The European Commission has declared 2015 as the European Year of Development! That means that this year they will focus on finding sustainable solutions for developing countries. JGI also works toward the development of communities in Tanzania, Congo-Brazzaville, and other countries, because we believe in helping people, chimps, and the environment. Read on to learn about the projects JGI participates in, and remember that these projects are essential to sustaining chimps and their habitat.
Women and reproductive health
You may wonder why JGI puts such a large emphasis on women’s education and their reproductive health. Human population growth is one of the biggest factors affecting chimpanzee survival. Because many women are not educated about birth control methods, they cannot control the number of children they have. JGI’s peer-to-peer education program works on the principle that most girls are more comfortable receiving information about sexual health from their friends than they are from their parents. Trained educators in Uganda work to teach young girls about their sexual/reproductive health, transmission of diseases, and life-planning skills. JGI also sponsors Kigoma girls who participate in Roots & Shoots to go to school. So far, JGI has sponsored over 200 girls (www.janegoodall.org). Women that are educated are more likely to practice life-planning skills and provide for their family.
JGI’s TACARE program started in Kigoma, and has since spread throughout Tanzania. Due to its breadth, we now call this the Gombe-Masito-Ugalla Ecosystem to stress the interconnectedness of the program’s reach. This area includes over 300,000 farmers and fishers, between 600 and 1,000 chimpanzees, and other endangered species (www.janegoodall.org). The program’s focus is sustainable livelihoods, which means helping the communities to improve their lives in a way that also improves the environment. The program educates people on sustainable agriculture, disease, forest management, land-use planning, and much more. Its goal is to provide locals with the skills to sustain themselves, their families, and their environment, and hopefully to pass on that education to their children and peers.
Guinea Eco-Development Project
It is sometimes hard to motivate locals to devote their time to sustainable livelihoods when there is no financial return for it. Many illegally hunt chimpanzees for the bush meat trade because it makes them a lot of money. That’s how JGI decided to fund sustainable businesses in Guinea, West Africa. In Guinea, JGI trains locals in business management and funds the creation of small businesses that are eco-friendly. They also support businesses that focus on the environment, like those that are agriculture-related.
Electricity for mothers and their children
In the Kasugho region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, electricity is expensive because fuel is imported. The region was economically unstable and many people participated in unsustainable livelihoods to make money. A local health care facility for mothers and children was in poor condition. JGI decided to initiate the construction of a sustainable micro-hydro plant to deliver cheap electricity to the region. The committee that manages the plant is made up of locals. Now, workers have the resources to provide better health care to mothers and children in their facility. Other recipients of the electricity, such as schools and businesses, can now access information faster and communicate more efficiently. JGI uses electricity as a tool to educate locals about chimpanzee conservation and sustainable agriculture practices.
JGI Belgium’s Projects of Hope: Basketball for Peace
JGI Belgium promotes a Roots&Shoots program in the Democratic Republic of the Congo called the Promote Youth Basketball Club. It has about 600 members, and focuses on teaching children discipline and team-related skills through basketball. The Club also requires that every member attend school and participate in environmental activities. As a group, the members often participate in beautification or reforestation projects around their community. Click here to learn how you can support this Project of Hope and watch a video.
(Text by Kelsey Frenkiel)