This week we’re covering just a few of the Fossey Fund’s projects and programs that are focused on helping local communities.
1: Cows to Historically Marginalized People
In February 2019, the Fossey Fund distributed 13 cows to 26 families of Historically Marginalized People living near Volcanoes National Park (VNP). This animal husbandry project aims to collaborate with impoverished families living near VNP, which will ultimately protect the park and help fight extreme poverty. The Fossey Fund provided families with training on how to care for cows, and we continue to assist the families with monitoring the cows’ health and the progress of this program. Currently, our Ecosystem, Health, & Education program manager, Ildephonse, is working closely with these families, helping them to take initiative and encouraging them to be involved in their development.
2: Bamboo Nursery
Bamboo is an important resource not just for gorillas and golden monkeys, but also for people living near the park! The Fossey Fund plans to grow about 10,000 bamboo seedlings that will be used locally for household items and construction, as well as to make high-end products that can be sold for additional income. We are working with two co-operatives to set up and manage this bamboo nursery. Seedlings will be ready to transplant in March so the co-operative will continue taking care of the nursery, watering when needed and weeding to ensure we have healthy bamboo to transplant.
3: Nkuba Gardening Project
In November, we kicked off our annual gardening project in Nkuba! This season we will be working with a newly formed women’s association. These women are working together to grow vegetables for their families as well as some crops, like peanuts, to raise income for their association to start other small projects. Throughout the gardening season, the Fossey Fund’s community team will lead practical training on themes including composting, natural pesticides, raised beds, and other sustainable agriculture techniques. We combine these lessons with health training and workshops on how to improve project management and working together as an association.
4: Biruwe Chicken Project
In August, we trained a women’s association in Biruwe on how to raise chickens to produce eggs. The goal of this project is to increase access to eggs and domestic meat on the local market, which will reduce the consumption of bushmeat in the villages neighboring Nkuba Conservation Area (NCA). Since the initiation of this project, the chickens are doing really well and have started producing eggs!
5: Nature and Environmental Clubs
At the Fossey Fund, we operate our conservation education activities in 15 primary and 9 secondary schools near Volcanoes National Park (VNP). The main objective is to teach the students to be the next generation of conservationists by equipping them with a comprehensive set of knowledge and useful information about conservation while focusing on the conservation and protection of mountain gorillas and other species in the VNP.
Due to the success of our nature club programs in Rwanda, we are currently expanding to the Democratic Republic of Congo. We trained our first 4 teachers in October, and in November, our nature clubs started. To launch the clubs we held a series of storytelling, skits, and a poetry competition with the schools to raise interest in joining the club.