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.
Last September, POPOF’s animators visited among communities of the KBNP mainly in Miti area. POPOF interviewed 456 people (men, women and young), 306 of them selected the tree seedlings to be planted again. The 150 people selected for animal breeding.
POPOF opted for the majority and bought seeds, materials for the nursery, 1 man from the community gave a contribution of his field to install the tree nursery which is a good thing.
POPOF Tree nursery September 2016
In the 1990s, POPOF used to work with villagers to grow seedlings, now things have improved from mid-2000 to today. Now POPOF has the pupils from its own Anga-POPOF-Miti Forestry School and these trained pupils from the 10th, 11th and 12th grades including the POPOF’s Global Friends Club can grow trees by planting and transplanting in the fields of inhabitants living near the Park.
The long-term goal of POPOF is to educate the new generation so they get familiar with the nature, love it and improve the life in communities around the park.
Anga pupils raising flag
So, it is our big pride to see these pupils of different age like this who participate this important activity. This is one of our strength for the conflict solution among locals who face the conservation issue of the natural resources of the DRC.