In the Spotlight – The Mudhouse, Sri Lanka

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Strict waste management procedures are in place to prevent rodents which will in turn attract snakes. Food waste is fed to the dogs and then other animals and not thrown away.

We use manual labour ahead of machines wherever possible.

Do you provide Environmental Education & Training to staff? Do you have an Environmental and Respectful Code of Conduct for guests? Please provide some details.

Guests are normally given an extensive tour of the property and shown in some detail what measures we take to be environmentally friendly and what techniques we use to overcome certain challenges. 

We find this is a far better way of promoting understanding than just requesting assistance in writing or by talking. When the guests see the water wells and the staff washing the linen, they can understand how valuable that resource is to us and how much human energy goes into creating and maintaining their accommodation in this beautiful place.

Similarly, almost all of our activities focus on the attractions surrounding us – bird watching, kayaking in local lakes, local temples – all of which promote social and environmental understanding.

The staff are almost all from the local area so have an inherent understanding of what we are trying to do. We then have regular meetings where we discuss the internal practices.

There are obviously things that we do differently from much of the local community, like not using soaps or detergents in local lakes, bringing polythene or bottles onto the site and other such details. 

What measurable impact has The Mudhouse made on the local environment and the community, in which it operates? How do you increase local engagement to create positive impact?

Running a lodge which focusses on the community can be a real challenge. In one sense you involve the community in everything you do, whilst on the other you have to set clear boundaries on practices which differentiate what happens inside the gates of the lodge from outside.

So we have found that we have to have our own strict rules in some senses, whilst inviting participation in creating best practice in others. The Mudhouse would essentially not be able to exist without the support of the local community.