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Development project 14 of 16
Water Collection in DR Congo
Communities around the Virunga National Park, DR Congo
Mountain gorillas
Local Partner:   AIDE-Kivu

Water collection is one of the main reasons for trespassing into the Virunga National Park, DR Congo. This not only disturbs and pollutes the forest, having a negative effect on the critically endangered mountain gorillas, but can also hinder school attendance, as it is often children that collect water for their families. In 2004, the Gorilla Organization partnered with AIDE-Kivu (Appui aux Initiatives de Développement et Gestion de l’Environnement au Kivu) and began building water cisterns in the communities surrounding the national park. Cisterns measure between 25m3 and 38m3, are constructed alongside schools and churches to collect water from their roofs, and supply water for approximately eight months of the year.


The overall objective of the project is to provide clean drinking water for local communities surrounding the Virunga National Park, alleviating human pressure on the gorilla habitat. The specific objectives are: 

  • To construct water cisterns within local communities
  • To maintain and repair cisterns as necessary
  • To provide information and training on cistern management



To date, the Gorilla Organization and AIDE-Kivu have constructed a total of eight water cisterns in the communities surrounding the Virunga National Park, providing water for over 10,000 people. Some of the cisterns also became a lifeline for up to 1,000 internally displaced people affected by insecurity in DR Congo in 2008. Each cistern has a manager that is responsible for maintenance and overseeing water distribution, ensuring that the cisterns continue to work efficiently, benefiting as many people as possible. By the end of 2008, almost all of the cisterns were damaged due to the insecurity, so in 2009 the main priority is to carry out repairs and, if sufficient funding is available, more cisterns will be constructed.

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