Compiled Sanet van Zijl
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world- indeed it’s the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead
This is exactly what TOSCO is – a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens that are changing the world. A few years ago a group of tourism operators got together after a pride of lions got poisoned in the North West of Namibia. They realized that those lions were very important for the biodiversity of the environment and essential for tourism in the country, thus they had to contribute to their conservation from then on.
TOSCO Trust was founded in 2012 to generate funds to support rural people in their efforts to safeguard the natural resources used by tourism, especially wildlife, on Namibia’s communal lands. The funds raised by the Trust is also used to provide local scientists with satellite collars that are fitted on the lions and are then used to track their positions and share the positions with the local communities and in turn anticipate human-predator conflicts.
TOSCO’s mission is to contribute to ensuring that visiting Namibia’s wild places is as enjoyable in the future as it is now. Therefore, TOSCO also engages in promoting responsible tourism in Namibia. Whether being a concerned individual, traveler or tourism professional, we all have an interest in Namibia’s people, places and wildlife.
They recognize that visitors have a responsibility towards the places and people they visit. They endeavor to minimize negative and maximize positive impact, especially by creating social and economic benefits to local communities; caring for and respecting local cultures and protecting biodiversity. They also strive to provide a communication platform for the stakeholders, especially the tourism industry, conservation organizations and local people, and to increase awareness for conservation issues and responsible tourism in Namibia.
On the local front TOSCO cares for the well-being and cultural identity of the people by respecting their conservation efforts:
In any cultural experience, quality is all about who is in control. Demonstration villages (like in Puros or Tsumkwe), where traditional habitants are the decision makers/ owners and involved in funds management are those that should be supported. It is the best way to learn more about their culture while controlling influence from tourism and supporting local initiative benefitting the whole community.
Currently, the TOSCO Trust is involved in various conservation efforts across our country. These projects may vary from year to year depending on the needs identified and funds available.
This is what they got up to in 2014:
To learn more about TOSCO follow this link: http://tosco.org/about/
Or visit their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/responsibletravelcommunity
TOSCO: Connecting Tourism to Conservation & Communities for the benefit of ALL!