Listening to indigenous women - How we can all make concrete changes while traveling
Traveling to explore and meet local people in remote places far away from home allows us to connect with and listen to people that we otherwise wouldn't meet. We believe that we can make decisions that matter when we make a conscious effort to listen to what people say. Women play an important role in tourism, but their voices are rarely heard. A lack of education or formal training jeopardizes women's active participation in tourism. Indigenous women need to be able to express and be involved in their communities to represent their views, speak up about their lives, and work for a better future. Empowering indigenous women strengthens their communities because they pass their indigenous culture and language on to their children and future generations. When more women are involved in policy-making, it will increasingly reflect the priorities of families, women, and excluded groups. Practical innovation requires a diversity of thinking, and we need to hear women's voices. As our mission is to maximize the positive impacts of tourism, and therefore, we need to raise indigenous women's voices to make sure that their voices are heard, and concerns are addressed.
Besides listening and learning from others, exploring humanity through traveling develops empathy, which is essential to reduce the distance between us and others without any judgment. We work with Maasai and Hadzabe indigenous communities in northern Tanzania, where we bring travelers to experience and share the lives of indigenous people. Cultural immersion can bring many values in our lives. We can learn from other’s experiences, their unique way of life, and different perspectives. It’s the interactive exchange that makes all the difference. We need to advance human understanding. Travel and tourism can empower women
Ethical tourism can create paths towards the elimination of poverty of women and local communities in developing countries. To tackle these issues, our indigenous partners in Tanzania gathered together with local indigenous women’s groups. They discussed how tourism could have a positive impact on women’s lives and communities. To assemble the data, our indigenous informants used in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with women from Maasai and Hadzabe communities in northern Tanzania. Women hold that many significant and positive changes can take place at the familial level. Women brought out that they experience reduced access to healthcare, and lack of access to essential commodities such as clean water. Indigenous populations, in general, have a higher incidence of most diseases because they live in isolated and remote areas. For example, some of our interviewed Maasai women spend three to four hours per day to fetch water. The same goes for health care services that are costly and far away. Most often, the indigenous women speak indigenous languages and they need someone to escort them to the nearest city or town if they need to go to visit a doctor.
We continue our work to invest in healthy indigenous communities by purchasing health insurance for indigenous families to have free access to health care. With every trip booked with us, one indigenous family gets free access to health care services that also covers free medication. On the next stage, we start to plan how we can help the indigenous communities to have access to clean water. Join our trips, travel for a cause, and let's do more good together. You can travel and explore indigenous cultures' sustainable, conscious, and authentic way in Norway and Tanzania. Good experiences are all about real connections. On our trips, you can observe and participate in indigenous women's real-life, gather around a campfire to have women talk, and create deep relationships with people hosting you. Photo credits to Kairi Aun, a talented photographer with whom we have had the pleasure to travel with and document indigenous women's stories.