Education

The OCP agro-forestry and education teams are expanding their influence around the Okapi Wildlife Reserve, working along with ICCN and other NGO partners towards a landscape conservation approach. Meeting with customary chiefs around the Okapi Wildlife Reserve the OCP education team and ICCN rangers help form community conservation committees which then work to inform the local communities of the importance of wildlife and forest conservation, and encourage their participation in control of natural resource exploitation. The agro-forestry component assists the communities with techniques that improve subsistence farming methods. The hand-in-hand approach is proving quite effective, both for sharing information, improving livelihoods and partnering with communities to control human pressure on the Ituri Forest.

The OCP intensified education team contacts in the northern sectors of the Reserve through meetings with leaders and workshops with local committees, with the goal of teaching communities on the importance of monitoring natural resources. Two meetings held with committees in Wamba (35 participants) and Watsa (53 participants) in 2010 focused on conservation status of the OWR, and poaching and responsibilities of stakeholders for sustainable utilization of natural resources. Funding provided by UNESCO included the purchase of 5 motorbikes and 300 iron sheets as gifts to the Wamba communities as motivation to participate in the meetings. On the same occasion, the education team organized girls and boys soccer competitions to highlight conservation messages for the public. Other similar meetings were held in the villages of Badengaido, Bandisende and Banana in 2010.

In the rest of the landscape, the OCP education team recorded video clips on the impact of the mining in the Niania-Bayenga sector and land use issues within the Reserve, which were used to produce films on these subjects for use in educational programs. The education team also continued to organize school conferences in the Mambasa-Byakato sector. An environmental seminar was held in Isiro on the Ituri landscape and the DRC World Heritage sites with 130 participants from different public services and organizations of Haut-Uele District.