Lisa's Blog: Empowering Women, the right way...

I have seen a lot of bad “gender equality” projects, especially in Afghanistan where the culture is not ready for certain projects and it can be more detrimental to empowerment to force it on a culture not ready for women’s rights than it can be to try to do “gender-based” projects by well-meaning but misguided amateurs.  

The underlying principle of development being Do no Harm, we at Nema try to do all of our projects in slow and understated but effective way.

A few weeks ago at the Bilibeza agricultural school graduation I was approached by a teacher, Bashir, from the school who wanted to collaborate on some projects with Nema. He is quite an inspiration.  He has been trained in various countries to do some fantastic environmental and agricultural projects and now lives in Bilibeza, teaching one day a week and running a local NGO, solely peopled by Mozambicans, with an agricultural speciality.  At his house I met his wife, an expert in organic pesticides, and saw her prepare a meal of lovely looking tomatoes and other vegetables from their garden.  Outside their house, shared with others is a cord pump well, installed by Bashir that is the easiest pump I’ve used since I’ve been here.

After signing an MoU last week we have started working together as partners in earnest, it’s great for me to be able to step back and hand over to a Mozambican, much more positive than a white face giving stuff out all of the time. One of our collaboration is a small cooperative for women to make soap.  

After numerous meetings with the village chefe in Ningaia to ask his permission to undertake a project for the ladies, we are now well underway with a soap making project that will give some of the ladies that little bit of income and identity that will make their lives better, but not disproportionately better than anyone else therefore not creating too much resentment.

We asked the Chefe de Ningaia to choose 10 ladies from his village who he thought would be interested in the micro-enterprise we wanted to set up and to choose from those who had the most suffering or largest families to support alone. 

There are no Geldof-style Band Aid pictures from this part of Mozambique but I was here in this village measuring kids a few weeks ago and all of them are stunted in their growth; the lack of good and varied nutrition means that not only physical but also mental growth is seriously compromised by the monotonous diet that is affordable for most families. A small income to buy tomatoes and bananas for the family will make a difference to lives that is tangible and important but still a baby step and not out of line with other people in the community.

10 ladies turned up at our training session; of varying ages they all warily entered the house of the adjutant of Ningaia and shyly sat down but after some training they possessed a certain degree of confidence once together in the group which was amazing to see and they were able to have fun whilst learning, what could be better?

Using jatropha oil and caustic soda we made soap to sell and soap for their families.  Our new uber‑partner Bashir is great with people and the ladies really responded to his teaching. They were laughing freely and conversing with Bashir and Nema workers Manuel and Assane which was awesome to watch.

The soap has a medical quality that helps with the skin complaints that the children get on their heads here.  

The Nema staff were also excited as they described an infection sounding a lot like athlete’s foot that is common here especially during the rainy season and that this soap can help cure. 

After the first demonstration the ladies set off on making a batch on their own, even calculating the new amounts to make a bigger batch, given the state of mental arithmetic here (drives me nuts that 40x10 needs to be done on a calculator) it was really good to hear them multiplying numbers. I disappeared for 10 minutes to meet someone and came back to the third batch as everyone wanted to try to make their own. 

The ladies were so engaged that the question and answer session at the end involved them all clamouring to answer the questions, they even started making budgets and plans for the future.

After electing Laura as their chef they sang a song for the health of my children (and by default I’m assuming the health of all of our donor’s children).  So cute, I watched the video again and again that night, made me so proud of them and hopeful for their future.   

Of course that’s not the end of our involvement with these ladies, but it is the beginning of the end: all good projects have an end.  Whilst we covered the small cost of the initial investment, the ladies are now their own company and they can make their own decisions. Manuel will visit them every week, he only lives a few houses away so that will be easy enough, and he wants to be their second customer (I am the first).  But the rate of production, continuation of the project and ongoing costs are for the group to consider as a group.  Whilst we will maintain good contact with these ladies, if for no other reason than I like them, our support will now be for training and help with resupply runs but not financial.

We’re hoping that this is the start of a series of small local projects for people to make their lives a bit better.  We’ve already got our orphans making stuff to sell and now our Ningaia soap, next stop an oven for the ladies of Naunde. 

Helping the Orphans to a Life of Quality and Dignity

“Working not begging” is a phrase I really admire from Big Issue founder John Bird, it has an air of dignity about it, and self-help with a little bit of ‘you can help me to help myself’ added in.

That’s what we’re trying to do here at Nema - help people help themselves. Sometimes that’s hard here as there are so few opportunities, but we are trying to generate some and this is the first step.

We have over 200 orphans in our project just in Naunde and we have yet to reach those vulnerable children and their families in the other villages in which we work, but one step at a time:  ;if there’s one thing you learn from working in Africa it’s patience.

We have been gradually trying to create opportunities for the orphans and vulnerable children to earn a living. However, whilst items have been made for the Nema shop and the lodge this is a limited market. Trying to reach further and wider we approached some shops in Pemba town and found an English lady who has a shop in the Pemba Beach Hotel, the most expensive hotel in town. She suggested that there really isn’t much of a market for tourist stuff with the oil and gas industry currently dominating hotel bookings but there are lots of hotels being built to cater for the oil wealth and that we could use her contacts to sell stuff for the rooms in the hotels.

Obviously a certain level of quality is required to sell to a hotel so we set about creating a demonstration model yesterday. Calling the older kids to make stuff, the younger kids, desperate to join in, fetched all of the material from the bush. Most of the time the material was bigger and heavier than the kids themselves but these are hardy kids.

Whilst Amina and Rema prepared a lunch of rice and beans for the kids (we used left over food from the food we give to the staff each month keeping costs right down), Manuel started preparing the demonstration models. First off a waste paper bin. Second a tray (my Kimwani is poor but I know this is kikombe as I have my tea in a giant bowl that they call kikombe).

Manuel seemed to enjoy the work and set about making the items with imagination and a smile on his face. Demonstration models made he allocated a shape and a size to each of the kids for us to make a range of pieces to take to Pemba to show to Lesley and the hotels. We made bins, boxes and trays. We’re going to line them with pretty material and see what they look like with some colour and then take them to town to see how it goes.

We can pay enough money to the children who made the items to make a difference to their lives this week. If we market the items right we can create a longer term income generating project for the children here. With the right labelling and a bit of marketing we can enable a sustainable long term income that’s just enough to make a difference to the lives of the most deprived of our communities, maybe even enough to allow some of them to go to school: we live in hope.

Working not begging.


By Lisa Rose, Nema Foundation

Support for Pregnant Women

There are few places in the world where it's more dangerous to be pregnant and give birth. The biggest threat; malaria.

Together with a passionate local team we (through our charity Nema) are doing our best to improve the odds.Last week these 45 expectant mothers all took part in malaria workshops and received a mosquito net. Hopefully all 45 babies will enter the world safely and we look forward to meeting them in the not so distant future.

Our health projects have been a great success over the years, focusing on preventable diseases such as malaria, HIV, malnutrition and water bourne diseases. We are now working with the local government to improve the healthcare availble in the region. So far we have completed the construction of a Health Post in Guludo village and there are more, very exciting projects on the horizon. Watch this space!!

Guludo Wins Conde Nast Traveler World Savers Award

A night to celebrate and inspire; Conde Nast Traveler acknowledge global "Visionaries" and "World Savers." Amy's thoughts on a very special and star-studded evening...

On the 18th September, in New York, Okello Sam, a former child soldier from Uganda, sang "it's alright to cry" while we saw images of children he'd rescued laugh, study and play. Like most in the audience, I completely forgot about the host of celebrities and a tear tumbled down my cheek, so moved by his work.

He was one of 12 Visionaries celebrated at Conde Nast Traveler's prestigious event and where I was incredibly honoured to share the stage with them to collect a World Savers Award on behalf of Guludo. For the third year in a row Guludo was chosen as the Best Small Hotel "Doing it All" as well as the best in Health Initiatives. Although bursting with pride, I couldn't help but wish I was with some of the team from Mozambique to share in the celebration and be inspired by these Visionaries and their work around the globe.

Susan Sarandon and former child sex slave Somaly Mam also made many hearts skip a beat. They described children, not yet in their teens, being sold into the sex industry, becoming victims of unimaginable abuse and then rescued by Somaly Mam and lovingly cared for and supported to become strong, independent women.

Hilary Clinton (who was understandably rather distracted with current affairs and couldn't attend) sent a video reminding us how important travel is for peace, understanding and unity; aligned perfectly with CNT's philosophy of Truth in Travel. 

CNT - Thank you again for your continued support of Guludo and for an incredibly inspiring evening.

The Visionaries included...

Mike Bloomberg - New York City Mayor, for helping cities become more carbon efficient, 

Susan Sarandon & Somaly Mam - Actress and former child sex slave, for their work helping other recovering sex slaves.

Ai Weiwei - Artist and activist, for boldly speaking out against and enduring China’s authoritarian brutality, 

Richard Branson - Entrepreneur, for making business a force for good,

Hilary Clinton - Secretary of State, USA, for tireless working for peace and unity,

Olivia Wilde - Actress, for her work in Haiti (pictured with legendary Jeffery Sachs), 

Christy Turlington Burns - Super model, for reducing maternal deaths, 

Gary White - From,  for making water more accessible through micro loans, 

Okello Sam - former child soldier, for his school in Uganda, 

Nic Kristof  - New York Times columnist, for making gender equality a global priority, 

Jochen Zeitz - Puma CEO, for convincing companies to pay for their impact on nature.


Bid on artwork by Ai Weiwei, Olivia Wilde, and other Celebrities in the Visionaries Auction.



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0 Posted by Amy on December 5th, 2012
Tags: Awards,Press Article

Conde Nast Traveller present Guludo with 3 World Savers Awards

Conde Nast Traveller present Guludo with 3 World Savers Awards

At the World Savers Congress in Singapore, Conde Nast Traveler gave Guludo a staggering 3 awards. This is the first and only time they have given 3 awards to one property and founders Neal and Amy, were deeply honoured to accept the award on behalf of the Guludo and Nema team in Mozambique. Here's what they had to say about us...

Mozambique Eco-Chic: Evening Standard

'The hot African sun filters through stable doors fitted with fishing-basket weave and bamboo slats as I wander sleepily around my vast, open bathroom. There's a recycled Gordon's Gin bottle filled with boiling water for cleaning teeth, a thermal-syphon and coconut-husk shower contraption that looks like a nodding donkey, and a double-chambered composting loo with views over the powder-white sands and pale-turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean.

'British architect Richard Nightingale has designed these new bandas at Guludo, in Mozambique. They're strictly eco, combining local materials and traditional techniques with the latest findings from the Centre of Alternative Technology in Wales. They have walls of mud brick, roofs of thatch secured with rubber from stripped-down tyres, and ceramic floor tiles made by a local woman's group. They're simple, providing everything you need and nothing you don't. They're also chic, with windows that open dramatically to catch the ocean breeze and chair backs with unevenly spaced struts to mimic the dappling of light.

"I never imagined we could make something so beautiful," says Mandela, the head of construction.
'Lovely as they are, the bandas are only part of the vision of Guludo co-founder Amy Carter-James, who won the New Statesman award for Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year two years ago, when she was just 25. Born in Woking, Amy decided she wanted to use "high-quality, low-quantity" tourism to protect the environment and alleviate poverty while teaching in Kenya during her gap year. In September 2002, she and her boyfriend (now husband and business partner) Neal drove north from Maputo to Cabo Delgado, the poorest province in a country still recovering from 15 years of civil war, with a list of potential sites. They knew Guludo was right the moment they saw it; looking at the 12km beach, it's easy to see why.

'From October, Guludo will have seven new eco-bandas, including two with mezzanines for families, as well as three of the original tented rooms, and a staff of 55 locals managed by four Brits. Getting here has had its challenges: for one thing, the average amount of education is two-and-half years and the local languages are Kimuani, a variant of Swahili, and Portuguese. But it's a gorgeous place to stay, with fresh fish or vegetarian food for lunch and supper; kayaking through the mangroves, picnics on Rolas Island, and sundowners overlooking the forested interior; where elephants are sometimes spotted.

'The marine life is extraordinary, offering regular sightings of turtles, sharks, rays and dolphins and humpback whales.

'A visit to nearby Ibo Island where, from the 17th to the 19th century, the Portuguese controlled the trade in ivory and slaves is utterly compelling. Ibo's crumbling mansions are being restored by USAID and assorted European NGOs, but for the moment it is still something of a ghost town, its walls choked by strangler figs. There is a surreal lamppost and lighthouse from 1764, an old customs house with log books from the 1940s and in the main fort, built by arab traders in 1754, 15 silver-smiths make delicate jewellery in the courtyard. The project is supported by the Agha Khan Foundation and Ibo Island Lodge, whose rooms, furnished with Goan antiques, overlook magical tidal flats.

'Guludo's support for the community is intrinsic to the operation - and is needed in an area where life expectancy is 38 and 30 per cent of children die before their fifth birthday. As well as running Guludo and developing Mipande, a treehouse bush lodge scheduled to open for Christmas 2009, Amy and Neal have set up a foundation, Nema, to "tackle all roots of poverty" in the area. The foundation has rehabilitated 26 water points, paid for 49 students to go to secondary school, and provided meals of porridge for primary-school children in Guludo village, increasing attendance from 80 to 300. Some 4,400 mosquito nets have also been distributed to pregnant women and those with children under five.

'Nema's next focus is to raise awareness of HIV and Aids by linking classes to football matches against other participating villages. This has all happened in two years, so the foundation's name ("Nema means when suffering is over and suddenly there's happiness", says Amy) is spot-on.

'The fat, malnourished bellies of the children stayed in my mind alongside drinks by a campfire under the blazing stars of the southern hemisphere.

 The great thing about Guludo is that you can do your bit for the environment and the local people just by having a good time.' 

Lisa Johnson
Evening Standard, 23 October

October 23rd, 2008

Guludo wins Tourism for Tomorrow Award

Guludo wins Tourism for Tomorrow Award

Who would have thought that Guludo would lead us to the tourism world stage... in Las Vegas. Guludo's co-founder, Amy, says,

Our dream was to demonstrate the profound potential tourism has to relieve poverty and address world issues. Receiving this esteemed, international award is not just a deep honour but helps to realise this dream and inspire the rest of the industry.

A World of Good: Intelligent Life

The Economist's quarterly magazine, Intelligent Life, features Guludo in an article titled, "A World of Good".

"Charity can begin away from home, too.

Rosanna de Lisle picks out hotels with a social conscience...

"Hotels are under increasing pressure to green up their act. Where once it seemed enough to cut down on towel-washing, these days discerning guests expect renewable energy, waste recycling, water conservation and local produce.

But eco-consciousness is only half the story: to be ethical, hotels need a social conscience too.

While many hotels employ local people and support charities, the five featured here actually exist to improve the lives of their neighbours. It's no coincidence that they are all in the developing world, since that is where the worst poverty - and hence the greatest scope for tourism to relieve it - is found.

"What does a hotel with a social conscience offer guests? The chance to meet local people, join in community projects and go home knowing that your holiday didn't just do YOU the world of good. The only guilt involved is the flight. But Justin Francis, who co-founded and the Responsible Travel Awards and recently denounced carbon offsetting as a "medieval pardon", gives this advice:

"If you're going to fly, make it count and go somewhere where you'll do more good than harm."

"In 2002 Neal and Amy Carter-James asked the people of a village on the northern coast of war-torn Mozambique if they'd like to create a hotel to relieve their poverty.

"Guludo Beach Lodge now affects 15,000 people for the better. Through its Nema Foundation, funded by a 5% levy on bills plus donations, Guludo provides clean water, education, health care and malaria nets and won the 2009 Responsible Tourism Award for Poverty Reduction.

"The nine beachside bandas are chill-out havens but most guests are moved to visit the village rather than flop." 

Intelligent Life.

Nema Collects Angel Award at Star-Studded Concert

Over the last 5 years we've been working closely with Global Angels who support Nema's work in our local communities. Like it's founder, Molly Bedingfield, the charity oozes integrity and has provided a lifeline to vulnerable communities around the globe.

On Friday, Global Angels had their inaugural "Angel Awards" followed by "Angels in Concert". Guludo and Nema's co-founder, Amy, was there and collected a stunning Swarovski award for Best Charity Partner on behalf of Nema - a very deep honour.

After the Awards was an auction and the final, star item was a trip to Guludo and Kenya with Molly to come and see some of Nema's projects. The prize was so popular it was sold twice, raising £13,000 for Global Angels. We simply can't wait to welcome Molly and her (4!) guests to Guludo next year!

The concert was simply spectacular. Natasha Bedingfield (Molly's daughter) brought along some of her friends; Leona Lewis, Joss Stone & John Forte (from the legendary Fugees) and together with her big brother (Daniel!) put on a show that showcased some of the best of British & American talent out there. The perfect celebration for a phenomenal charity.

For more information please go to

Travel Africa Magazine: Ahead of the Game

Amy Carter-James may not yet be a household name in the UK, but in Mozambique’s Quirimbas National Park she is well known to thousands of people for transforming their lives through tourism. Here, she talks with Sue Watt.

We first met in 2009 at London’s World Travel Market, where she’d won the World Responsible Tourism ‘Best for Poverty Alleviation’ award for work with communities around her lodge in Guludo.

Under the African sky in Mozambique - Evening Standard

"...The beguiling and slowly regenerating country makes other more established Indian Ocean destinations such as the Maldives, Seychelles, Zanzibar and Mombasa seem tired and overdeveloped in comparison. While Mozambique boasts many remarkable attractions, it's the Quirimbas Islands in the isolated far north of the country, near the border with Tanzania, that offer the most luxurious and spectacularly laid-back holiday options.