Jill Merriman just completed her 6-month SCI internship in Dar es Salaam. Thank you for all your work, Jill!
As my internship comes to a close I thought it would be good to leave you with an update from Investours. If you have been following the SCI Blog for a while you may have already read about this initiative via blog posts from former SCI intern Nicole Lulham or former Tanzanian Director of Investours Christina Klecker.
Investours is an organization that combines micro-financing with cultural tourism. Investours’ flagship project is in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, with the Dar es Salaam project beginning in late 2010. Tourists who participate in an Investour visit local entrepreneurs in the Mwenge area of Dar es Salaam. During these meetings they are able to closely interact with local entrepreneurs, review their business plans, and learn about the lives of the potential loan recipients. Tour participants are also treated to a delicious local lunch. At the end of the tour, participants must collectively choose which group of entrepreneurs will receive the no-interest loan derived from their tour fees (loans are generally $200 USD).
Investours caters to socially responsible tourists and those looking for an “off-the-beaten-path” experience. Investours staff recently undertook a marketing training course and they are now in the process of finalizing a comprehensive and viable marketing plan. It is our hope that with improved marketing, and a more focused approach, Investors will continue to increase the number of tours per month, leading to increased micro-loans, and increased community benefit, while providing tourists with a unique and meaningful experience.
I am happy to report that Investours is doing great! They have been increasing the number of tours every month and are just under their monthly target of 8. Furthermore, Investours has successfully registered as an NGO here in Dar, this new status will assist in marketing the organization locally and broaden future fundraising opportunities. Congratulations to the Investours item and their hard-working and very busy City Director, Peter Millanga.
Investours started in Dar es Salaam in December 2010 and since then it has dispersed more than 50 loans to almost 90 micro-entrepreneurs. A total of $10,550 USD has been disbursed through micro-loans so far. It is important to note that more than 70 percent of Investour loans have been awarded to women entrepreneurs.
Investours in Tanzania is a great example of a socially responsible tourism initiative. I am sure that in the coming years, this type of positive tourism will continue to increase in popularity in Dar es Salaam and Tanzania.
Happy travels, stop by Investours if you are ever lucky enough to visit Dar es Salaam (or Puerto Vallarta, Mexico) and try to think about your impact as a tourist, wherever your travels may take you…
All the best,
See you soon Canada!