Online bookings platform donates grants to community based organisation in Africa

A giraffe drinks water at the UNESCO Waterberg Biosphere which received funding last year. Picture: Unsplash

A giraffe drinks water at the UNESCO Waterberg Biosphere which received funding last year. Picture: Unsplash

Published Jan 29, 2024


Airbnb announced that the Wilderness Foundation Africa, Digify Africa, Wildlife ACT, and Africa Ignite will all receive grants from the 2023 Airbnb Community Fund.

According to the bookings platform, the donations form part of Airbnb’s Africa Pledge, a $500,000 commitment to support economic empowerment, digital access and sustainability across the continent through to 2025.

The fund was created in 2020 as part of the online bookings platform’s commitment to share its success with its stakeholders and the Airbnb Community Fund will distribute $100 million by the end of 2030 to strengthen communities around the world.

“Celebrating its third year, the Airbnb Community Fund granted $10 million to organisations supporting communities around the world in 2023, including more than 120 non-profits across 44 countries on 6 continents.

“Nearly $8 million was directed in partnership with our hosts, who selected the key themes and identified organizations in the communities they call home,” said Airbnb.

The e-platform also said that this year’s Community Fund grants support both larger, national and regional organisations that tackle societal-level issues identified by its Host Advisory Board and hyperlocal, community-based organisations chosen by local host club members.

“The Airbnb Host Advisory Board, a group of 23 Hosts appointed to represent the global Host community, as well as local Host Clubs selected African organisations including The Wilderness Foundation Africa, Digify Africa, Wildlife ACT, Africa Ignite, A Rocha Kenya, and Breadline Africa,” said Airbnb.

It said that led by volunteer hosts, host clubs are local communities of hosts who come together to connect with each other and with Airbnb and host club leaders worked with their members to identify, nominate and vote on organisations having deep impact in their local communities.

Commenting on receiving a grant, Wilderness Foundation Africa CEO, Dr Andrew Muir, said that the foundation is delighted to have been selected as an Airbnb Community Fund recipient.

“This generous contribution empowers our mission of fostering lasting impacts through innovative and agile conservation initiatives.

“Whether it is direct action anti-poaching, landscape wilderness management, changing the narrative of inequality in South Africa, or the development of innovative finance solutions, WFA is committed to ensuring positive change and enduring conservation,” said Muir.

Digify Africa’s CEO Gavin Weale also expressed gratitude at being given a donation by Airbnb to support their work in helping young people create livelihoods in Africa’s digital economy.

“This kind of financial support will mean that we can extend and improve our reach and impact around specific key programmes, such as Digify Pro, where we are working hard to increase the number of youth we support in work around the African continent.

“It will also allow us to explore widening our reach to even more marginalised young people, including those who have been displaced by conflict. We look forward to sharing our impact stories and statistics as 2024 progresses,” he said.

Africa Ignite CEO Dr Niki Glen said the value that Airbnb brings to rural destinations and economies is huge and provides an excellent pathway to income generation.

“Airbnb helps us lower the barriers for our communities to benefit from tourism spend and reduces the inequality still felt between established and emerging enterprises. Thank you for believing in us,” said Dr Glen.

The Airbnb Community Fund has distributed more than $25 million in grants to organisations in 60 countries, with Hosts providing guidance each year. Last year, South African grant recipients included Lapalala Wilderness School, Endangered Wildlife Trust and UNESCO Waterberg Biosphere.

These organisations received $215,000 collectively to support a more inclusive, resilient and sustainable tourism economy in South Africa, and lower the barriers to becoming a tourism entrepreneur.

“Through these initiatives, Airbnb continues to invest in the communities where we operate, empowering our Hosts and supporting causes that matter most to our stakeholders. We look forward to continuing this work in the years to come,” said Airbnb.