Women’s Group Building Construction in Epulu Nears Completion

Original workspace for the MARFO Women’s Group in Epulu. Their work was subject to the weather and it was difficult to store materials safely.

After the success of completing the MARFO Women’s Group center in Mambasa, we moved forward with constructing a new center in Epulu. The center gives the women’s group a secure place to store their supplies without any concerns of material damage. Previously, the women’s group would meet outside, leaving their meetings conditional on the weather. After the construction of the center in Mambasa, there has been growing anticipation for centers in each of the five villages in and around the Reserve where our women;s groups are located. We are excited to be nearing completion of our second building and we hope to continue providing women’s centers in each of the villages as funding is available.

Initial construction on the MARFO Women’s Center.

The Women’s Groups have been working hard to develop their micro-enterprises, even adapting to the conditions of the pandemic by sewing face masks that they provide at minimal cost to their communities. Aside from providing economic empowerment, this enterprise also provides social capital, giving these women a larger voice within their communities.

The MARFO Women’s center in Epulu will also host the town’s new radio broadcasting studio. Radio broadcasts have become an integral component of OCP’s work, as we have seen incredible results from our previous initiatives. Radio broadcasting is the primary form of communication across the vast remote areas of the Reserve, and our education team strives to provide information not only on the environment and wildlife protection – but critical news on the pandemic and security of the region. This World Okapi Day, since we could not celebrate with large, in-person celebrations, we utilized radio broadcasting as a way to share the holiday across the Reserve. This endeavor turned out to be an overwhelming success, with listeners giving us lots of positive feedback. The new studio will provide the education team with the proper space and equipment needed to provide the exceptional content they are already creating with high production quality.

Roof construction completed on MARFO Women’s Center.