Environmental Education and Community Development in and Around Bossou
Researchers at Bossou and Nimba have undertaken several initiatives promoting chimpanzee conservation and environmental education. The local community education sessions have involved video screenings and the distribution of pamphlets, badges, and T-shirts, as well as informal discussions tackling issues such as human–chimpanzee resource competition. In July 2003, we conducted three campaigns across nine local villages. A questionnaire was used during the first and the third campaign sessions, aimed at evaluating the local peoples’ understanding of national and traditional laws (e.g., hunting laws and bushfire regulation), as well as about how best to react when confronted with a chimpanzee on a path or in a field. Since 2003, environmental education has become an integral aspect of the secondary school curriculum in Guinea. To contribute to this program, a bilingual book was produced for distribution in schools locally and nationally. This book provides children with a fictional but factual story about a young female chimpanzee. It touches on aspects of chimpanzee behavior, and addresses threats to fauna and flora in the region and the close interconnection between humans and nature. Our school outreach program has also involved classroom interventions and material aid, as well as the construction or maintenance of school buildings in several villages in and around Bossou. In addition, to sensitize the villagers to the threats of disease transmission, we have helped villagers construct latrines in the schools and in some districts of the village.
KeywordsEnvironmental Education Classroom Intervention Mural Painting Environmental Education Program Liberian Refugee
I wish to acknowledge the contributions of all KUPRI international members, especially Tetsuro Matsuzawa and Yukimaru Sugyama for setting the example, and Gen Yamakoshi, Dora Biro, Susana Carvalho, Nicolas Granier, Misato Hayashi, Kim Hockings, Kathelijne Koops, Laura Martinez, Gaku Ohashi, and Claudia Sousa for their engagement and help. We thank the staff of IREB, our local assistants, and the staff of UVODIZ, especially Soh Pletah Bonimy, and all the volunteer students and youths for their help and assistance. We would also like to acknowledge the support of all traditional and governmental authorities and women and youth associations that have helped us make environmental education and conservation initiatives a reality in and around Bossou. Finally, we are in particular grateful to GRASP-Japan (Great Apes Survival Project), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (Great Apes Conservation Fund), Conservation International (Primate Action Fund), the British Embassy in Guinea, and Houston Zoo for their financial support.