Project information

Defending rainforest lives in Central Africa

To support forest communities in Central Africa to manage their own lands, according to their traditional knowledge and sustainable practices, as the most effective way to protect the rainforest and sustain their livelihoods. We support forest peoples to play a central role in conservation efforts

January 2018 - December 2018

Charity information: The Rainforest Foundation UK

The Rainforest Foundation UK logo
  • Need


    Protected areas in Congo Basin are run without respecting the rights of their inhabitants, even though they have sustained their livelihoods and preserved the environment with a non-destructive way of living and traditional knowledge. Most areas are created without consultation, displacing local people, restricting access to forest resources & intensifying poverty and marginalization. Once emptied of their traditional inhabitants, loggers and poachers have easier access and threat biodiversity


    Support local communities to participate in management of protected areas so these don’t violate their rights or hamper their livelihoods by: documenting the situation in at least 2 protected areas; training communities to understand & defend their rights & negotiate effectively with relevant actors such park managers and local authorities; advocating at national & international levels for sustainable conservation approach as protecting nature & defending people need to be sides of the same coin

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Rights of indigenous communities in conservation projects are upheld improving conservation outcomes


    » Document & expose scale of the problem: monitor violations to rights of local communities including impact to their livelihoods & disseminate findings
    » Propose solutions: create roadmaps to improve situation in protected areas. Recommend policy & legal reforms nationally & globally for broader change
    » Build capacity: train communities and local organisations on their rights, advocacy and negotiation skills and support them to push for change
    » Dialogue & advocacy: Multi-stakeholder meetings with gov, conservation NGOs, park managers & international orgs to promote a better conservation model

    What success will look like

    Donors, national authorities and park managers commit to a series of specific measures to protect human and community rights in protected areas

  • Impact


    New model of conservation is adopted in Congo Basin enabling local communities to: manage their traditional lands; sustain their livelihoods; participate in creation & management of protected areas; defend their rights & request redress when needed. This approach will protect rainforests more effectively. Success will be demonstrated by documenting indicators on tenure security, socioeconomic issues, participation & environmental outcomes (reduced deforestation, stability of animal populations)


    Lack of willingness to recognise community land rights because the state can exert stronger control over exclusionary protected areas. Project deals with this risk in two main ways: showing that community control is a cheaper & more effective way to achieve conservation outcomes as well as to alleviate poverty; Putting pressure on governments (by lobbying their supporters, mainly bilateral donors & international organisations, & through public exposure) to respect their human rights obligations


    Project update reports will be available at the end of every year and details of achievements will be communicated in our annual review and quarterly e-newsletter updates to donors

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £40,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £15,000 Community training Training of local communities on monitoring and defending human rights
      £15,000 Field work & advocacy Documenting the situation in protected areas, working with communities to design solution roadmaps,
      £10,000 Human Resources & Communicatio Project staff and cost of publications and online communications
  • Background


    Project will monitor human rights around protected areas in Republic of Congo and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). They house more than 60% of rainforest of Congo Basin (around 140 million ha), the second largest tropical forest in the world after the Amazon. This ecosystem is home to over 40 million people who are amongst the poorest on Earth & depend on forest resources. Congo Basin has unparalleled biodiversity & enormous cultural wealth with different ethnic groups, languages & tradition


    Project will work with indigenous hunter gatherers & Bantu communities living in or around protected areas in Republic of Congo & DRC. Communities that have suffered one or several of the following: physical or economic displacement from their traditional lands; restrictions to gathering, fishing or other subsistence activities; daily marginalisation & abuse. Local civil society organisations supporting these groups will also benefit through capacity building for more effective advocacy

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    RFUK has 25 years of experience in managing projects in tropical countries and this includes 18 years in the Congo Basin promoting community rights to land and resources and supporting community participation in forest governance. RFUK is also taking a leading role promoting a model for sustainable conservation in the region, underpinned by strong research and daily contact with target communities and local partner NGOs

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Maud Salber

    Policy Advisor: specialised in research and advocacy to promote policy and legal reform and promoting transparency in conservation initiatives

    Ines Ayari

    Project Coordinator: experienced in developing human rights monitoring tools, deploying them in the field & training partners in their implementation