Neighbor Ape

Our organization strives to conserve the habitat of wild chimpanzees in southeastern Senegal, to protect the chimpanzees themselves, and to provide for the wellbeing of the Senegalese people who have traditionally lived in the area alongside these chimpanzees. Our goal is to promote sustainable conservation practices that take into account the needs of local humans, in part by providing assistance to the people of the various local villages in the region.
Jun 30, 2015

Education & Conservation Update in Senegal

Chimps drink at a mining excavation.
Chimps drink at a mining excavation.

The school year in Senegal has just wrapped up, and students have finished their exams and are off on "vacance" until next October. The OBARAR dormitory housed about 15 students, fewer than last year, but a good number nonetheless. We are hoping to have more students in the dorm next year again.

In terms of our education projects, we again contributed a year's worth of supplies to the village of Djendji's school. This has been one of our longest traditions at Neighbor Ape, and it is fitting that Djendji is also the village that the chimpanzees in the area have been living near for the longest period of time - Djendji village was established over 100 years ago. 

Neighbor Ape continues to support Kedougou area children in various schools in the area, including covering the room and board for several students at the OBARAR dormitory. These students come from Kedougou as well as the Fongoli area, including the Bassari village of Petit Oubadji. We also help fund girls who attend a private school in Tambacounda as well as a young boy attending school in Dakar. 

Finally, we hope to reinstate our conservation-education workshops in late 2015 or in 2016. In discussions with the local branch of the Forestry Department of Senegal, we have made plans to further our reach in terms of our 3-pronged approach to educating people about chimpanzees. After an informational presentation by Project Manager Dondo Kante, he returns and has informal conversations with villagers over tea (Dondo drinks lots of tea at this time!) and, ultimately, he returns to give a more conservation-oriented presentation. He stresses the fact that many of the problems chimpanzees face are the same ones local people also face, such as health concerns brought about by the use of mercury in gold mining (see photo of Fongoli chimps drinking at a mining site where water has collected during the dry season when water is scarce) and forest destruction (see photo of Fongoli chimps examining a logger's camp). 

With the generous gifts of donors, we are secure in being able to continue our education-related programs, which also serve to assist in our efforts to conserve chimpanzees in Senegal. 

Fongoli chimps examine tree cut for boards.
Fongoli chimps examine tree cut for boards.
Jan 12, 2015

New Year Wishes from Senegal!

Sponsored student (Nadege) with parents
Sponsored student (Nadege) with parents

Celebrating the New Year is a big event in Senegal, and it looks like this year will be a great one for Neighbor Ape because of wonderful donors and the amazing people that we work with!

With the new dormitory up and running, Neighbor Ape is thinking about future projects - perhaps the dispensary in Djendji village can be established this year! But, we are also happy to say that we are supporting more students than ever - in various venues!

We support relatively few students, but we try to afford particular students some of the best opportunities available to them in terms of education. This year, we are supporting returning students in Kedougou public high school (Allamouta) and private schools (Nadege, Alex), a private Tambacounda boarding school for young women (Katherine, Natalie), and a Dakar elementary school (Phillipe). We are also supporting three students that live in Bandafassi village at the OBARAR dormitory that Neighbor Ape helped build so that they can live in Kedougou and attend school there.

Even though public school is technically free in Senegal, most students cannot afford school supplies or boarding if they live outside of towns like Kedougou, and schools in towns are significantly better in terms of the quality of education in most circumstances. Neighbor Ape helps offset costs for children attending public schools and helps pay school fees for students attending private schools. We've also visited these various schools and are happy to report that all of our students are often involved in working on homework at times when we've made home visits! (Though they might not be as happy about that!)

We would like to again thank all our donors and wish everyone the best for the New Year - we hope that 2015 will bring some exciting developments all around!

Sep 9, 2014

Dormitory is complete!

Girls
Girls' & boys' residences at the dormitory

All of us at Neighbor Ape are thrilled to announce that the dormitory for village children, built in conjunction with the Senegalese organization OBARAR, is now open to students! 

Students were able to move into the dorm late last spring, and they finished their school year there. Most of these children are Beudick, from the village of Thiobo and other nearby villages.

Several Bassari children from Djendji-Bassari (also called Petit Oubadji) also live in the OBARAR dormitory and receive funding for their room and board via Neighbor Ape.

While the dorm is functional, several buildings are in the process of being finished, including a visitor's room and an extra chaperone room so that the dorm houses both a male and female house parent.

This project stems largely from the very generous donation of Drs. Jewel Slesnick and Harold Marder, but numerous smaller contributions to Neighbor Ape made such a feat possible!

Continued funding of schoolchildren that live within the Fongoli chimpanzees' home range means that good relations are maintained in our efforts to conserve these endangered great apes in addition to the equally important goal of enabling rural children to receive the best possible education. 

We plan on having a grand opening in October for the upcoming school year, and we are now going to be raising funds to complete the dispensary on site at the dormitory.

Thank you again for all your support!

Showers & toilets (very important!) at the dorm
Showers & toilets (very important!) at the dorm
Rooms for the dormitory chaperones (& the well)
Rooms for the dormitory chaperones (& the well)
Visitors
Visitors' rooms & kitchen are almost done
 
   

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