Ethical Tourism through Spreading Tolerance & Cultural Understanding
World Weavers cares about diversity. World Weavers is founded upon principles which in essence say, ‘Celebrating, upholding, treasuring, understanding and learning from diverse cultures is key in overcoming some of the greatest challenges faced by humanity and the planet today’. Embedded in the world’s ancient cultures and spiritual traditions are not only tapestries of cultural wealth and richness, but there is spiritual wisdom which if we who have forgotten connection to ancient culture and spirituality do not understand and listen to, then we will continue walking humanity further into cultures of intolerance, violence and disrespect.
World Weaver’s, ‘Adventures of the Spirit’ programs are one answer that we have found as to how we can share, celebrate and learn from cultures different to our own.
In some of our marketing campaigns for programs, there has been mention of us being an organisation which is engaging in cultural appropriation. This is not something we take lightly as it’s the opposite of what we are trying to achieve in facilitating the types of cultural immersion programs that are involved in co-creating. The concept behind the programs World Weavers offers, is to facilitate a deep immersion into a culture different to one’s own, so that one may understand from an experiential perspective the different aspects of that culture, and also have the culture understood in its correct historical and political context. Our programs are designed to be deeply educational so that all the different aspects of a culture are placed together in the context of the whole.
We don’t discount that tourism has an impact on the host community, be it negative, positive, or otherwise. We try to use these programs to respond to the emerging tourism market in a positive way and try to set a standard of practice that will have a positive impact on everybody involved. We don’t ask participants to take the culture and become a Rastafarian, or a Buddhist Monk. We ask participants to openly engage and connect with the culture in their own way so that they may walk away with a deeper understanding of the world.
There are a number of practices that we run by in order to do this work as best as we can. Outlined below is how programs are created (always by local host culture and organisations), and our World Weavers economic model is included for financial transparency, and in order to show how we operate as a Social Enterprise, rather than a for profit company.
World Weavers works with local partners representing the local host culture. It is together with these local partners that the programs are developed. In the case of Rasta Roots we have the enthusiastic support of the Rasta community in Shashamane. They are very happy with the program, facilitating bringing spiritually-minded guests to visit them in that special place. We are engaged with well-respected Rasta elders in the region and we are committed to the preservation and elevation of the status of the Rastafarian community in Ethiopia. Rasta Roots is a spiritual deep-dive into the authentic Rasta lifestyle (livity), not a superficial sightseeing experience but rather a deep immersion into this blessed and precious way of life. We also employ local Rasta guides to facilitate the experience, and engage local Ethiopian business such as guest houses, transport, drivers, and even community organisations such as Dires, which is a foundation helping the deaf and blind in Ethiopia. It is our vision that all our programs engage with the host cultures and communities in this manner in order to ensure that the host community receives a positive footprint on multiple fronts from our programs.
On financial transparency – our general model is that 75% of the program fee goes to the local host community, our local partner organisations for the running of the program. The percentage that World Weavers has as a margin is used for marketing costs, advertising, staff, administration and promotion of the program. In the event that World Weavers is profitable our commitment is that 20% of the profits annually go back into social projects, cooperating with our local partners to fund socially conscious initiatives.
World Weavers is all about learning about other cultures, taking a spiritual journey through the lens of other religious belief systems and experience, in order to foster positive social change and tolerance in the world. We welcome you to share this journey with us.
If you have any thoughts or feedback you wish to share, we would love to hear from you. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org