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Construction of health centres in the villages of Sambwankoy and Mangilombe: social progress in support of conservation in the Salonga National Park

June 22, 2020
Construction of health centres in the villages of Sambwankoy and Mangilombe: social progress in support of conservation in the Salonga National Park

In many villages around Salonga National Park, life is often very difficult for the local people as basic services such as schools and health clinics are located at great distances.

Mangilombe and Sambwankoy are two villages located respectively 110 km and 70 km from the Park’s headquarter in Monkoto and are inhabited by an indigenous community of the Salonga region.

The CAFEC project implemented by WWF-DRC and funded by USAID built two modern health centres in these two villages which were handed over to the communities last March.

Bofoma Bompata is the chief of the village of Sambwankoy. He is touched by the construction of the new dispensary: “Before the construction of the health centre, people had to travel 60 km away to Wafania for a treatment”.

He adds: “We could not have imagined that one day such a health centre would be built in the village. At first, we could not believe this would come true, but the park seemed really keen to make this project a reality. When I gathered the villagers and had a discussion with them, the community enthusiastically decided to allocate land for the construction of the centre”.

Bokoko Bontolo Olivier is the chief of Mangilombe. He also expresses his feelings with emotion: “We are very grateful to the Park and its partners for showing us respect and building this health centre”.

The two health centres built in October 2019 were handed over to the communities last March in Monkoto in a small ceremony due to restrictions in the Covid-19 crisis in terms of public gatherings.

Harmonizing local development and biodiversity conservation by supporting various initiatives that contribute to the well-being of local populations is thus the choice made by the Salonga National Park.

Hence, initiatives of this type have the effect of bringing the community closer to the Park, as Mr. Bokoko rightly points out: “The park authorities did not demand anything in exchange from our side. Therefore, we now naturally consider ourselves as the protectors of the park and are committed to helping defend it against poaching”.

A view of the equipments handed over to the communities

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