Chief Nkonsango Ndala
IBALI CARBON COMMITTEE REPRESENTATIVE WILDLIFE WORKS MAI NDOMBE REDD+ PROJECT
The hospital and clean water have greatly improved health in our village, and we are looking forward to building a new school soon. We also appreciate that Wildlife Works is committed for the long term, not like some others who just donate individual items, like our old broken water pump, and then leave.
OF FOREST PROTECTED
AVOIDED TO DATE
ABOUT THE MAI NDOMBE REDD+ PROJECT
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
18 MOBILE HEALTH CLINICS AND ONE HOSPITAL ESTABLISHED
12 SCHOOLS BUILT OR RENOVATED
6 FISH PONDS CONSTRUCTED AND NEW CASSAVA STRAINS INTRODUCED FOR IMPROVED FOOD SECURITY
11 SOLAR POWERED, SUSTAINABLE CLEAN WATER WELLS
OVER 300 LOCAL JOBS CREATED
The Mai Ndombe project area is home to 50,000 forest community members dispersed across 28 villages.
The majority of the villages are home to people who identify as Bantu. Bantus are pastoralist migrants, who settled around Lake Mai Ndombe many generations ago. There is one village outside of the project area but in the project zone that is home to the Batwa, more widely known under the discriminatory name “pygmies.” The Batwa are the original Indigenous stewards of the forest.
Due to centuries of colonialism and exploitation, all of the community members within the project area and project zone have been disenfranchised from their economic and political empowerment and are some of the most marginalized communities in the world. They are looking for new strategies to meet their basic needs while still living in harmony with the forest that they have strong cultural and spiritual connections to.
RETURN OF THE FOREST ELEPHANTS
For years, the landscape in the project area was mostly devoid of wildlife. But now, the forest and wildlife is coming back to life thanks to the REDD+ project.
AN INTERVIEW WITH
Mike Korchinsky founded Wildlife Works in 1997 on the idea that if we want wildlife in our world, it has to work for local communities who share their environment and resources.
With earned carbon revenue, communities are investing in building educational facilities, which were previously non-existent or insufficient in most villages across the project zone. A lack of education in the region has been directly correlated with increased deforestation and negative health outcomes. In total, 32 schools are planned to be built throughout the lifetime of the project. Carbon revenue also covers uniforms, school fees, teachers' salaries, and national exam fees.
INCREASING FOOD SECURITY
Lake Mai Ndombe is one of the most biologically unique lakes in the world. Unlike other large African lakes, dominant fish species have never been introduced, resulting in a habitat rich in endemic species. But over the past few decades, the supply of fish has dramatically dwindled due to unsustainable fishing practices. Community members have invested carbon revenue into sustainable fish ponds to strengthen food security and eventually repopulate the lake.
Improved healthcare is one of the most important project activities that communities in the Mai Ndombe REDD+ invest their carbon revenue into. Maternal mortality rate is one of the highest in the world, and over ⅓ of children under 5 are malnourished and many are at high risk from malaria and measles outbreaks. A new hospital and rapid response mobile health clinics are revolutionizing access to quality health care.
Local Development Committees have been established as key structures for local governance within the project area. Project activities are selected in consultation with the local communities as well as other key stakeholders and officials from different levels of government.
Cassava is a critical food staple for millions of people across the DRC, but its productivity is threatened by various pests and diseases.
Locally-hired employees conduct demonstration gardens, agroforestry and conservation farming training to increase access to information for local community members so that they can improve their crop yields in sustainable ways.
THE COMMUNITY PARTNERS
° Pan paniscus
° Loxodonta cyclotis
° Smutsia gigantea
° Hippopotamus amphibius
description for camera trap videos
description for camera trap videos
The forest - spanning 740,000 acres - is primarily (46%) semi-deciduous forest and (42%) swamp forest.
The forest is home to the high-value Mwenge hardwood (Millettia laurentii), which has historically attracted several industrial logging companies. The forest is rich in biodiversity, with many plant species still undescribed to science. Our biodiversity team is still regularly discovering new plant and fungi species. Even though the Congo basin is half the size of the Amazon rainforest, it sequesters double the amount of carbon. This is thought to be because of the presence of large herbivores such as forest elephants, who reduce competition for larger trees that sequester more carbon.
Nearly 300,000 hectares of rainforest along the west side of Lake Mai Ndombe in western DRC was zoned for commercial timber extraction that is highly valued by logging companies. The forest is home to incredible biodiversity and includes some of the most important carbon-rich wetlands in the world. The logging companies largely ignored the rights and health of the 50,000 community members. It brought little or no economic benefit to the local people and drove already threatened wildlife populations down.
In 2008, following a governmental revision of the DRC National Forest Code, 91 of 156 logging contracts were suspended in an effort to address corruption in the sector.
Two of these temporarily suspended timber concessions encompassed the rainforest along the western shore of Lake Mai Ndombe. In February 2010, a formal request was made to the DRC government to cease the destructive logging practices and instead use carbon revenues to promote environmental conservation and sustainable development. In 2011, the two concession contracts were successfully reassigned to ERA Congo (the founding project developer) via a Forest Conservation Contract. Today, ERA Congo is a fully owned and operated subsidiary of Wildlife Works managing the Mai Ndombe project under the same agreements with the DRC government.
The communities agreed to partner with Wildlife Works to co-create strategies for improved food security, access to healthcare and education, while maintaining their centuries-long tradition of living in harmony with the forest.