Gender equality is a fundamental human right and as articulated by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, ‘a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.’ It is through education, that women are able to gain equal access to skills and opportunities in the labour market, which in travel accounts for 1 in 4 jobs in the world.

As a tour operator running holidays in some of the world’s more deprived regions, we strive to leave a positive social footprint in our host communities. Our Steppes Travel Fund for Female Guides aims to give women access to education and training that will give them the knowledge and skills required to pursue a fulfilling and prosperous career as a guide.

We prioritise this, in the knowledge that economic growth and social development are more likely to flourish where women and girls are empowered to fully participate in labour forces. When given the opportunity, women are effective agents of change in combatting the climate crisis at a household, community, national and international level.

We are also mindful of what a difference a good guide can make to the enjoyment of your holiday. And we know that in countries where women are already fulfilling the role of guide, they are among some of our clients favourite travelling companions.

What is it?

Indian Pacific Train Miners Memorial in Broken Hill, Australia

A bursary available to women looking to gain formal training and education in pursuit of a career in tourism as a guide.

The bursary is to directly cover expenses for a course at a recognised place of learning which explicitly trains and prepares students for a career in guiding. The total fund will amount to a minimum of £15,000 per year which we anticipate covering approximately 3-4 applicants per year.

Where is it available?

Feeding baby elephant, Reteti Orphanage, Kenya

Bursaries are available to women of any age in any country in which Steppes Travel currently operates. We are happy to receive applications from women in rural or urban environments.

The fund will prioritise applications from countries where opportunities for young women in guiding positions are less common.

In countries where a career in guiding is readily available to women, the fund will aim to support women from disadvantaged and underrepresented communities.

When is it available?


Applications open from 1st June 2023 – August 31st 2023 for courses starting before the end of the calendar year.

The fund will be available on an annual basis for three consecutive years, after which time an assessment will be made as to whether the scheme should be continued.

What is the process?

Examining Eric the Giant Armadillo, Project Armadillo, Baia das Pedras, Pantanal, Brazil
Baia das Pedras, Pantanal, Brazil

Our priority is to work with our local partners around the world – both travel companies and NGOs – to identify where the need is greatest to support women in their efforts to become guides. Anybody interested should complete the Steppes Travel Fund for Female Guides application form.

The bursary will need to be paid directly for course fees but we will also consider supporting living expenses for the period the applicant is in training/education.

Verification of fees must be provided by a third party, for example one of our travel partners, a NGO or a college official.

Thanks for reading

Jarrod Kyte

Author: Jarrod Kyte