Update: October 8th 2013
The Drill Project is pleased to report that our outreach campaign continues to bring the message of biodiversity conservation to the people of Bioko Island. Most recently we have reached the towns of Ruiche, Bocoricho, Belebu, Moka and Riaba. Educating these villages is absolutely crucial as they are the southernmost villages on the island and the ones closest to the bushmeat hunting and traffic as well as the wildlife itself.
Firstly, we would like to thank the incredible people behind this amazing effort. Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program’s Prospero Rivas and Gertudis Ribado with the help of the Universidad Nacional de Guinea Ecuatorial’s (UNGE) professor Faustino Anda. These individuals have taken on the incredible responsibility of spreading this grass roots campaign throughout their country.
We would also like to thank the the faculty at UNGE for providing us with all the necessary credentials and permits as well as transportation to the villages. UNGE is a driving force behind educating Equatorial Guinea, not only in the academic sense but also in its promotion of outreach efforts such as The Drill Project. For that, we are thankful and glad to continue our collaborative efforts in biodiversity conservation.
The outreach events consist of showing the film “El proyecto del mono dril” in a town center and following it up with questions, answers and a discussion with the locals. We have a generator, a laptop and a projector. Most importantly we have motivated Equato-Guineans who want to share their knowledge of biodiversity and their commitment of conservation with others.
People make their way from all over town to attend, many of whom coming straight from their farms. Even though our events are scheduled, getting people to sit down for a 40 minute long movie still proves to be a challenge, especially in the middle of cacao season.
By exhibiting the wildlife in the film, we show the people of the island the secret life of the forest and start a much needed dialogue. We can then discuss the importance of protecting endangered primates and biodiversity as a whole.
Through their inclusive approach, Prospero, Gertrudis and Faustino are able to host everyone in town including children, elders and even hunters. And by bringing a positive message to the village they are able to advocate positive change.
“A man who confessed that he is the best hunter in the village promised, in the presence of the other villagers, that he would stop his killing of monkeys.” Prospero Rivas
In their report on the outreach efforts, Prospero and Gertrudis say;
“We need to work in other places and continue with the promotion as long as we want people involved”
They offer suggestions to our outreach techniques such as the
” need to implement activities that involved the kids that attend the presentations, such as, painting, singing, poems ect..”
The Drill Project strongly believes in empowering local people to learn, discuss and advocate change in their own communities. We would also like to see more planning go into entrepreneurial development and business support with local communities to create sustainable ecotourism projects.
But first, we must make sure that the animals remain alive and not extinct. Earlier last week we received a photo from Bioko. Although the implications of this sign still remain unseen, it is undoubtedly, a move in the right direction.
The laws that ban the hunting, sale and consumption of endangered primates are already written and in place. They simply lack enforcement. The commercial trade is organized and the use of firearms on the island is strictly monitored. Therefore, a simple directive in the right direction can have a resounding effect on the bushmeat market. Until that happens, we must press on. We must spread the message any way we can. The Drills and other species of Bioko are in need of great stewards. There are none better than the very people of Bioko. We will do everything in our power to help them achieve this.
Written by Justin Jay. Report by Prospero Rivas and Gertrudis Ribado