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Chronologic overview

Period (Year and month)

Milestone / Event

Pre 2003

Conceiving period: ideas about tourism and integrated sustainable development are ripening

2002 – 2003

Establishing Africa Challenge BV ; development of the integrated pilot of Mabira Forest Lodge, Uganda

June 2003

Termination of the Mabira Forest initiative due to diverging interests by partners. Dissolving Africa Challenge BV

October 2003 – December 2004

Developing concept, structure and un-officially establishing the Equated organisation by Arthur Neher

January - June 2005

Preparation business plan and participation in final round BID Challenge

December – April 2005

Writing business plan to establish luxury accommodation integrated with developing a Child Shelter in Mto wa Mbu, Tanzania

May 2006

Jos joins with Arthur

June 2006

Jos and partners establish the Green Mind Foundation

October - December 2006

Fact-finding mission to Tanzania and final presentation of business plan to donor organisation; donor withdraws because of change in organisation and shift of goals and objectives

January  2007 - present

Initiation and identification of new potential projects opportunities (e.g. Enkipai / Dawn to Dusk pilot project in Kenya, potential pilot project in Malawi, potential pilot project in Somalia, ecotourism cum conservation practices with the African Wildlife Foundation in Tanzania, exploring cooperation on eco-tourism in Ethiopia, etc.)

May 1, 2007

Official establishment of Equated EcoLodgic

October 2007

Website Equated EcoLodgic ready





EQUATED EcoLodgic (EqEL) has been officially established on May 1st 2007. However, already several years prior to establishment both Arthur Neher and his silent associate Jos have been involved in the field of local development and integrated sustainable (or responsible) tourism.

Active involvement in development projects in many developing countries showed that the effectiveness of these projects very much depended on the willingness of the contracting agencies (often national, local and regional governments) to cooperate, the efficiency and preparation of the donor organisations and the qualifications and motivation of international- and local staff.  Although definitely successful to a certain degree, Arthur found that overall efficiency and actual investments on the ground (“at grassroots level”) could be improved by direct contact with and involvement of the beneficiaries (i.e. the people benefiting from the development projects). Besides introducing an easier process that can be carried by the local community, overall sustainability is definitely increased. Direct involvement of the local people in development projects greatly enhances overall ownership, hence increases the success-rate of the project in which pre-determined objectives and targets are better achieved.

Independently, both Arthur and Jos realised that tourism is a global phenomenon and a force that can not be stopped. Instead of opposing this rapidly growing and international movement with its uncontrolled adverse and environmentally damaging aspects, they recognized that such economically important actor is better to be guided and integrated in the world of sustainable development. In this manner a potential threat can effectively be turned into a vast opportunity.

From late 2003 Arthur commenced to concentrate more on the challenging and alternative integrated business approach. In particularly in The Netherlands the phrase “Responsibly and Socially Justified Undertaking” (in Dutch “Maatschappelijk Verantwoord Ondernemen” – MVO) rapidly gained in relevance and popularity. However, despite that required change in business attitude, concrete action in this field remained lacking. Apparently this thought was shared by some Dutch Partners working in the field of business and development work and eventually led to initiating the BID (“Business in Development”) Challenge (www.bidnetwork.org). In 2005 this international competition was organised for the first time to encourage genuine responsible business and has evolved into a universally recognized instrument contributing to fair trade and balanced business opportunities in all participating countries. 

Arthurinofficially established Equated (the precursor of Equated EcoLodgic) and joined the competition with a business plan focusing on sustainable tourism as the conveyor-belt upon which financial means can be transported to the needing countries. In spite of over 1700 participants he made it to the final round and was invited to the first prize-winning ceremony in Utrecht, The Netherlands. Additionally his business plan was published on the BiD website and in a special publication disseminated to many active in the world of developing aid, as well amongst potential financing and donor organisations.

This exposure directly led to a contact with an interested donor organisation trying to establish concept in Tanzania. Based on the objectives of that particular project –i.e. focusing on helping addicted and orphaned street children around Mto wa Mbu (see projects elsewhere on this site)- a comprehensive business plan was written. The plan was well-received, however, a shift in the organisation’s objectives made that the plan was not further continued. Nevertheless, at present the activities foreseen in Tanzania are carried through a more private manner and are expected to come to fruition in the foreseeable future. During the process of writing the business plan for Tanzania, Arthur met with Jos early May 2006.

Jos had a more or less similar mindset as Arthur and independently had been active in very much the same field. Already in 2002 Jos was involved in an ecotourism project in Uganda, establishing luxurious accommodation. Under the name of African Challenge potential investors were offered a unique opportunity to invest in a tourism project with a solid return on investment and direct benefits to the people and the natural environment.   

Jos’ responsibility was to make all financial possible, attracting the right investors and financial organisations. The result was the establishment of the Mabira Forest Lodge. Unfortunately, differences in approach and further development caused the partners to separate and Jos returned to his previous line of work. Nevertheless, seeing abundant opportunities in this area, in particular by offering a transparent platform to potential investors and parties active in the field of sustainable tourism, together with his partner and with Step Consultants, Jos established the Green Mind Foundation in June 2006. This NGO focuses on arranging the required financial means, but is not directly active in the field of sustainable tourism. However, meeting with Arthur Jos noticed his passion for direct involvement in such projects still was very much alive. The opportunity in Tanzania further aroused Jos’ interest and he decided to participate in the –then- Equated project. Jos added his ideas and (financial) experience to the project, which culminated in the establishment of Equated EcoLodgic in May 2007.

Inspired by the interest the plan incited, as well as the increasing scope for the approach, Equated EcoLodgic is currently identifying potential projects in the field of sustainable (or responsible) tourism, in which social projects and projects focusing on the natural environment should be prominently integrated. Progressively more initiatives have been employed, culminating in the current set of activities described on this website.

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Equated EcoLodgic
P.O. Box 363
5500 AJ Veldhoven
T +31 40 2351435
F +31 40 2351436