With at least 12,000 people living in Odzala’s periphery, community development and engagement is crucial to the park’s long-term sustainability. Historically, communities had a negative perception about the park, so a great deal of emphasis has been placed on ensuring that their concerns are not only heard, but addressed, and that they benefit directly from the conservation of the park and its wildlife. The Odzala-Kokoua Fondation was created as a solution for this purpose, by including two local community representatives on its board, Odzala’s surrounding communities now have a direct influence on management decisions concerning the park.
Over 230 local people are employed by Odzala, with five percent of the commercial revenue generated by the park’s lodges allocated directly to community development.
Communities living in wild and remote areas in Africa, including around Odzala’s periphery, are some of the most underserved people on the planet. This is why we ensure they receive life-altering benefits from the park including healthcare. In 2019, Odzala supported four local hospitals with medical supplies and equipment; and deployed 41 mobile medical missions which treated 2,074 vulnerable people in communities surrounding the park.
The park ensures communities are involved in the decision-making processes of the management of the park to ensure their socio-economic needs are met. An important element of the park management is ensuring that communities are able to still make use of the park’s resources, albeit in a sustainable manner. This led to the zonation of Odzala into three eco-development zones in which agroforestry and consumptive utilisation are allowed and facilitated.
Diversifying Livelihoods: Alternative livelihood programmes are also being implemented on the periphery of the park, including the development of farming projects including banana and cocoa plantations as well as beehives for honey production. These projects are designed to stimulate the local economy and to reduce the local poaching pressure on the park.
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