See empowered people in Uganda fully participating in and benefiting from tourism in their localities.
Enhance the capacity of local people to harness and realise the tourism potential within their midst, leading to improved livelihoods.
Empower Uganda communities to develop and utilize community tourism as a tool for income generation.
We identified a gap between mainstream tourism, rural villages near conservation and cultural sights, and community-based products and then developed a concept to use community tourism to generate income. In 2000, the concept received recognition from the World Bank as a priority area for poverty alleviation.
Since 2005, COBATI has promoted the benefits of community tourism to target communities through mentoring, on spot training, and outreach visits. Initially the COBATI concept was not supported, as tourism planners did not think of combining tourism with the traditions and cultures of indigenous peoples or consider rural communities as viable destinations.
Community Based Tourism Initiative started as the idea and vision of one person, Maria Baryamujuraand has grown into a locally and internationally recognized tourism NGO. We train and empower communities to harness the economic potential of their natural and cultural resources. And, we innovate ways for communities to enhance and diversify their tourism services and products.
- COBATI won the National Geographic/Ashoka Geotourism Urban Adventure Prize in 2009. The award recognized the COBATI community tourism model which demonstrates how to integrate the “Power of Place” into the travel experience.
- COBATI was a nominee for the 2008 Commonwealth Business Council CBC African Business Awards in the Leader in Social Innovation category.
- In 2006, COBATI Founder Maria Baryamujura was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship, a global association of leading social entrepreneurs. She was selected in recognition of her vision, commitment, and innovative solutions to use tourism as a tool to empower rural people to improve their livelihood using traditional skills, the environment, and natural and cultural resources.
- COBATI was a finalist in the World Bank sponsored competition Development Marketplace 2000.