The Alliance for Great Apes Conservation in Central Africa (A-GSAC), has put in place a three-year strategic plan for the conservation of great apes within the Central Africa Sub-Region. The strategic plan was elaborated, June 2 to 9, 2018 at the Moukalaba Doudou National Park, Gabon. Aimed at giving the alliance a clear sense of direction and focus within the next three years, the workshop brought together representatives of member organisations including the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) and Tropical Forest and Rural Development(TF-RD) from Cameroon, Protectrice des grands singes de la Moukalaba (PROGRAM) based in Gabon, MBOU MON TOUR (MMT) and Groupe d’Appui a la Conservation des Ecosystems de Basankusu et Bolomba (GACEBB) of D.R Congo, Endangered Species International (ESI) of Congo Brazzaville, and two staff, and a facilitator of A-GSAC.
To ensure the production of a more realistic and comprehensive strategic plan, participants were divided into two groups. With inspiration from the strength and weaknesses of member organisations, both groups developed a draft three year strategic plan for A-GSAC. The three year strategic plan was centered on some strategic axes including strengthening the organizational and institutional capacities of network members, sustainable financing, communication and cross-cutting conservation themes for member organisations like ecological/bio monitoring, scientific research, environmental education, ecotourism, and protected area management.
The workshop culminated into a General Assembly under the auspices of A-GSAC pioneer president, Louis Nkembi. Officially opening the GA, A-GSAC President, Louis Nkembi, thanked all participants for contributing in the development of the three-year strategic plan calling for more commitment in the realisation of the plan. He thanked IUCN PPI for financial support to the Alliance. He said his vision is that A-GSAC becomes a veritable institution that could eventually take on international organisations at the same competitive level in great apes conservation in the Central African Sub-Region. Meanwhile member organizations were implored to engage in creating partnerships with policy ministries of their home countries. Issues of elections were also handled. A-GSAC’s bi-laws was reviewed and the term of office for executives put at three years renewable once. Meanwhile fresh elections elections were slated for October 2018.
The workshop, was a great opportunity for organisations to learn best practices from one another other organizations. “I was inspired by ecotourism project of PROGRAM in Gabon and I am sure the experience learnt here will help us when establishing one in Cameroon. Also, ERuDeF’s concept of going beyond just financial partner to creating technical partners in Western countries was a great eye opener to our organization,” said Forpa Romeo, AGSAC’s Focal Point at Tropical Forest and Rural Development(TF-RD) in Cameroon.
To the Director of GACEBB, John Bolola, the workshop was an opportunity for him to understand different organizational systems. “I learnt a lot about organizational systems, planning and budgeting. This will help me proper financial planning and budget managements. It was also an avenue for me to understand better ways of engaging local communities in conservation initiative,” he added.
The Alliance for Great Apes Conservation in Central Africa (A-GSAC), is a consortium of some six Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) from countries within the Central African Sub-Region engaged in great apes conservation. It was created, April 2016, in the Democratic Republic of Congo with the principal objective of the Alliance of building the capacity of CSOs within the Congo Basin engaged in the conservation of great apes and their habitats, and or contributing significantly in the development of local communities adjacent to great apes habitats.
The Alliance is powered by the Small Initiative Programme (PPI) of the French Funds for the Environment (FFEM) under IUCN-PACO. Member organisations include ERuDeF & TF-RD of Cameroon, PROGRAM of Gabon, ESI of Congo Brazzaville, and GACEBB & MMT of Democratic Republic of Congo.
By B. Shancho Ndimuh