacent to the existing Lodge building on Peava Lagoon, utilising all local skills, village-sawn sustainably-harvested hardwoods, traditional Gatokae roofing and fitout materials supplied by village contractors, solar power, and durable eco-friendly equipment and fittings (completed September 2010)
- new larger longboat to provide much-needed additional capacity for sportfishing, bluewater spearfishing, and improved access to local village tours and attractions utilising Honda's eco-friendly four-stroke EFI engine technology (scheduled to be online September 2010)
- expansion of solar power capacity to cover 100% of day-to-day energy needs, thus reducing dependence on imported fuel, maintenance logistics, and engine noise in the village environment
- construction of new lodge kitchen, storeroom and outdoor cooking area (completed)
- replacement of traditional leaf roof on main lodge building (completed)
- foreshore consolidation to protect against rapidly rising Pacific sealevels (underway)
- and other refurbishment and capacity-building work
The Agreement engages Wilderness's extensive experience and capacity in developing village-based ecotourism to maximise benefits to village people in the most environmentally- and socially-sustainable manner possible. All project activities have been designed and equipment selected to provide a range of Wilderness services in the most energy efficient, clean and low maintenance manner possible, with village value-added materials being used wherever possible. The two oceanfront bungalows will increase total accomodation capacity from the current 6 guests to 12 guests, but with great care taken in design to ensure privacy and intimacy are enhanced whilst impacts on village life and the natural environment are minimised.
ECF represents a groundbreaking change in AusAID's approach to growing rural livelihoods in the Pacific Islands - engaging directly with the rural private sector enterprises as an alternative to the profound inefficiencies experienced in implementing development only through bilateral channels. For more information on AusAID's Enterprise Challenge Fund visit www.enterprisechallengefund.org and stay tuned to this website for updates and news on this innovative approach to really making a difference to island people's futures.