A medicine boat helps raise eco awareness | Global Ideas | DW | 08.07.2014
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Global Ideas

A medicine boat helps raise eco awareness

The World Wildlife Fund is supporting a boat that brings medical care to communities along the Congo River and its tributaries. It helps gain the trust of locals and raise awareness for conservation issues.

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Project goal: promoting sustainable development, preserving biodiversity and protecting the forest

Size: The entire protected area stretches over 7,000 square kilometers

Investment: 2.5 million Euros within the framework of the International Climate Initiative (IKI)

The region between the Congo river and its tributaries Ngiri and Ubangi is home to a vast basin that fills up with water during the rainy season. The rainforest there is Central Africa’s largest water reservoir and contains incredible biological diversity. But in inhabited areas, the waters are almost completely overfished. The people here often fish with tight-meshed mosquito nets with the result that very small fish get caught up and are pulled out of the water. That’s decimated several fish species. It’s a similar story in the region’s forests, once home to herds of elephants, chimpanzees and other wild animals. Now, the rainforest has been placed under protection. But a growing population has made it difficult to crack down on hunting and push conservation. A project by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is taking an unusual approach to tackle the problem - a boat outfitted with a doctor and medical supplies travels along the Congo and the Ubangi and provides medical care for residents, gaining their trust. A team of environmental activists traveling on the boat builds on that goodwill and tries to sensitize the population about sustainable use of resources. It’s a win-win situation for both nature and humans.

A film by Jürgen Schneider




The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is facing allegations of human rights violations in Asia and Africa. There has been too little oversight of the human rights aspects of some WWF projects, according to an external investigation by consultancy firm Löning – Human Rights & Responsible Business, in May 2019. WWF International has contracted a British law firm to respond to these criticisms.

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