Protecting the natural habitat of gorillas in the Dja Reserve
Duration of the partnership
Gorillas are in critical danger of extinction due to the drastic destruction of their habitat, poaching and hunting. The Dja Biosphere Reserve in Cameroon is a UNESCO World Heritage site and protects one of Central Africa’s largest tropical forests, home to western lowland gorillas and many other species of wildlife. Given the strong pressure of human activities on the resources, conservation in the reserve is extremely important.
Since 2012, Awely’s micro-development project in the northern part of the reserve has been helping reduce human pressure by providing literacy training and education to the local population, building awareness about the importance of protecting flora and fauna, and finally developing sustainable income-generating alternatives in the villages
A school and a conservation centre have been built, and trees and ecological gardens are being planted in the villages to help alleviate food insecurity and reduce reliance on forest resources. Gorillas and other wildlife on the northern edge of the reserve are being monitored by community patrols in this part of the forest.
Thanks to the project, 80 children from 10 villages near the Dja Reserve are attending school each year. The inhabitants of the 10 villages also benefit from plantations, ecological gardens and the preservation of their environment.
The province suffers from poverty, with a high illiteracy rate, food insecurity and heavy dependency on forest resources. In the area, there is no health clinic, no school and no electricity.
Awely works to protect gorillas with and for the local communities. That is why the project started with micro-development projects, in particular the construction of a school in 2014. Education is a springboard to conservation. Capacity building, income-generating alternatives and education are key factors in Awely’s strategy to protect gorillas by improving the living conditions of the local populations.