We are thrilled to announce the official accreditation of the Djolu Technical College for Conservation and Rural Development! The decree was issued by the DRC Ministry of Higher Education in recognition of the quality of education provided by the college.
Djolu Technical College is a powerful example of the close relationship that exists between bonobos and their human neighbors. At BCI, our mission is to save bonobos and their natural habitat. This important work cannot be done without the commitment and leadership of those who care most about the Congo rainforest: the Congolese people who live there, too. In Kokolopori, our pilot community-based reserve, residents became very inspired by the bonobos and invested in the fight to save them from extinction. In order to achieve their goals, residents needed an opportunity to receive a comprehensive education in conservation and related fields.
Established by BCI and local partner Vie Sauvage, together with the people of the Djolu territory, the college trains the next generation of Congolese conservation leaders. The only institution of higher learning within a 40,000 square mile region, Djolu Technical College offers courses in natural resource management, sustainable agriculture, and micro-enterprise development.
Beyond the specific courses, Djolu Technical College offers something even greater: a brighter future for the Congo. “Our students are thirsty not only for technical knowledge and management skills, but also for the chance to rebuild hope for the future of their villages, and protect the biodiversity of their rainforest.” –Albert Lokasola, president of Vie Sauvage and co-founder of Djolu Technical College
Graduates of Djolu Technical College are already making a positive and meaningful impact. Beatrice Mpako, the first female graduate (in 2007), is now the Assistant Administrator for the entire Boende district, which is comprised of Djolu and other territories. Others have gone on to work for BCI, other NGOs and enterprises—or have started their own businesses. We are proud of our students and their accomplishments, and we are proud of the Djolu Technical College community for reaching their accreditation goal.
Accreditation is a vital milestone, however the work at Djolu has only just begun. Currently, the passion and dedication to learning at Djolu far outstrip the infrastructure of the school. The community has donated land to expand classroom space and students are pressing bricks themselves as part of a work-study program. Support is needed to update the library, as well as computer and internet facilities. In addition, we are actively seeking partnership with a sister college in the USA or Europe and support to establish an endowment fund for the college.
Please donate today to educate the conservation leaders of tomorrow.
Sending congratulations to the Djolu community, and thanks for your continued support!
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