Community Involvement

As many as 130,000 people live around Odzala making community development and engagement crucial. Of these,  10,000 people who live along the periphery of the park now have a direct influence on management decisions concerning Odzala as a result of the Odzala-Kokoua Fondation, which has two local community representatives on its board.

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.

Employment

Well over 200 local people are employed by Odzala, with five percent of the commercial revenue generated by the park allocated towards community development.

Odzala's mobile clinic © Marcus Westberg
Communities now have access to healthcare through the mobile clinic

Community Projects

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 investigated for the periphery of the park, including the development of farming projects including banana and cocoa plantations. These projects are designed to stimulate local economic opportunity for local people and reduce the poaching pressure on the park.