Malnutrition around the Eastern Lowland Gorilla habitat and a way of facing it by the POPOF

The Kahuzi Biega National Park (KBNP) is surrounded by the communities of six different tribes as follows: the Rega, the Twa, the Shi, the Tembo, the Nyanga and the Kano. To penetrate the protected area is very illegal by the park law enforcement. Still a handful of them penetrate the park for bush meat, trapping, farming, mining and etc. They are all arrested and forced to pay fines despite their poverty level.

Guinea pigs receiving

Guinea pigs receiving

In the high land sector of the KBNP, The Shi and the Tembo tribes grow maize, sorghums,beans, soybeans,peanuts, pumkins, sweet potatoes, oil palm, rice, cassava and etc. They breed cows, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, guinea pigs etc. The malnutrition was at a lower level before the beginning of the war, and also before the massive flux of the Rwandan Refugees into DRC in 1994.
The communities surrounding the park were losing crops year by year since 1994 as ravaged by either refugees, different armed factions or government troops. The level of poverty augmented in these areas than before. Most of these people became displaced and live nowadays in small towns just to escape the troubles. In 2005 the Pole Pole Foundation “POPOF” began to distribute some guinea pigs to each family. Around 2000 families received a couple of guinea pigs (male and female) to breed. The malnutrition was very evident in the area, mostly in the children aged between 2-8.

Give food and let me grow. Who knows my futureThe communities which received the guinea pigs reproduced them and were able to sell some of them so as to buy clothes and to school their children, and also consume them themselves to feed their malnourished children. Despite being done at a small scale, it has been one of the solutions to alleviate some problems among villages around the KBNP. The POPOF provides boiled foods to the malnourished children. The food is made of maize, soybeans and sorghums flowers. A child would eat a cup of boiled food twice per day and consumes one piece of a guinea pig once a week. Weighing them regularly, the weight is adding often on a positive progress. This project is called “Give me food and let me grow, Who knows my future?”. Any one who would like to get involved in this junior project is VERY WELCOME.

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