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Development project 2 of 16
Support for Local Rwandan Artists
Communities around the Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Mountain gorillas
Local Partner:   MEA

Reducing the poverty experienced by families living alongside the Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda decreases reliance on the forest resources and contributes towards a secure future for the gorillas and their habitat. The Gorilla Organization partnered with Magasin Equatorial des Arts (MEA) in 1997 to promote the production of environmentally-themed works of art and handicrafts, which not only raise awareness on the gorillas and their habitat, but also help to generate profit through sales. The project also involves a youth training scheme, which supports orphans through training in art and craft production.

The overall objective of the project is to reduce poverty and foster a positive attitude towards the environment in the communities surrounding the Volcanoes National Park. The specific objectives are:

  • To produce and sell environmentally-themed art and handicrafts
  • To train youths in art and craft production



Since 1997, MEA has been producing crafts in a workshop located within the Gorilla Organization’s Ruhengeri Resource Centre. The pieces produced - which reflect the local environment and particularly the gorillas -  are sold through the resource centre, helping to generate profit and alleviate poverty. MEA also takes on commissions for various other works of art. Gorilla statues are amongst their most successful and well-known artworks, and are placed in prominent positions, such as alongside busy roads where they will be seen by many people and therefore have maximum impact.  Having previously been involved in youth training, in 2006 MEA were supported to continue this by training orphans in art and craft production. To date, 43 youths have completed the training programme and 15 have enrolled to become full-time members of MEA.

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