Following a meeting on Saturday, 8th April 2017, the Pole Pole Foundation UK is pleased to announce the appointment of a new Trustee; Nikki Jones.
POPOF UK members: From left, Richard Milburn – Representative member, Julia Milburn – Treasurer, Nikki Jones – Trustee,Tony Milburn – Chairman.
Nikki used to work as a cook on trans-African overland expeditions in the 1980’s and has very fond memories of time spent in the Democratic Republic of Congo – known at that time as Zaire.
She knows the area and the founder of the Pole Pole Foundation, John Kahekwa, personally, and brings a female perspective to the role.
“I am honoured and delighted to have been given the opportunity to support the work of the Pole Pole Foundation in such a direct way.” said Nikki.
“The Congo is such a beautiful place and the people are so friendly. The Kahuzi-Biega National Park is an ecological gem. The Grauer’s gorillas are awesome in the true sense of the word.
I am very excited to be helping John and his team, and look forward to contributing to the amazing work that they are doing.”
During his recent visit to London, John Kahekwa took the time to give a talk about his conservation work at the Department of War Studies, King’s College, London.
The audience was treated to a fascinating explanation of John’s work with his Pole Pole Foundation, and the difficulties he faces because of conflict and illegal mining in his area. Ian Redmond of the Born Free Foundation spoke about his concerns for the future of the Eastern Lowland Grauer’s gorillas, too.
John Kahekwa’s holistic approach to conservation is leading the way in his field. Education is a corner stone of the work that the Pole Pole Foundation does in the D R Congo.
It was good to hear what John had to say in London.
Jasper Humphreys of King’s College and Ian Redmond of the Born Free Foundation listen to John Kahekwa’s talk, December 2016
John Kahekwa and Nikki Jones at his talk at the Department of War Studies, King’s College, London.
The Tusk Awards Ceremony took place on 30th November 2016 at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, UK.
[Image by courtesy of Tusk Awards/ Getty Images]
John was presented with the Prince William Award for Conservation, which was in recognition of his life’s work and his holistic approach to conservation with community.They showed a short film which explained John’s work and why he had been specially chosen by Prince William to receive this prestigious award.
Link to the film on You Tube: “Winner of the Prince William Award for Conservation in Africa 2016, John Kahekwa”
[Image by courtesy of Tusk Awards/ Getty Images
THE PRINCE WILLIAM AWARD FOR CONSERVATION IN AFRICA
This is a lifetime achievement award, recognising an outstanding dedication and exceptional contribution to conservation in Africa.This prestigious award is sponsored by Investec Asset Management.A magnificent trophy specially designed by Tiffany is presented to the winner. John was presented with his award by Prince William.
[Image by courtesy of Tusk Awards/ Getty Images]
Prince William congratulating all the prize winners.
On November 30th, 2016 John Kahekwa received Prince William Award of Tusk Conservation Awards 2016. It was a historical moment for all the POPOF members and collaborators in both local and international communities. This gives us a lot of encouragement to move forward towards our goals!
John (right) and the other finalists with Sir David Attenborough and Prince William [Image by courtesy of Tusk Awards/ Getty Images]
We present here John’s speech for Tusk Conservation Awards at Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Your Royal Highness, Your Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It really is a great honor to receive this Prince William Award for Conservation, and thank you to Tusk for this recognition.
It is fantastic to be surrounded by people who have a passion for conservation and working hard to protect our most precious wild life.
The award comes at a vital time for the Grauer gorillas, which have recently been added to the IUCN Red List of Critically Endangered Species. And it comes at an important time for my country, the Democratic Republic of Congo. Few visitors come to the Congo, either unable to get a visa or afraid of the violence they see on the news. But this is not the country I see. Where others see misery, I see hope. Where others see desperation, I see a generation ready to rise.
I want to ensure that my children will have the opportunity to experience, as I do, the magic of spending time with the gorillas. And now I hold the same hope for the Prince’s children, too-that in a decade to come, the Congo and the Gorillas will be safe enough for them to visit and see the fruits of their award.
I dedicate this award first to my colleagues, the rangers who remain active in the field, and second to my partners within the Pole Pole Foundation with whom I have worked for two and half decades. Lastly I must dedicate the award to my wife Odette, who works so hard to assist me in everything I do, and to my children, who are studying to becoming conservationists so that they may take over the helm to protect the Grauer gorillas, in the coming decades.
I am sure that this award will play a great role in supporting our projects so that we may continue to protect our beloved gorillas for future generations.
Merci Beaucoup et que Dieu vous bénisse tous.