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Education project 3 of 4
Title
Great Apes Film Initiative
Location
Uganda and DR Congo
Gorillas
Mountain gorillas and eastern lowland gorillas
Local Partner:   GAFI
Description

To achieve its goal of securing the survival of the world’s last gorillas in the wild, the Gorilla Organization understands that it must engage local communities in conservation efforts. The majority of people living alongside the national parks know little about the gorillas and are not aware of the need to protect them and their forest homes. To raise awareness of all ape species and the environment in general, the Gorilla Organization partnered with the Great Apes Film Initiative (GAFI) in 2006 to screen wildlife documentaries in the communities surrounding gorilla habitat in DR Congo and Uganda.

The overall objective is to raise awareness of gorillas and the need to conserve them. The specific objectives are: 

 

  • To screen wildlife documentaries in the communities surrounding gorilla habitat
  • To hold discussions with local communities to raise awareness on apes, the environment, and conservation issues
  • To gain feedback on the documentaries and discussion sessions through questionnaires answered by participants

 

Progress

GAFI is an international NGO that aims to make wildlife documentaries about the great apes freely available to audiences in their countries of origin. The Gorilla Organization has been integrating GAFI into its education campaign since 2006, using six DVDs of BBC documentaries on great apes, while also incorporating footage of the gorillas filmed by the Gorilla Organization’s communications officer. Films are screened in schools, churches and community halls, after which discussions are held with the audiences to reinforce conservation messages and answer questions. Viewers then fill out questionnaires to give feedback on the films and how they have affected peoples’ attitudes towards the gorillas.

The documentaries are currently being shown in DR Congo and Uganda, with over 50,000 people having seen the films to date. The Gorilla Organization has yet to extend the project into Rwanda, but is hoping to do so when funds become available. The shows have proved incredibly popular, with demand for them increasing rapidly, and the project has had a great influence on peoples’ attitudes towards gorillas and the environment.

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