The completed office and storeroom in Mambasa
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 in early 2018 and is currently managed by Therese Bangbeto, the first woman to run one of our 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 allowed us to surpass our goal of distributing over 60,000 tree seedlings in 2018!
In the town of Mambasa, we constructed an office building and storage space for our educators, agronomes and the local women’s group. The building was constructed on a plot of land owned by OCP and provides office space and storage for our educators and agronomes and an enclosed space for the Mambasa 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 suitable place to plan and conduct their programs and store all supplies. It is important that the seeds for our agroforestry program have a cool, dry space in order to be banked and distributed to local farmers in the future.
In 2018, our agronomes also distributed over 5,300 kg of rice, 250 kg of beans and almost 2,000 kg of peanuts to farmers joining our agroforestry program around the Reserve. Our agroforestry program has proven results by increasing farmers' crop yields through natural fertilizers allowing farmers to lengthen the life of the soil and avoid cutting new plots of land destroying critical okapi habitat.
Twenty-eighteen was filled with ambitious goals of strengthening infrastructure and reach to new communities and this year we hope to achieve the same. Together with your support, we can ensure okapi and communities have a safe place to live for generations. Thank you!
A happy Biakato Farmer with cabbage harvest
Seed distribution in Biakato