If you've traveled in developing countries, you know that it can be difficult to confidently step off the plane or bus and connect directly with local people not in the traditional travel guide, and trust that your tourism dollars have a positive impact on the communities you visit.
Conversely, local people in these contexts often have a valuable trade, skill, or knowledge base to offer - and are looking for opportunity - but lack ways of marketing themselves to travelers online.
Vayando is a tool to change that.
Vayando is an Atlanta based social enterprise that connects curious travelers with micro-entrepreneurs in emerging economies around the world. We provide an online marketing platform for micro-entrepreneurs that have interest and motivation in sharing local knowledge, activities, experience, and skills to connect directly with curious travelers visiting their areas. Travelers get a secure and immersive experience while local entrepreneurs gain opportunity to build their own small business.
Vayando coordinates with reputable in-country field-partner organizations - such as Peace Corps, Oxfam, and Care International - to identify motivated and reputable entrepreneurs and work with them in creating an online profile. The vast majority of micro-entrepreneurs have never been online, but have a marketable skill and also own a basic cell phone. Travelers browse through profiles in the country they are traveling and book experiences with these individuals, or the cooperatives they are members of. Bookings are easily confirmed and managed through Vayando's integrated online and SMS based platform. Payment is made securely via mobile money. Entrepreneurs only need to be able to receive and send text messages.
According to the Deputy Director of micro-finance at the United Nations: "Vayando is an effective approach to help bridge the last mile of tourism, bringing tourism dollars directly to the local level."
Funded by Atlanta, GA (February 2015)