Strong Roots


Since 1998, PIC has worked with Congolese partners to help them identify and achieve solutions to local environmental issues by funding humanitartian and conservation initiatives. Achieving these goals requires close collaboration with several Congolese colleagues and organizations and PIC is proud to have clost, long-term relationships with people like Dominique Bikaba, executive director fo Strong Roots, who are working to benefit both people and wildlife.

Strong Roots, a grassroots, Congolese based non-governmental organization, works to protect the remaining Eastern lowland gorilla population in the Kahuzi-Biega National Park (KBNP) through community and education programs linked with alternative livelihood initiatives. Strong Roots’ unique conservation model helps local and indigenous communities work together with researchers and students to conserve the biodiversity of the local lands.

Strong Roots empowers local and indigenous communities by providing knowledge, tools, and the opportunities to create for themselves a sustainable way of life while also supporting KBNP’s (and surrounding forests’) long term preservation.

Why is protecting the KBNP so important?
The Congo Basin rainforest is the second largest tropical rainforest in the world, comprising 26% of the world's total tropical rainforest area. The largest part of the Congo Basin rainforest is located in the DRC and its is home to the endangered eastern lowland gorilla and many other incredible species. However, the forest shrinks by roughly 2.3 million acres each year, mostly due to human activities such as mining, poaching, and logging.

The people living in the communities adjacent to the forest suffer from extreme poverty and limited opportunities to make a livable, sustainable wage. As a result, these people turn to exploiting the forest - participating in the bushmeat trade, removing wood for fuel - just to reach a subsistence level of living. When this level of poverty is combined with the pressures of mining, illegal bushmeat trade, and the threats to climate change, the KBNP - and the eastern lowland gorillas that call it home - faces an uncertain future.