I want to try and help set a better example of how a business can have a positive social impact. In particular how a hospitality/tourism driven brand can make that impact.
The problem with tourism
Tourism can have amazing benefits for an economy or a local town. Helping create jobs and an influx of cash. Unfortunately, it has a few shortcomings.
Like a flower, tourism is extremely delicate.
A destination that is popular today can at the whimsy of humanity, become a deserted town tomorrow. It relies on a stable government, bad actors being kept at bay and people’s ability to travel not being hindered.
Equally too many tourists can destroy even the most beautiful places on earth.
In the last 20 years, we’ve seen several events have massive impacts on tourism. Most recently the global covid pandemic, and before that global recessions as well as instability around the world.
What impact is possible?
I think in a three-year period it should be possible to directly help at least 100 people become established digital nomads. The impact of that would be quite significant to the local economy.
Given that an average bar or security job might yield about $125 – $200 a month and modest online salary is likely to yield about x3 that there’s plenty of opportunity.
In monetary terms unadjusted for inflation over three years, it could help bring in well over $1m directly into local communities.
That could have a significant impact to help the local area diversify from tourism. Not only that but it would help keep talented young people in the area which can only be positive for a town.
What I want to do about it?
What I want to do is help young adults become digital nomads. Help them get their first jobs online and bring money into their communities without having to leave their own home.
For a lot of people today all around the world let alone in beach communities in East Africa and Kenya this is a completely alien concept. The idea that you could work from Kenya for a company in Europe or the US seems somewhat unattainable for several reasons.
I want to try to see if we can help diversify and improve the local communities where we build our coliving communities beyond just attracting more people to the area and offering employment.
What does v0.1 look like at the moment?
There are a few things that are needed to make this work namely:
- Talented people who are interested in working online
- Experienced people to train and coach
- Good internet infrastructure
- Computers, power and internet access
- Training facilities
1. Talented people
One of the things we need to be able to find are talented young adults. We hope to do this through a scholarship programme.
The programme will:
- Seek to find the highest potential young adults in the local area and surrounding villages;
- Enrol them on an 8-12 week intensive programme to help level them up and get their first online jobs;
- Will aim to be cost neutral;
How we find, assess and recruit these talented people is still a bit of an unknown. I’d love to hear your suggestions. We have partnered with a local academy and are hoping that might be a starting point.
2. Experienced people to train and coach
Many digital nomads want to give back to the communities that they stay in but lack the connections and structure to make it happen.
To solve this, we are planning to create a nomad volunteer position:
- Nomads will be able to apply to stay with us for free for up to three months;
- They will act as a mentor/coach for a cohort of talented young adults;
- We will provide a structured curriculum and they can provide their life experiences from the organisations they’ve worked with online and offline;
3. Good internet infrastructure
Luckily this one is already covered. Kenya has on of the world’s most advanced 4G+ networks, and you can get superfast internet that runs even if the power is off all across the country.
4. Computers, power and internet access
Every student will need a good laptop, power and internet access. All are quite feasible to set up but on a per-student basis, will cost between $300 and $1,000 per student.
Given a lot of people don’t earn much more than $1,500 a year, buying laptops etc. is likely beyond most students’ reach. So we will need to develop a sustainable way to fund IT equipment and connectivity.
5. Training facilities
Finally, we will need training facilities. If we aim to have 10-12 graduates per quarter, it will require approximately 20-30 hours a week of classroom time to work through a reasonable syllabus.
We have partnered with a local academy, but it’s not yet clear when or how we could use the facilities or training rooms that they have. An alternative would be to build a training room on our site.
This is really a draft idea. From talking to fellow nomads, we know that they’re keen to help in communities they visit but more often than not, there’s not an easy infrastructure for them to access.
What do you think, how could we improve, change, what have I missed? Let me know in the comments.