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Woman in Congo checking on garden

Community Development

The root cause of the bushmeat trade is extreme poverty.​ We work with communities living near bonobos to build a better future through conservation instead of the bushmeat trade. 

People-Oriented Conservation

The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the poorest nations in the world. In the area around Ekolo ya Bonobo Community Reserve, people lack access to basic necessities like food, education, and health care. ​Bonobos are primarily killed for bushmeat - for food. To save bonobos, we must address these needs.

Decades of rainforest conservation work around the world have taught us that comprehensive and lasting change depends on local community engagement and leadership. ​Investing in the communities of Ekolo ya Bonobo not only supports people and bonobos, it also supports many other species, the rainforest, and the planet. 

Mothers and children in the DR Congo

“Through your participation in the conservation of the bonobos, you not only protect them, you also contribute to the environmental, social, and economic development of the only country in the world where bonobos are found -- the DRC.”

Fanny Minesi, General Director, Amis des Bonobos du Congo

Making a Difference

Young boy learning about bonobos during an educational mission trip
In Education
  • School Buildings

  • Supplies – benches, desks, notebooks

  • Conservation education materials

Congolese child being treated by dentists
In Health
  • Dental Clinics

  • Women’s birthing center equipment

  • Medications for pharmacy

ecoguards transporting supplies in boat.
In Economic Development
  • Ecotourism

  • Jobs – 97% of our employees are Congolese

  • Agriculture Workshops – Best practices for crops and livestock   

Health clinic in the DR Congo
In Infrastructure
  • New community building

  • Medical clinic with electricity

Protecting Bonobos and the Rainforest

 Ekolo ya Bonobo Community Reserve is a public-private partnership (similar to a land trust) between the Province of Equateur, Friends of Bonobos, and local communities. With rainforest habitat in decline, reserves like Ekolo ya Bonobo are critical for ensuring that wild animals have a safe place to live. And local residents are critical partners in this conservation work. They help to protect and manage the forest and its resources to benefit both people and wildlife.


They say:

Community along river near Ekolo ya Bonobo Community Reserve

 “Bonobos are the only 100% Congolese ape. We are proud to contribute to their protection.”

You can provide education, health, and economic well-being for the guardians of this bonobo rainforest reserve.
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