The community of Kwamalasamutu is located in southwestern Suriname adjacent to the border areas of Brazil and Guyana. This community of indigenous Indian Trio people of 1,200 is physically isolated and the only transport connection with the outside is by a small charter plane. They requested our help to set up sustainable tourism and micro entrepreneurship in their region.
Tags:isolated area / jungle / Surinam / sustainable lodge
100% Zomer was approached by her Surinam business partner Acces Suriname Travel as an advisor for this lodge to be. Due to the experience of 100% Zomer with sustainable lodges in remote areas. Resorts that also served as a flywheel for the development of a sustainable surrounding economy. 100% Zomer was also hired for her extensive experience in working with indigenous cultures.
When: January 2007- January 2008
Who: Inter American Development Bank
Why: Many of the youngsters of Kwamalasamutu did not have a job and are therefore tempted to work in goldmines. This work is being done in isolated areas where drugs abuse and AIDS problems are growing. Besides this the area is visited often by organizations such as National Geographic. Also researchers from all over the world visit Kwamalasamutu. They study the traditional medicinal science thought by the local Shamans. Kwamalasamutu is one of the largest indigenous pharmacies in the world. Still in the world today these plants make up a significant part of the western medication sold.
100% Zomer gained the trust of the local community and the regional chiefs to get started with the local team.
100% Zomer and Access Suriname Travel succeeded to acquire 150.000 euro subsidies from the Inter American Development Bank in Surinam.
100% Zomer developed the business plan and a sustainable vision for the surrounding economy with the stakeholders.
100% Zomer co-designed the architecture for the lodge built with local materials, like bamboo from the area.
100% Zomer, Access Travel and a local team camped 5 days in the jungle to map all the (technical) details for the lodge. Like GPRS codes, quality of the ground, location suitability with the change of seasons, distance from the village, availability of local building materials and more.
100% Zomer and Access Suriname negotiated with local airplane and NGO’s to develop a smart logistic plan. Separate airplane tickets were very costly, but we found a solution to combine flights of various organizations. This led to a significant drop of prices.
The community cooperates with the American organization Conservation International.
The community agreed to maintain the separation in a no-hunting zone and a hunting zone in this rainforest.
The Iwaana Samu Rainforest basic lodge facility is open since 2008. Guests can visit the sacred peroglieves of Wherephai, a World Heritage Monument.