The Gorilla Organization's 12-month partnership with the Body Shop Foundation has now drawn to an end, having made a real difference to the lives of thousands of families living in some of the poorest communities in the whole of Africa.
Back in December 2011, the Body Shop Foundation donated a one-off sum of £10,000 to support the Fuel Efficient Stoves Project for a period of one year. This project, which the Gorilla Organization runs alongside local partner AIDE-Kivu, is aimed towards easing the pressure being placed on the mountain gorilla habitat across eastern DR Congo.
By giving families living on the edge of the Virunga National Park the ability to make use of the innovative stoves, which use up to 70% less fuel than traditional wood-burning stoves, demand for illegal charcoal produced from the trees of the gorilla forest is reduced significantly. At the same time, families using these new stoves have more disposable income, while the time they would have used going into the forest to collect wood and charcoal can be put to better use, for instance for work or study.
Over the course of the past year 1,500 stoves were produced within the communities themselves, helping create and support jobs for local people. Of these, 200 stoves were sold while the remaining 1,300 were distributed free of charge, thereby benefiting thousands of people across the North Kivu province.
Celebrating the end of a successful partnership, Odrahn Jennings, Trusts and Statutory Grants Officer at the Gorilla Organization, says: "The Body Shop Foundation kindly funded this project which helps local people in Kivu Province, Democratic Republic of Congo to heat and cook in their homes more cleanly, efficiently, healthily and cheaply.
"The chief sustainable outcome is that fuel-efficient stoves mean less reliance on illegal wood for charcoal from the precious forest habitat of the endangered gorilla population. The Gorilla Organization and project partner AIDE Kivu are most grateful for this support, which not only aids the survival of the world's last remaining gorillas, but also helps local people towards self-sufficiency while educating them on conservation and environmental issues."
The Gorilla Organization will push ahead with the Fuel Efficient Stoves Project, with plans in place to distribute thousands more stoves to those families best-placed to protect the precious gorilla habitat. You can help give a family a fuel-efficient stove and so make a real difference in the battle to save the gorilla's natural habitat by making a donation here.