Category Archives: Communities

Fruit tree seedlings distributed to five communities

The communities living alongside Mount Tshiaberimu will benefit from new fruit trees

The communities living alongside Mount Tshiaberimu will benefit from new fruit trees

Hi, this is Jean-Claude,

The Gorilla Organization recently helped distribute passion fruit seedlings to villages surrounding Mount Tshiaberimu.

In total, 200 stems of seedlings were distributed among five different community associations. The fruit they will produce will provide an excellent source of nutrition for people living in this part of DR Congo. And, by turning the ripe fruit into juice to sell, these communities will also be able to benefit from a new source of valuable income.

What’s more, as with many of the other projects we run on the edges of the Virunga National Park, this will help to ease the pressure placed on the natural resources found inside the gorillas forest home.

In the picture above you can see a healthy, full-grown fruit tree in nearby Burusi. Let’s hope the trees planted on Mount T grow to be equally impressive!

Radio Mount Tshiaberimu set to hit the airwaves!

The team at the new radio station will help raise awareness of gorilla conservation

The team at the new radio station will help raise awareness of gorilla conservation

Hi, this is Jean-Claude,

From tomorrow (July 1st), the communities on and around Mount Tshaberimu will finally be able to listen to their own local radio station.

Over the course of 2010, several NGOs, including MISSAF Kyondo and the Gorilla Organization held talks with the district governor, the Honorable Kasereka Wanzavelere, regarding the possibility of launching a not-for-profit station to serve this part of the eastern DRC.

Now, I am delighted to report that, with the funding for this project having been secured, the first proper broadcasts are set to begin. Thanks to the help of our resident radio technician Marcassin Muhindo, we’re ready to take to the airways tomorrow.

This is great news for the communities of the Mount Tshaberimu region, and it’s also excellent news for the endangered mountain gorillas living here. As our work with Radio Cosmos on the edge of the Virunga National Park has shown, educating people about the plight of gorillas is a great way of getting communities involved in conservation efforts.

As you can see in the above picture, the team at the new radio station are raring to get started. I’ll be sure to keep you up to date with news about the radio station and how it’s helping us with our valuable work here at Mount Tshiaberimu.

Mukokya Parade highlights ladies’ support for Mt T’s gorillas

Hi, this is Odilon,

Women, and mothers in particular, play a key role in helping communities around Mount Tshiaberimu thrive. And nothing illustrates their importance quite like Sagot, or Solidarity of Friends of Mountain Gorillas Tshiaberimu.

Founded in 2005, this is a network of several grassroots development associations, among them Integration of Women in Development (IFED) and the Association of Legionnaires’ Mothers for Development.

Sagot works to establish and support small-scale community initiatives, such as setting up nurseries where vegetables and fruit trees can be grown, teaching women the importance of sustainable agriculture and educating children how to respect the forests, home of the endangered mountain gorillas.

To mark International Women’s Day 2011, we helped to organise the annual Mukokya Parade – named after one of the mountain gorillas living here at Mount Tshiaberimu – with dozens of mothers dressing up and taking part in a march from the Gorilla Organization’s resource centre.

Here are some photos from this year’s Mukokya Parade. Check out the colourful Gorilla Organization uniforms some of the ladies are wearing!

Ladies supporting gorillas on the annual Mukokya Parade

Ladies supporting gorillas on the annual Mukokya Parade

Dozens of women from communities around Mt Tshiaberimu marched this year

Dozens of women from communities around Mt Tshiaberimu marched this year

Greetings from Mt Tshiaberimu

This is Jean Claude
2010 was a difficult year for the MtT project as we worked hard to protect the small
remaining group of gorillas living in Tshiaberimu. Six months were troubled by
rebels but thankfully all the staff here at the project stayed safe.

Our thanks to our colleagues at the Congolese Wildlife Authority, the GO executive team and to the Tshiaberimu blog friends who continue to support the project. Many thanks also to the local communities and chiefs who work with us and contribute to the success of the project.

Two woman are now in training in India to support the gorillas further, you can read more about this on the gorilla blog!

Despite the insecurity the gorillas have been healthy throughout 2010. Just before Christmas there was a battle between two silverbacks and Tsongo suffered some wounds to his face but he is fine!- here are some photos of him after the fight.



Here is a photo of me with some of the team and Emilie who visited our community activities whilst working for the EU projects in the region – thank you so much for coming to see us!


Memorial marks the one-year anniversary of our murdered ranger friend Safari

 His this is Vhosi

Kakule Safari was murdered on January 8th, 2009 at Mulango wa Nyama Patrol Post(Mount Tshiabirimu) when his group was attacked by rebel militia. He was then buried on January 10th,2009 at their family graveyard in Musienene village. He left three orphaned children and a widow.

Safari had worked on the Gorilla Organization programme at Mount T for more than three years. 

Recently at Mount Tshiabirimu people commemorated the one year anniversary of Safari’s murder.

A team of Mount T workers organised a meditative visit to Safari’s grave. Then a mass was said at Burusi by a priest from Kyondo Parish, and scores of people from villages surrounding Mount T attended. The mass was sung by a choir (called ‘Sacre Coeur de Jesus’) from Kyondo parish too.


The local Community Based Organisations and the MtT workers collected some money to pay for a party where all the park workers and local villagers could come together. 


We also thought of Nicolas Vighanzire and prayed for his ghost’s rest. Nicolas was a WWF volunteer and was assassinated on May 20th, 2007 at Burusi Ptrol Post( MtT) from an assault by unknown armed people. I was there in that attack myself, and survived it although I was shot in the leg. But I saw Nicolas giving up the ghost. He left behind his pregnant wife who gave birth to a lonely boy six months later. They are both healthy.

Thus, we prayed both for the ghosts’ rest of Safari and Nicolas, and for the peace at MtT. We hope the best both for people and the gorillas as every cloud has a silver lining.

Emirembe oko Bandu n’oko Ngayi e’ Kyabirimu, n’oko bosi abakawatikaya e’Gorilla Organization 

( Peace to MtT people and gorillas, and to all those who have been funding the GO field projects and to the HQ GO Team).


Thank’s for your donation

 Hi,This is Tuver

On behalf of Mount Tshiaberimu guards ,ICCN staff in this sector of Virunga national Park and Gorilla Organization Staff,i thank’s all off you for all donations we gate via wildlifedirect.

We are happy to continue our work and protecting this gorilla habitat whith your support.

Thank’s and we still need your help and more support.

Tuver Wundi

The Gorilla Organization Communications Manager

A farmer from Burusi

Hi,This is Vhosi

Tsangyamuyi is a farmer from Burusi village close to Mount

Tshiaberimu in eastern Congo DR. She has benefited for over three years from the Gorilla Organization-funded programme which shows locals how to grow their own vegetables and trains them in sustainable and pig farming.


As a widow and a mother of five, courageous Tsangyamuyi has benefited from the Gorilla Organization’s livestock distribution scheme. She was given a pig which gave birth to eleven healthy piglets. Villagers now recognise her as a dedicated and experienced farmer within the Burusi village.


Not only does Tsangyamuyi have plans to buy iron roofing sheets to improve her home, but she can now pay for school education for all her five children, where as before she only could pay for two. Some of the pigs will be sold to buy seeds to grow more vegetables and she will use the remaining pigs’ manure to fertilize the crops, a farming technique she was taught as part of the programme.


Tsangyamuyi’s success is a clear testament to the large amount of work the Gorilla Organization has undertaken and the success they have achieved in maintaining the protection of the gorillas from human encroachment and to alleviate poverty in the local communities.

Years of turmoil have stretched things beyond their limits

Hi,this is Vhosi

The war in DR Congo may be over, but the impact will be felt for generations. Years of turmoil have stretched things beyond their limits.

I have recently been spending time in Ngitse, a village close to Mount Tshiabirimu, where there is a high rate of widows and young unmarried women who have many children.

Many of the young women were raped or sexually abused by soldiers or militiamen, then they got pregnant and had children from unknown fathers. We have found out that, around Mount Tshiabirmu, over 500 young women were raped or were sexually abused as a result of the war. As a result, more than 1500 children were born. This information is from only three out of the eleven villages surrounding Mount Tshiabirimu, so the real figure is likely to be much higher. 96% of these young women are illiterate, while 82% of their children are not going to school. According to the local health centre the rate of those that tested HIV positive is five per cent (figures are from 2006).

In our research, 95% of the sexually abused young women are in charge of their mothers who are widows. I met one widow in Ngitse village called Irena who is caring for nine children, among them five orphans.

In this small area, little squares of farmland cover the steep slopes of the hills which provide living to thousands of local farmers. 30% of local people are landless and almost 80% of them are in land conflicts. Such situations may create conflicts between local people and the gorillas’ habitat forcing people to do things that will help them to survive for the present, even though they know they are creating problems for the future.

The impact of the war in DRC is still being felt here. The important thing is to remind the world of what happened, and to never let it occur again.

Celebrating World Environment Day around Mt T

Hi this is Vhosi, Social Assistant at Mount Tshiabirimu for the Gorilla Organization.

During the first week of June, we observed an ‘Environment Week’, packed full of activities including tree-planting, conferences, film screenings, the airing of broadcasts, drama, and talks with students. The focus was both combating climate change, and promoting the Year of Gorilla 2009.  With the active participation of 72 children from Tuvuke and Buswagha primary schools, in addition to 42 members of SAGoT (Solidarité des Amis des Gorilles de Tshiabirimu) in the villages of Burusi and Buswagha, we planted 1,080 trees as a gesture towards combating climate change. We also distributed 20,087 trees to 80 members of SAGoT, which are to be planted around the gorillas’ habitat.

Children from Burusi

Children from Burusi

The city of Butembo is 60km from Mt T, and its inhabitants consume around 30,000kg of charcoal weekly. Here, we organised a 6km walk at which 120 children from Katsya Primary School carried tree seedlings through the main street of Butembo. Other participants on the walk were The Urban Environment Conservation Authority, members of the ANR (Appui au Reboisement National) and the ACEKAVU (Association des Consommateurs de l’Eau de Katwa et Vuthetse).  The walk ended at the Mayor’s office in Butembo. The Mayor of Butembo welcomed the walkers and congratulated the initiative. He said, “Motor vehicles dominate our economy too greatly. And they, along with the felling of trees have a tremendous impact on the environment. Caring for the natural environment, for example by planting trees, is very positive. This is especially the case when children are involved in the activities, as we need to invest in the future for the  benefit of future generations.” He then led us to the area where we were to plant 1,700 trees (donated by ACEKAVU and ANR) with the help of the UN and police urban officers. The tree-planting took us five hours.

We involved local authorities because transforming hard-set attitudes requires a concerted campaign that is backed by Government and led by NGOs. And effective community groups must act as a catalyst to others. Such education not only increases knowledge, but also improves awareness of the value of trees as an integral part of the natural environment and as an important element of our cultural heritage. This awareness can then be passed on by the students to other sections of the community. The passing on of knowledge from people who have received education to others is an important part of education campaigns. Therefore, we invited three speakers to speak at a conference, with an audience of more than 250 students from four local universities in Butembo City.

In his speech on ‘Climate change – causes, consequences and salvation’,  Professor Vyakuno of the Université Catholique du Graben said, “The forest lights up our life. We are dependent on its bounty for our health, happiness and progress. Deprived of it, we suffer. Deprived of it, we are in darkness. So let us keep the light burning by keeping our forests ever green. The forest is life itself, and our life too. Therefore, we need to plant trees wherever forests have been destroyed”. Then, he congratulated the Gorilla Organization on having led the children and others in the tree-planting effort and for organising the conference.  Dr Mundama, in his speech on the carbon process, invited students to participate in conserving the Earth’s resources. He warned that damage to the vitality and diversity of nature, along with a rapidly increasing population and  the demand for resources are intimately related to poverty and a sub-standard quality of life that affects everybody. He added that we need to be aware of these problems and to identify actions to stabilise population growth and moderate consumption.

Finally, Jean Claude Kyungu informed the students about the illegal fisheries on the west shores of Lake Edouard. He warned that this illegal fishing not only affects the biodiversity of Lake Edouard, but also the economy of local communities and so the vitality of other ecosystems such as Mt T.   We then screened an exciting film about the Great Apes to the attendees.

Two days later, I took two students from Butembo on an education campaign in Masereka Village. There, they were able to pass on  in the local language those messages that they had learnt from the conference in Butembo to more than 500 villagers. The celebration of Environment Day was bright and colourful, with traditional dances and drama being enjoyed by all.  Esdras Kisonia, one of the two students who took part in this education campaign, has dedicated two poems to nature conservation – one regarding the preservation of gorillas and the other regarding the importance of tree planting to combating climate change.

Kyondo, 9th June 2009

Vhosi Jean de Dieu.

Blue monkey is returned to the forest at Tshiaberimu

Hi this is Tuver


Jean Claude has informed me that the population of Kisoni village, on the outskirts of Mount Tshiaberimu, recently handed-over a blue monkey (Cercopithecus mitis) to ICCN rangers after she ventured out of the forest and was held captive by individuals in the village.



The ranger Kataps, while walking in the region, noticed the monkey, which was being taunted by local boys. Soon after local villagers called ICCN to help them release the captive monkey. Rangers were very happy to witness such good relations between the park and people, enabling them to help the captured monkey in the village of Kisoni.


On this picture Kataps and I at Mont Tshiaberimu


The health of the monkey was then monitored in Burusi (the entry point to the forest of Mount Tshiaberimu) and she was soon after released to join other blue monkeys, and is now starting to settle back in to the wild.


This act of collaboration between population and park has really pleased the authorities of the ICCN, the Director Norbert Mushenzi, expressed particular appreciation of the gesture by the community, especially following recent unfortunate events.


In my opinion these acts show the great ways communities have collaborated with the Gorilla Organization, in partnership with ICCN, since 1996 to help protect this part of the Virunga National Park, and offers great promise for the future.