By partnering with local kayak guides and guesthouse owners, Kayak4Conservation supports the indigenous communities through sustainable eco-tourism. Not only is it a blessing to be able to enjoy the exquisite natural world above and below the waterline by sea kayak, but it is also important to give back to the people.
Starting out with 3 plastic kayaks, Kayak4Conservation was co-founded in 2012 by Max Ammer and Tertius Kammeyer. The fleet has grown to 11 single and 4 double kayaks, hand-lain in fiberglass, in molds graciously donated by Kaskazi Kayaks in South Africa.
In conjunction with the Raja Ampat Research and Conservation Centre, Kayak4Conservation is a community development program, with the mission to support the local communities in the surrounding villages adjacent to Kri island. By employing local men as guides and working with eight locally-owned guesthouses, income is generated for these families in sustainable, eco-friendly ways as opposed to fishing, shark finning, bird poaching, or logging.
Kayak4Conservation is an incredibly special project in the sense that it uses eco-tourism to support the local community 100%. K4C acts as a bridge between foreign tourists and the native communities in Raja Ampat. By providing marketing, finance, communications, and logistical infrastructure, we are able to support the nationals by finding clients for the local guesthouse owners and employing a number of local men as guides to show people the natural environment – their back yard!
We support eight families, each owning their own guesthouse, who provide accommodation to our sea kayakers. We have educated and still employ a number of local men on the skills of fiberglass work and they are the builders of the boats we make use of today. There are a number of people who offer other facilities to visiting guests, such as bird watching trips (Wilson’s and Red Bird-of-Paradise), panoramic viewpoints or simply a nice clean beach with fresh coconuts for sale. All these people now generate an income from the services they provide.
One of our favorite success stories is from one of our guides, Bennie, who started working with us in 2015. He had no money, was living with his family in a very, very small house, shared by seven other people: two families, in one small house. He made an income from fishing, but this was not enough to move into his own house. His children were healthy, but their clothes were worn and had to share one school uniform between the two daughters. Now, two years later, he was able to build his own house from the income generated by guiding sea kayakers. His children now each have their own uniform for school and he himself became a bigger leader figure within the village and an elder in the church. His English has improved immensely and has grown in confidence.
This is why we do what we do. Other efforts Kayak4Conservation is involved with includes teaching English to the kayak guides, encouraging them to gain confidence when guiding and speaking to foreigners, and working in garbage waste management awareness projects such as the Friendly Drifter’s campaign and shark conservation with “Shark Stanley”.
-Tertius & Jasmine Kammeyer-