The area of Wamba just outside the Reserve’s northwest sector has experienced an increase in population which has put pressure on the fragile forest ecosystem. The communities surrounding Wamba have an interest in conservation and protecting the forest and requested the construction of a nursery to improve food security and to become involved in our agroforestry program. The nursery was completed earlier this year and is currently managed by Therese Bangbeto, the first woman to run one of OCP’s five nurseries.
Because of the addition of this 5th nursery, we can now contribute to improving food security in the communities in the northern part of the Reserve, and we expect by increasing crop yields to reduce the need for people to be involved in illegal activities to support their families. Under Therese’s guidance, this nursery, after starting all the seedlings from seeds collected locally, has already distributed 8,902 trees to 1,794 people through September. We have a goal of distributing 60,000 trees in 2018 from all five of our nurseries and it looks like we are on pace to hit our target later this year.
This year we were fortunate to receive funding to improve the infrastructure throughout the Reserve and OCP workers undertook an ambitious construction schedule – A new office for ICCN rangers at the Zunguluka guard post and an immigration checkpoint at the eastern boundary of the Reserve, a new internet space for ICCN rangers to provide regular communication to their counterparts in the field, rehabilitation of four additional water sources and constructing a much-needed office complex in Mambasa for our educators, agronomes and women’s group. The construction of the office complex was just completed. All it needs now is the solar lighting system installed and it’s ready to welcome our program staff!
The building was constructed on a plot of land owned by OCP and will provide office space and storage for OCP educators and agronomes and enclosed space for the Mombasa’s women’s group to meet and store their materials such as sewing machines, seeds and fabrics. Having this safe, dry and proper storage space will provide team members with a safe place to plan and conduct their programs and store all supplies. An additional benefit is OCP no longer will have pay to rent for office space in town.
This year has seen the completion of several large-scale projects to improve delivery of programs to protect the Okapi Wildlife Reserve. All of this is only possible because of the continued support from people like you. We thank you for your dedication to help protect okapi and their rainforest home!