Odzala-Kokoua’s periphery is inhabited by approximately 12,000 people spread across fifty villages and four urban centres. Communication between the park and surrounding communities is facilitated through small teams known as the Durable Development Monitoring Assiciations (ASDD in French). Each village has its own ASDD consisting of women, elderly, youths and indigenous peoples, whilst each urban centre has several ASDDs. These teams allow for meaningful, targeted and collaborative project development, bringing communities into project design and implementation, as well as park governance, with two members sitting on the park’s governing board: the Odzala-Kokoua-Lossi Foundation.
Infrastructural developments across the park’s communities is managed through two projects that directly implicate communities in development choices: the local development fund and village development plans. Village development plans involve community votes on infrastructure needs, whilst the local development fund seeks to fund these visions through the financial medium of tourism revenues, carbon agreements and natural resource management.
The park’s efforts to bring communities into governance and project management is one of the key focuses of its work. This vision is supported through a wealth of additional projects which target health, education and alternative livelihoods. Income generating activities focus on agriculture, artisanal crafts and sustainable exploitation of natural resources. Unemployment is targeted through youth education as well as skills trades and apprenticeships to develop opportunities away from hunting and other harmful activities. Tropical environments host a wealth of health challenges, which the park attempts to mitigate via its mobile clinics and by supporting equipment and expertise needs of local clinics.
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