In his first article from Uganda Oryema Jimmy Martine, discovers NYUMBA 256 a travel and adventure agency started in 2017 as an idea developed by 28 year old social entrepreneur, Ojok Engelbert and incorporated as a company in 2018. His passion for domestic travelling led him to start Nyumba with his colleague Geoffrey Chingi. NYUMBA is a local domestic travel agency and adventure store that provides of affordable travel equipment, accommodation and domestic tourism to local and international tourists within Uganda. They have aspirations to expand internationally.
Nyumba simply means home and 256 is the dialling code for Uganda. NYUMBA’s vision is to share a common affordable experience of travelling among the local community so they can understand why it’s important to travel and explore the different regional districts in Uganda while contributing to the environment and the economy.
Socially NYUMBA is trying to build a platform through a project which is at its “baby stage” and is called the Eco Table Project. This project is envisioned to be an inclusive platform for youth, community and stakeholder participation in promoting sustainable tourism for the next generation through domestic tourism that includes cultural preservation, advocacy (dialogue), sensitization and social inclusion inside Uganda. Nyumba creates content that educates and informs people from different walks of life, through online platforms and community outreaches, sponsoring cultural and domestic travel events like the Youth Art movement camp that empowers young school going children to build their life skills.
NYUMBA aims to promote sustained, inclusive economic growth, productive employment and decent work for all within our business. Tourism is one of the driving forces of economic growth worldwide, so by giving access for the local people to decent work opportunities in the tourism sector, society as a whole and particularly youth and women can access and benefit from increased professional development and skills. They will do this through making and selling cultural items, retrieving lost cultural artefacts and adding value to them. This directly and indirectly puts some income onto the different households Nyumba256 have given a platform to so that they can market their products.
In addition to reviving and adding value to lost cultural artefacts, NYUMBA uses its platform to give an insight to cultural heritage and traditional practices that positively impact lives and the environment with the goal to sensitize the population and encourage them to embrace sustainable tourism.
The outdoor team makes sure we partner with organisations or institutions that carry out travel excursions and provide them with the necessary outdoor equipment like camping tents so that they can not only just afford their trips but get the opportunity to learn more about the beauty in diversity of the cultures, traditions, communities and nature within Uganda. This will greatly improve the way they view life skill opportunities and experiences and create advocates who will campaign for the environment and champion its protection through their different school projects and seminars.
NYUMBA is improving the environment by placing dumping bins at travel locations and campsites to prevent the dumping of rubbish and litter into the rivers and waterfalls. For example, this has worked well at Aaruu Falls where the changing habits of travellers have both saved the lives of animals and fish. At the same time the environment as well is saved from degradation.
NYUMA prefer uses an organic approach in developing its people in the sense that it has a team of quite young people who act as guides. Currently NYUMBA has brought a few onto the pay roll and also offers other tokens of appreciations every time they get involved with transactional work. This is helping to increase the volunteering base as a step to employment.
Funding comes from the commissions gained when hiring out and selling outdoor equipment while at the same time saving travellers up to 40% of their budget. It also comes from the income from retrieving, adding value to and selling cultural souvenirs and art pieces etc. NYUMBA also able to rents studio houses to private individuals/travellers and local tour guiding.
NYUMBA 256 gets very good reviews from the communities, customers or individuals they have worked or partner with. This helps them to reach wider communities through partnerships with the different stakeholders that can be of help in reaching the audience who would like to share NYUMBA’s vision. NYUMBA 256’s growth is based on caring for and developing its people, whom “We grow and develop to be aligned to our vision and values. This gives our people a vision to always look up to and aspire to reach- Sustainable tourism and economic growth through community participation and social inclusiveness.”