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Women lead the way

Back: Anne (volunteer English coach), Sofia, Alima, Amina, Zubaida, Mariamo, Zaida

Middle: Atija, Fatima, Zunira, Samira, Nina (volunteer training support), Maizinha

Front: Muahassane

Ilha Blue joined with Blue Zissou (our sister company) to train 12 women tour guides.

We established a training program that was delivered over the first 3 months of this year. The women range in age from 19 years to 40 years old. And Samira Jamu from @orampelela did a great job as coordinator, injecting lots of enthusiasm into the team.

Samira Jamu

As with everything we do @ilhablue the program creatively built on existing skills and talent. And vakhani vakhani (bit by bit) new, more challenging skills were introduced. One of the most empowering skills was learning to ride a bicycle – there is a reason why bikes are known as ‘freedom machines’!

The training included a broad cross section of lively, hands-on activities. Sessions included yoga and dance, puzzles and problem-solving, tourism presentations, dhow sailing, film and discussion with Yara Costa from

The energetic volunteer duo, Anne and Nina, worked with the women to improve their English. And finally, with professional guidance from Pete (cofounder of Ilha Blue and Director of Blue Zissou), each of the women developed their own two-hour walking tour.

The immediate goal for the women was to lead groups of clients from expedition cruise ships on an immersive, cultural tour of Makuti Town, in the south of the island. On Ilha, traditionally all guiding is done by men. It is ‘just the way it has always been’ but there is no cultural or any other reason for this. We challenged the status quo and what a success!


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