This lack of regional community pressure means that there is ample opportunity to work with the surrounding population, in partnership with the Central African Republic government, to promote conditions for sustainable development based on a better understanding of the value of wildlife.This project goes beyond conservation - it represents hope for stability and governance in a part of the world with an endless history of corruption, depletion of natural resources and military conflicts.
Up until now, the communities that live within the surroundings of Chinko have received no education on the importance of conservation. A key goal of the project is to educate the next generation on the value of wildlife and explain that it is a sustainable resource of value that can secure a more positive future for them and potentially even stabilise the region. Chinko provided funds to assist with the construction of a Secondary School in Bakouma, the nearest major village to Chinko. Environmental education was taught through the local schools during the course of the year and where possible education resources have been provided to pupils and teachers in Bakouma’s schools in recognition of their educational efforts.
Due to a general lack of teachers as a result of the coup d’état in CAR, the community’s parents have developed a “parent-teacher” system to keep the schools running. For example, parents that can read and write will teach these skills in the school.
The Central African people are amongst the poorest on the continent and in desperate need of a sustainable form of income in order to improve their quality of life. Local employment opportunities have already been created through the establishment of the initial ranger team. It is anticipated that once further tourism offerings are introduced, there will be additional opportunities for employment. Over 400 people are employed in Chinko. African Parks is the largest employer for the country outside of the capital and the largest taxpayer in Eastern CAR.
An extensive program is underway to educate herdsmen on the value of conservation and to establish grazing routes outside of the Chinko are to alleviate the pressure that has been placed on the reserve and its wildlife by the cattle herders and the associated over-grazing. Efforts are also ongoing to establish local-sourcing agreements with communities to provide materials and supplies to ranger units and other reserve employees.
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