Local people visited the Park


[Original text in French and English translation]

[Français]
Depuis la création du PNKB, seulement 1% des communautés périphéque a déjà eu l’occasion de visiter les gorilles, mais plus de 50 % sont du niveau international. POPOF par son adjointe du département de l’écotourisme Odette Kahekwa a fait visiter les communauté périphéque du PNKB à les gorilles et leur montrée le danger qui les viendrais s’ils n’arrêtent pas la destruction de cette patrimoine.

[English]
Since the creation of the KBNP, only 1% of the peripheral communities have had the opportunity to visit the gorillas, but more than 50% are international. POPOF by its Deputy of the Department of Ecotourism Odette Kahekwa took the peripheral communities of the PNKB to the gorillas and showed them the danger that would come if they did not stop the destruction of this heritage.

Despite the difficulties, there is always hope: a view of a class in a village

A class in Isangi village, Itebero. Photo: Danny Kahekwa

[Original text in French and English translation]

[Français]
Malgré les difficultés, il y a toujours de l’espoir.

Suite aux différentes guerres perpétrés dans l’Est de la RDC, voici les traces qu’elles ont laissés dans la basse altitude du PNKB, précisément dans le village d’Isangi à Itebero.

Comme la photo le montre, quel sera l’avenir d’un élève qui a reçu toute sa formation dans des telles conditions? Comment la faune et la flore du PNKB seront tranquilles alors qu’elles sont entouré par de tels désastres des pauvretés?

Je crois qu’il est grand temps que le monde entier puisse agir en faveur de ces élèves en vus de leurs donner un meilleure futur parce qu’ils sont notre espoir.

[English]
Despite the difficulties, there is always hope.

Following the various wars perpetrated in eastern DRC, here are the traces they left in the low altitude of the PNKB, precisely in the village of Isangi in Itebero.

As the photo shows, what will be the future of a student who has received all his training under such conditions? How will the fauna and flora of the PNKB be quiet when surrounded by such disasters of poverty?

I believe that it is high time that the whole world can act in favor of these students in order to give them a better future because they are our hope.

Pygmy women facing the conservation of nature

Odette Mulindwa with pygmy women. Photo: Danny Kahekwa

[Original text in French and English translation]

[Français]
Femmes pygmées face à la conservation de la nature.

Par l’initiative de POPOF, les femmes pygmées de Buyungule ont fait leur association en vus d’apprendre différents métiers pour leur autonomisation et ne plus dépendre directement du Parc National de Kahuzi-Biéga a travers le braconnage.

Grace à l’encadrement et la formation d’Odette Mulindwa, deux métiers sont prioritaires, à savoir: la culture des champignons et la savonnerie. Suite à cette formation, la femme pygmée sera à mesure de fabriquer ses produits et les vendre à la communauté pour son assurance lucratif.

Odette est le fondatrice de cette association de femme pygmée, et c’est grâce à elle que POPOF coopère facillement avec les pygmées.

[English]
Pygmy women facing the conservation of nature.

Through the initiative of POPOF, the pygmy women of Buyungule have made their association in view of learning different trades for their autonomization and no longer depend directly on the Kahuzi-Biéga National Park through poaching.

Thanks to the supervision and training of Odette Mulindwa, two occupations have priority, namely: mushroom cultivation and soap factory. Following this training, the pygmy woman will be able to manufacture her products and sell them to the community for her lucrative insurance.

Odette is the founder of this association of pygmy women, and it is thanks to her that POPOF smoothly cooperates with the pygmies.

March 2016 : Representative of the POPOF UK visited the work in the field

In March 2016 Mr Richard Milburn, the representative of The Pole Pole Foundation UK, visited the conservation and educational activities being run by The Pole Pole Foundation in and around the Kahuzi-Biega National Park in the South Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Richard Milburn and John Kahekwa on the way to visit gorillas in the park.

Richard was greeted at Rusizi, on the border between the Republic of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He spent two weeks with local communities based in Miti, a village close to the access point to the habituated Eastern Lowland Grauer’s gorillas in the highland sector of the Kahuzi-Biega National Park.

On the first day, Richard and John Kahekwa went into the Park and tracked the gorilla group of the famous silverback, Cimanuka. They walked for about 40 minutes before they found them in a dense part of the forest where the members of the group were feeding. They saw several members of the group and spent a wonderful time observing them for about an hour. The babies were in high spirits and showed off with classic behaviour such as chest beating and hand clapping whilst the silverback male, Cimanuka, groomed the hair of his alpha female, Mwinja.

The POPOF UK’s representative next to the silverback Cimanuka.

After watching them for a while, Richard said “They really are quite different to mountain gorillas. They are less hairy and the silverback is much bigger.”

In the days that followed, Richard visited the local community projects being run by The Pole Pole Foundation. He visited women who were former poachers who had been given education and training by POPOF and were now working as teachers. He visited the local kindergarten, primary and secondary schools which had been set up and are now being run by POPOF.
Richard was very impressed by the work being done, and enjoyed the songs which the women and pupils sang.

The Representative of POPOF UK visited the KBNP and the community.

Richard visited one of the fish ponds which has been set up by The Pole Pole Foundation and fished for fish there with the help of some of the local schoolchildren.

The representative of The Pole Pole Foundation UK, accompanied by the local POPOF members, attended a football match between the POPOF secondary school at Anga-Miti vs another high school team. The match was arranged to raise awareness of the protection of the Grauer’s gorillas and the benefits that brings to the local communities. The teams looked very smart in their football kit.

The Representative POPOF UK played soccer with pupils.

Richard also visited the tea plantations which are being run by a famous international tea-growing company mindful of the special conservation needs of the area.

On his final day in the area, Richard visited the chimpanzee orphanage at Lwiro, to see the work that goes on at the centre. He also went to see the spirulina cultivation project being run by POPOF near the Lwiro centre. Spirulina is a highly-nutritious algae which is grown in tanks and is being used in the treatment of malnutrition in children in the areas surrounding the Grauer’s gorillas’ habitat.

A warm welcome o the POPOF UK’s representative in DRC.

The representative of The Pole Pole Foundation UK had a lovely time in Miti, and was very pleased to see the important work being done by The Pole Pole Foundation. Richard flew back to London feeling happy and reassured that the projects that he works to support are having a beneficial impact on the communities surrounding the Kahizu-Biega National Park which will, in turn, help to conserve the Eastern Lowland Grauer’s gorillas. Richard said “The trip was most enjoyable and it was good to see this beautiful, peaceful corner of the Democratic Republic of Congo once again.”