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LAKE ELMENTEITA SERENA CAMP AND AMBOSELI SERENA SAFARI LODGE WIN AT THE KENYA ECO-WARRIOR AWARDS
Serena Hotel’s Gold Level Eco-Certified properties, Lake Elmenteita Serena Camp and Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge won two awards under the “Social Impact” category during the 2019 Gala Dinner of the Eco-Warrior Awards. The Eco-Warrior Award is an annual fete hosted by Eco-Tourism Kenya to recognize tourism industry players’ that embrace sustainable business practices in their day-to-day operations.
This year marks the 14th edition of Eco-Warrior Awards themed, “Tourism, Jobs and the Green Economy – A Better Future for All” in line with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) global theme.
Grace Nderitu, CEO Eco-Tourism Kenya says, “The Eco-Warrior Awards are an indicator of the strides the industry has made in achieving sustainable tourism business practices. We understand that the protection of our natural resources, environment and people is a key factor in the growth of the industry.”
Lake Elmenteita Serena Camp (LESC) took the lead whilst Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge (ASSL) took the 1st Runners up position under the Social Impact category. Similar, to other Serena properties, these properties continue to give priority to the local communities living around its areas of operation so as to ensure economic independence with the end goal to better navigate uncertainty and thrive towards a sustainable livelihood in the future.
Mahmud Jan Mohamed, Managing Director of Serena Hotels says, “As pioneers and active players in the tourism industry, Serena Hotels is aware of the significant contribution it has in the economy of Kenya. Providing educational, entrepreneurial and health support is crucial not only for improving the quality of life for the communities, but also provides an enabling environment for sustainable business practices.”
Serena Hotels has endeavoured to bring best practices in social, cultural, environmental and economic development to an alluring yet fragile area in Kenya. The company’s sustainability programs respond to the needs of the environment, economy and the communities while aligning towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations Development Programme.
The win by LESC and ASSL was a consolidation of various sustainable initiatives in a more focused and sustainable manner under the “Adopt a School” concept. This concept introduced sustainable programs within neighbouring community schools with a focus on having a holistic positive impact on a child.
The various initiatives under the program that we believe act as a catalyst for positive economic, social and cultural change include;
Mr. Jan Mohamed, adds, “We believe Tourism is the strongest driver of prosperity and our initiatives have had a multiplier effect for poverty reduction in the areas we are located within. Every company would like employees who are prepared to adopt in the modern workplace, but this requires investing long before adulthood. Building an ecosystem that supports education in the early years is a critical place to begin the formation of a skilled workforce. By investing in the community activities and offering fresh opportunities, we can support the future prospects of our communities and country.”
Serena Hotel Becomes First Pakistan Company to Obtain Global Gender Equality Certification
Serena Hotels, one of Pakistan’s leading hospitality companies, is now the first Company in Pakistan and the second hospitality company globally to obtain the Economic Dividends for Gender Equality (EDGE) Certification. As an EDGE certified company, Serena Hotels is now part of a group of almost 200 companies that are paving the way for gender equality in their workforce across five continents and representing 24 different industries.
EDGE is the leading global standard for gender equality, and the certification recognizes Serena Hotels’ global commitments to creating a workplace where men and women are respected and have equal opportunities to thrive and grow professionally.
Globally, women make up half of the workforce in the tourism sector but are overrepresented in low-rank jobs, often get underpaid and also carry out the bulk of unpaid work in small-scale family run tourism enterprises. In Pakistan these challenges are more severe as companies in the tourism sector operate in a culturally and legally conservative context for women. Social norms governing women’s roles in families, their access to public spaces and about what are considered ‘appropriate’ professions for women prevent women from accessing education, trainings and resources to get jobs or to grow in their professions. As the only EDGE certified company in Pakistan and one of the few in the tourism sector globally, Serena Hotels Pakistan is leading the way towards gender equality in the workplace for companies in Pakistan as well as in the tourism sector worldwide.
“Women make up 12% of our overall workforce despite many social and cultural challenges,” said Aziz Boolani, Serena Hotels’ Chief Executive Officer. “As a leading hotel chain, Serena Hotels makes every effort to encourage women for their professional development for assuming higher positions including the leadership role.”
Additionally, a growing body of research now supports the strong links between gender equality in private sector organizations and increased profits, growth and innovation for companies that invest in closing gender gaps in their organization.
As a responsible corporate body, Serena Hotels has consistently focused on sustainability in their business practices. In 2018, Serena Hotels was recognized as a top performer at the Employer of Choice for Gender Balance awards organized by the International Finance Corporation for companies in the Pakistan Business Council. Additionally, several of Serena Hotels’ initiatives focus on the empowerment of women through capacity building and employment. One such CSR initiative is the “Karighar” program launched by Serena Hotels, that makes an impact by providing entrepreneurship training to various segments of women to engender sustainable growth for their ventures and to improve their quality of life overall.
The EDGE assessment and certification process follows a strict and methodologically rigorous process and focuses on five key workplace areas: recruitment and promotion, leadership development, equal pay, flexible work arrangements, and overall company culture. The assessment reviewed Serena Hotel’s company statistics, HR policies and practices, and included a survey of the over 1800 strong workforce. Following in-depth interviews and discussions, including with Serena Hotel’s HR professionals, Serena Hotels has developed a set of follow-up actions that will continue to promote gender parity in their workforce.