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Tribewanted, the groundbreaking social experiment on a Fijian island that since 2006 has injected more than $1m into the local economy by setting up an online tribal community of more than 10,000 people launches its second project in Sierra Leone, West Africa.

In October 2010, a new group of visitors will arrive on Sierra Leone’s John Obey Beach, 20 miles south of the capital, Freetown, and begin to build a new life alongside the local fishing community. The initiative is led by http://www.tribewanted.com, a social enterprise that featured in a five part BBC documentary tracking their progress as they built a sustainable village with the local community on the Fijian island, Vorovoro.

Tribewanted Sierra Leone has formed a partnership with the government, landowners and the local John Obey community in Sierra Leone to create an eco village community over the coming years to support sustainable development in the area.

For the visiting tribe members it will be a unique opportunity to experience a peaceful, beautiful and vibrant country seeking a new beginning a decade after being ravaged by civil war.

Tribewanted Sierra Leone is a local organisation and its non profit partner, Shine On Sierra Leone - http://www.shineonsierraleone.org, has been working in the region successfully for five years, sponsoring 6 schools and computer centres around the country as well as providing microfinance to over 5.700 women across the country.

Filippo Bozotti, producer of VH1 documentary Bling, which took several hip hop stars to Sierra Leone to show them the reality of the diamond trade, has teamed up with Ben Keene, founder of Tribewanted to start this new project.

Their third partner, Sierra Leonean Michel Sho-Sawyer, confirms that all profits generated from Tribewanted Sierra Leone will be re-invested in the local John Obey community, in education and microfinance through Shine On Sierra Leone.

Tribe members will have the opportunity of joining in with the development of the new village alongside the local team and community. The project will be pioneering a new building technique called ‘Superadobe” developed at Cal Earth, http://www.calearth.org, a technique that uses only local earth and material.

Tribe members will be able to book their visit to John Obey online at a cost of $450 / £295 a week. This will cover their stay, all meals and a contribution to the community development. Members will need to cover flight costs and local transport, from airport by boat, to the beach. A new membership model will also allow members to earn ‘tribe time’ by shopping with Tribewanted partners online.

A maximum of 30 tribe members will spend a minimum of 1 week at a time living alongside a local team and the community immersed in the day to day running and development of the village. The project will run from October to June annually, closing for the rainy season.

Ben Keene, Tribewanted founder and author of the book with the same name said of the project,

“Tribewanted on Vorovoro in Fiji has become a way of life for visiting members and the local community. People find it very hard to leave - they feel like they’ve come home. It’s been clear for a while we should try and take the model elsewhere.”

“Tribewanted Sierra Leone aims to do this and more. When you take part in the project you’re not sacrificing your hard earnt time-out for an intense volunteer programme nor are you replacing a much-needed beach holiday. You can sunbath, build, swim, cook, canoe up river, trek, fish, play beach football, share skills, teach, drum round bonfires, and eat great seafood. You’re living alongside a local community whilst connecting with a global network of like-minded people.”

He continued,

“For millions of years, tribes have played a huge part in human evolution, and the advent of the internet enables us to rediscover the kind of communities we feel like in some small way we belong to - be it on the west coast of Africa or an island in the South Pacific.”

“We want people from all walks of life with all kinds of skills and interests to join the tribe; from gap year students, career breakers and adventurous travellers to those with specific building, design and environmental skills to help develop the community. Tribewanted Sierra Leone is your chance to play a part in kick-starting the right kind of tourism in a country that needs it. It will be an amazing adventure, so don’t miss this opportunity to be one of the pioneering visitors.”

Filippo Bozotti, Tribewanted Sierra Leone’s founding partner said,

“I’ve been visiting and working in Sierra Leone for five years. It’s not only one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to, it is also one of the most relaxed. The negative perception of the country is very different to the reality. It’s an addictive place - tourists don’t often come to Salone, as the locals call it, but we are looking to change that.”

To view the trailer for Tribewanted Sierra Leone, please go to: http://www.sierraleone.tribewanted.com

Sierra Leone; want to go but not sure how? Black Tomato is Tribewanted’s exclusive travel desk.

Black Tomato is a travel company that creates bespoke cutting-edge experiences to destinations around the world; to book your experience to Tribewanted’s new Sierra Leone project combined with safari adventures in Kenya (or just about anywhere else on your list) visit www.blacktomato.co.uk, or give them a call on 0207 426 9888 (USA: 1-877-815-1497) to chat about your trip.

ENDS

Images, videos and interviews are available on request.

For more information, please contact Rich Leigh, 10 Yetis Public Relations Agency on rich@10yetis.co.uk or 01452 348 211.

EDITORS NOTES

Sierra Leone: Facts
Capital: Freetown
Population: 6.3 million (2008 estimate)
Language: Krio, the queen’s english mixed with tribal dialects
Time: GMT
Visas: On arrival £50 / $80
Money: Leone 5500 to the £ / 4000 to the $
Health: Bring yellow fever certificate and anti-malarials

Tribewanted Sierra Leone: Facts

• Six hour flight from London or Brussels approx £550 / $850 rtn
• Local transfer from airport direct to the beach £65 / $100 rtn
• 7 nights / all meals / donation to village development £295 / $450
• Project open October-June annually during the dry season
• Partners: Shine on Sierra Leone, Cal Earth, Sea Bright Solar

Tribewanted Fiji: Facts

• Collectively invested $1m / £650,000 into the local economy in Northern Fiji in first 3 years.
• 1100 international ‘tribe members’ have visited Vorovoro for an average of two weeks since September 2006, the project is ongoing.
• Built an online community of over 10,000 tribe members
• Generated 20 full-time local jobs and fundraising for four villages
• Supported the development of the local school and communities
• Built an island village, complete with traditional bure style accommodation, compost toilets, solar and wind energy, and a livestock and vegetable farm
• Raised awareness about and made changes towards more sustainable living at home, see MSC study here.
• Won media and business awards, recorded an album, had a five part BBC TV series made, published a book and hosted four of the Fijian community in the UK in 2009

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