Jane Goodall Institute – Community-Centered Conservation in the Democratic Republic of Congo

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Through a USAID supported partnership the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) has collaborated with Conservation International (CI) and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International (DFGFI) in the design and implementation of a community-centered conservation (CCC) program in the Maiko-Tayna-Kahuzi Biega Landscape of eastern DRC.

The DRC-CCC Program is designed to complement DFGFI’s conservation and community mobilization work and to take advantage of JGI’s unique model of community-centered conservation which links sustainable development activities in household livelihood, health, family planning prioritized by the community as part of their work to conserve and sustainably manage natural resources.

Development Challenge
In a 7.4 million-acre conservation corridor stretching from Maiko National Park and the Tayna Gorilla Reserve to Kahuzi-Biega National Park reside an estimated 5,000 eastern lowland gorillas and 15,000 chimpanzees. Despite its high ecological and biodiversity value, this region is experiencing a severe conservation crisis due to agricultural/pastoral expansion, high levels of subsistence hunting, bushmeat extraction, exotic animal trade, extensive gold, coltan and other mining. The uncontrolled exploitation of the resources in this region are driven by socio-economic depression resulting from more than a decade of civil war.

Approach
Collaborating with the partners mentioned above as well as other local civil society and government stakeholder groups, JGI organizes and helps to implement community-centered conservation initiatives modeled after JGI’s TACARE (Lake Tanganyika Catchment Reforestation and Education) Project, which supports socio-economic development and sustainable natural resource management in western Tanzania. The DRC program improves health care, provides family planning training and methods, and supports local people in the development of sustainable and more efficient agricultural and livestock practices that contribute to economic growth. The program also focuses on improving local governance, empowering communities, and the use of information technology to support sustainable practices.

Activities
JGI integrates activities across sectors. Health activities include:

  • Targeted training for health care providers and Community Based Distribution Agents (CBDA) in reproductive health and family planning,
  • Provision of family planning methods to health care providers and CBDAs
  • Monitoring the use and adoption of family planning and reproductive health products by the local people through eight local health centers
  • Family planning data collection to evaluate impact of JGI’s intervention in targeted area

Economic Development and Agricultural activities include:

  • Construction of a hydroelectric plant that will increase local opportunities for economically productive activities.
  • Research on and construction of cow sheds, chicken pens, and fish ponds to reduce pressures on forest resources including bushmeat and to improve livestock outputs.
  • Training and provision of improved seeds by establishing seed multiplication plots
    Initiation of a beekeeping project for economic diversification

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