Based on a research collaboration with Judy Kepher-Gona (Chief Executive Officer and Programs Director at Basecamp Foundation) and as part of a wider research project aimed at the assessment of the role and challenges of travellers' philanthropy in sub-Sahara Africa, Professor Marina Novelli had the opportunity to undertake a full assessment of the Basecamp Foundation philanthropic engagements linked to its Big Five programme.
The history of Basecamp covers the integrated development of a group comprising two branches, the commercial part - Basecamp Explorer and the non-profit development part - Basecamp Foundation. They were created as complementary enterprises based on an idea, aimed to fulfil their mission: ‘to leave a positive footprint’.
The creation of Basecamp Explorer’s first camp in the Mara was due to an exceptional meeting – and relation – with the respected Masai elder, Matinta Ole Taek.
Matinta Ole Taek approached the Basecamp founders and urged them to establish a tourist enterprise that, unlike others, would also benefit the Masai people.
Professor Novelli's research assessed the first camp in Kenya against the program areas – conservation, climate, culture, capacity and care. Basecamp Foundation has projects on the ground such as water sanitation, schooling, healthcare, solar energy, wildlife conservation and craft making and plays an advocacy role, locally and globally while documenting achievements.
Basecamp Explorer established Basecamp Masai Mara as a community-based commercial enterprise, soon the first to be managed by a Masai woman. At the same Basecamp Foundation initiated a number of interrelated projects aimed at conserving the Masai Mara eco-system and support the Masai people.
Research results have formed the basis of a number of keynotes and best-practice exchanges in the field.
Professor Marina Novelli
Judy Kepher-Gona (CEO and Programs Director at Basecamp Foundation)
The Basecamp Foundation