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How GAFI Can Help Gorillas

Through the use of film, GAFI can reach the urban consumers that eat gorilla meat and give them a greater appreciation of what a gorilla is, their similarities to us, the peaceful lifestyles that they lead and the threats they face. GAFI can also reach the remote communities living adjacent to gorilla habitat to give them an insight into how gorillas behave when they are not threatened and solicit information about the peoples’ hopes and concerns for their environment.

GAFI has the materials and the expertise to further enhance the conservation education programmes run by the sanctuaries. By providing the sanctuaries with films and the necessary equipment, visitors will not only leave with an impression of captive gorillas but also with an impression of wild gorillas. When funds become available, GAFI hopes to train sanctuary staff in how to make their own films about issues of relevance to their particular sanctuary and the surrounding communities.

How GAFI Has Helped So Far


Together with Congo Brazzaville, Cameroon were the first recipients of GAFI films in Africa. With help from GRASP and financial support from Born Free Foundation and Nutshell Productions the legal and logistical difficulties were finally overcome and GAFI could launch its ambitious task of bringing great ape conservation live on the big screen. GAFI was received with much enthusiasm and the encouraging results led to the expansion of GAFI in other countries in Africa.

GAFI has sent films to:

Government - Ministers for the Environment at the Seven Nations Heads of State Summit in February 2005. The Ministers for Cameroon were enthralled to receive them and they personally signed the contract for broadcasting the films on national television. This coincided with the Summit and much local publicity was generated by the license to air donation.

Television Networks - GAFI also arranged to broadcast the films on National TV stations in Cameroon where they were to be shown 4 times a year for 5 years: SRTV (broadcaster) & CRTV (broadcaster).

GAFI Partners / Project in Cameroon

Limbe Wildlife Centre

Limbe wildlife centre is at the heart of primate conservation in Cameroon. Evolving from the trade in illegal species, LWC provides a sanctuary to chimpanzees and other primates lucky enough to be seized. The centre is open to the public and has active environmental awareness campaigns and education programs aimed at ensuring the survival of endangered species and their environments. The centre also provides a safe and informative area for members of the community to see and learn about primates and the important roles they play in ecosystems.

Limbe Wildlife Centre received DVD’s for their education and bushmeat outreach work. To date over 5000 hundred school children and community members have seen the films and it is hoped that the increase in exposure will result in a greater understanding of the importance of great ape conservation.

GAFI has supplied films for the education and outreach programme run at the centre and in 2005, donated a data projector to enable the education programme to become mobile and be taken out to the villages and shown in situ.

GAFI has supplied films for the education and outreach programme run at the centre and in 2005, donated a data projector to enable the education programme to become mobile and be taken out to the villages and shown in situ.

To this day LWC is still running an active education program; running weekly Nature’s Club meetings at the centre. These clubs have 50 registered students who attend weekly lectures, video presentations and field trips.

In addition the centre has active schools outreach programs visiting schools every fortnight. The schools are in the Mount Cameroon ecosystem and are too far from the LWC for the students to visit here, so the LWC visits them!

During these trips, LWC staff members register pupils, deliver lectures, hold interactive discussion groups, facilitate video presentations and at the end of each term, pay for all the students to visit the LWC. Each term new schools are selected and the Nature Club begins the outreach programs once more.

Another effective way to engage with community members is via roadtrips where team members hit the road for a few weeks and visit different villages around the Mount Cameroon region. This is an important time for LWC staff to interact with bush meat hunters, form hunters’ associations, and increase the reach of their conservation projects.

Cameroon Wildlife Aid Fund

The Cameroon Wildlife Aid Fund aims to ensure Cameroon’s primates have a healthy future. Working with the government, local communities and other ecological groups around the world, we hope to show people the amazing diversity of wildlife in Cameroon, and explain exactly how and why it should be protected. GAFI was happy to provide CWAF with a set of films to use in their environmental outreach programmes.


The Lebialem Hunters’ Beekeeping Initiative

The Lebialem Hunters’ Beekeeping Initiative (LHBI) is a locally-led multi-stakeholder partnership based in the Lebialem Highlands of Southwest Province, Cameroon. This initiative aims to facilitate lifestyle changes in those economically dependent on the unsustainable bushmeat trade by providing them with the necessary training and equipment to become beekeepers.GAFI hopes to help this innovative initiative by providing environmental education films and assisting with the production of bespoke films on the advantages of beekeeping.



The Environmental and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), was established in 1999. This organisation strives to protect both endangered wildlife and fragile ecosystems in Cameroon. Founded and based locally in the small town of Menji in Western Cameroon, ERuDeF has established itself as a local source of conservation expertise in both montane and the critically important rain forest biomes. ERuDeF have launched a Great Ape Conservation project that aims to highlight the plight of the critically endangered Cross river gorillas of which there are less than 300 individuals left.With a generous donation from the Ape Alliance, GAFI was able to send a library of films down to the EruDef in Cameroon. We look forward to receiving the first report from EruDef to find out how GAFI films have assisted this organisations in their various outreach activities.

Inspired by the initial success for GAFI, Defra and WSPA donated some funding to keep the project going for another 6 months. This money allowed a coordinator to work part time and gave sufficient funding for copies to 5 more ape range state countries to be able to receive GAFI films.



Congo-Brazzaville is home to gorillas and chimpanzees and played a pivot role in the early success of GAFI. Along with Cameroon, Congo-Brazzaville was the first country to receive GAFI films.

GAFI has sent films to:

Government - Ministers for the Environment at the Seven Nations Heads of State Summit in February 2005. The Ministers for Congo Brazzaville were enthralled to receive them and they personally signed the contract for broadcasting the films on national television. This coincided with the Summit and much local publicity was generated by the license to air donation.

Television Networks - The network Television Congo in Congo-Brazzaville received the films for airing 4 times per year for 5 years.

Democratic Republic of Congo

The DRC is unique as it is home to three of the world’s great ape species, a claim that can be offered by no other country in the world. However DRC is a volatile, difficult and sometimes dangerous country to operate in. The political background has been relatively stable up until 2008, with lapses in between election processes.

In recent years a major crisis broke out due to military-rebel clashes in Virunga National Park resulting in an estimated 250,000 people in losing their homes and living in desperate conditions. Clashes between rebel soldiers and the national army, fuelled by ethnic differences and the country’s vast mineral wealth, have lead to a major humanitarian and environmental disaster, and as food and water supplies run out and disease spreads, the gravity of the situation is escalating.

GAFI is very committed to operating in DRC, given the vulnerable status of the bonobos, gorillas and chimps which still exist there.

GAFI is operating at every level it can access in order to support conservation and protection measures alongside the restoration of habitat through economic incentives such as eco tourism.

GAFI has sent films to:

Government - GAFI played a pivotal role in instigating the screening of the films to DRC Ministers in government through a GRASP focal point and the Gorilla Organisation. It is hoped that President Kabila will receive the films once the ministers have watched them.

Television networks - GAFI distributed two sets of 6 films to national broadcast stations Mirador and CEBS in DRC. The films highlighted behaviour and threats to gorillas, chimps, bonobos and their habitats in Congo basin. Potentially 1-3 million viewers will view the films and each film will be shown four times for two years.

GAFI is operating at every level it can access in order to support conservation and protection measures alongside the restoration of habitat through economic incentives such as eco tourism.

GAFI Partners / Projects In DRC

IFAW Funding

With generous funding from IFAW, GAFI has been able to make a novel contribution to great ape conservation in the DRC. Thanks to IFAW funding, GAFI has been able to:


Distribute films to national broadcasters (see above)
Distribute films to a wide variety of conservation, education and training organizations and programmes. Through these partner organizations, GAFI is able to reach a variety of ages, remote regions and different levels of civil society. In total it is estimated that during these partnerships, at least 100 000 people will have access to these conservation films over the two year screening period.
Establish boat/river screenings along the Congo River. This unique approach enables GAFI to reach remote and isolated regions previously inaccessible for most NGOs.
Negotiate new titles of films from the BBC and French Broadcasters.
IFAW also provided funding for communities to be given DVD players enabling them to screen films in remote regions.

G4G Gearing Up For Gorillas - GAFI partner G4G works tirelessly to support rangers who frequently put their lives on the line in their fight to protect gorillas from poachers and civil war. At the same time a pedal powered cinema was delivered to G4G the threat from fighting factions within DRC was so dangerous that the screenings had to be postponed. These have now commenced and are contributing towards the prevention of further loss of habitat and murder of gorillas for bushmeat.

Lwiro - Provide the best possible care to orphaned primates in DRC, while working to ensure their protection in the wild. The Centre for the Rehabilitation for Primates for Lwiro was created in 2002 for two Congolese Institutions; Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) and the Centre de Recherché en Sciences Naturelles (CRSN). During the second war of DRC (1998-2004) the poaching increased frighteningly and they decided to give to the orphans a safe place to recover physically and physiologically. GAFI donated a pedal powered Cinema for the education programme which reaches more than 3.000 people per year. CRPL is also involve in the following activities:

Rescue, rehabilitation and planned reintroduction of confiscated wildlife
Conservation and environmental education
Community development, health and sanitation projects
Research programs and activities
Local and international tourism
Collaboration with local and international organizations

The Gorilla Organisation - The Gorilla Organisation in Kinshasa has a set of a GAFI library which is allocated purely for screening to officials and decision-makers, lobbying and press releases.

Defra - Thanks to funding from Defra, GAFI and GO organised the screening of conservation education films at various resource centers in the DRC and on riverboats crossing Lake Kivu between Goma and Bukavu. These films were shown to various members of communities from students to scouts, politicians, businessmen, tourists and priests. Where possible screenings resulted in a debate and questionnaires were filled out to assess the impact of the films and are used monitor the attitudes of the people watching the films. The scope of GAFI screenings were demonstrated when the president’s wife and key provincial ministers and religious leaders saw the films and expressed an interest to receive copies of the films. Discussions following the screenings highlighted key issues that need to be addressed in order to maximize conservation of great apes and their habitat in DRC.

The need for local films in local languages, featuring local people addressing current and regionally specific environmental issues.
The desire to make conservation films highlighting the rich biodiversity in the Mount Nyira and Lake Kivu area.
Increased range of GAFI screenings incorporating more schools, colleges and armed forces in Virunga National Park
Sufficient funding need to be secured in order to ensure GAFI has enough questionnaires and facilitators for each screening- this would increase the feedback and ensure that each and every voice is heard in the region
Acquisition of basic equipment need to run screenings (e.g. laptops, projectors and even white cloth for screens)


With the help of funding from Defra, GAFI was able to supply the WWF in DRC with a set of films. WWF have used GAFI films in schools and education awareness projects as well as using them to complement community based conservation programmes in DRC





With the help and advice of Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Gabon, GAFI has been able to support the conservation projects of a number of NGO’s in Gabon. Financial support was kindly given by Defra for the initial phases of these projects.

GAFI has sent films to:

Television - Radio et Television Gabonais for transmission 3 times for a year. Additional broadcast periods may be granted upon request to BBC

GAFI Partners / Projects in Gabon

The Wildlife Conservation Society

Has been working in Gabon since 1985 where it aims to protect the abundant biodiversity in the region that is being increasingly threatened by logging and fishing. WCS is also concerned with other issues that pose serious threats to wildlife and its habitats such as the commercialization of bushmeat and plans to extend mining activities in Gabon. WCS is also actively involved in supporting other organisations in Gabon to strengthen ecotourism opportunties. WCS uses GAFI films to complement their environmental outreach programmes.



In Minkebe National Park, Gabon, WWF mobile surveillance teams conducted anti-poaching operations in the park and in two adjacent logging concessions to reduce bushmeat hunting. WWF uses GAFI films as an additional resource in their outreach activities to promote great ape conservation.



Conseil National des Parcs Nationaux - GAFI has also provided films to this organisaton to include in their environmental awareness campaigns.

Mikongo rangers have also received GAFI films to help with their conservation education and training


GAFI has not yet been able to send films to government officials or television networks in Ghana however, with funding GAFI would be able to make this a reality.

GAFI Partners / Projects in Ghana

In Ghana, WWF are helping establish and manage protected forest areas to conserve chimpanzee populations. WWF have used GAFI films in schools and education awareness projects as well as using them to complement community based conservation programmes in Ghana.

Defra funding allowed GAFI to donate sets of films to Ghana for use with WWF on their conservation awareness projects.


GAFI has not yet been able to send films to government officials in Nigeria. however, with funding GAFI would be able to make this a reality.

Defra and WCS have been key to getting the GAFI screenings underway in Nigeria.

In Nigeria, GAFI has provided films to:

Television networks - Cross River State Television have aired the films on television and have requested an extension of the license period in order to transmit the films more often. This has been negotiated with the BBC and a license granted.

GAFI Partners / Projects in Nigeria

WCS Cross River Gorillas - GAFI raised funding to provide a pedal powered cinema to give to the Cross River Gorilla education programme in Nigeria.


The rainforest regions of Nigeria are widely recognized as biodiversity hotspots of global significance. The region is characterized by high species richness as well as numerous endemic species. WCS has worked with the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) to support biodiversity research throughout south-eastern Nigeria. In particular, WCS has been focusing on the Afi and Mbe Mountain chain which links with the Cross River National Park, forming a rich landscape that offers refuge for plant and animal diversity. WCS is taking the GAFI films into their conservation education projects and monitoring and reporting will take place as part of the projects.

Pandrillus and Nigerian Conservation Foundation have a set of GAFI films for their outreach activities.


GAFI has not yet been able to send films to government officials or television networks in Rwanda. however, with funding GAFI would be able to make this a reality.


Without Defra it would not have been possible to provide NGOs in Rwanda with GAFI films for their conservation work.



GAFI Partners / Projects in Rwanda

WWF - GAFI was able to send a set of films to WWF for their educationawareness projects and are awaiting feedback from the projects that have been run so far.

GO-Mount Tshiabirimu Conservation Project, Virunga National Park, North Sector. - In 2007/8 GAFI and GO held screenings at a number of schools in Rwanda. In total, 1150 children from 3 schools (2 primary and 1 secondary) watched the film “The Great Apes”.

Following discussions after the film, 179 school children completed semi-structured questionnaires which will be vital in determining future GAFI-GO screenings in Rwanda.

On the whole the film was incredibly well received with over 90% of the people answering questionnaires thoroughly enjoying the film and agreeing that the screening of environmental films promotes and inspires people to conserve biodiversity.

One of the most fantastic results of the screening is that 96% of the people answering questionnaires, responded with great interest to becoming involved in conservation projects in the area.


Defra came to the financial assistance of GAFI once again, and the Wildlife Conservation Society kindly took the lead in distributing GAFI films for screenings in Uganda. GAFI has not yet been able to send films to government officials in Uganda. however, with funding GAFI would be able to make this a reality.

GAFI has sent films to:

Television networks - Ugandan Television have been given GAFI films for transmission

GAFI Partners / Projects in Uganda

Wildlife Clubs of Uganda - In association with the Wildlife clubs of Uganda GAFI has implemented a hugely successful screening programme across South Uganda in the regions surrounding Kisoro Magahinga National Park and Ruhija Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. A strategic educational corridor has been created between the border of the Virunga Massif home to almost half of the Mountain Gorillas and Bwindi National Park where the remaining Mountain Gorillas live further North. Screenings have reached many different audiences, including over 200,000 school children in towns and remote areas, parents, farmers, local Batwa tribes, wildlife management centres, rangers, Ugandan army, politicians, media broadcasters, and the Ugandan Education Minister. As a result tens of thousands of trees have been planted, teenagers have become Young Ambassadors for Great Apes, additional wildlife clubs have been created. In addition a GAFI Schools Programme has linked 6 Ugandan schools with UK schools, whereby science equipment for environmental projects , school books, and other supporting material has been provided. The children have a pen pal scheme operating and write to each other every 4 months.

WCS are happy to use GAFI films to support their conservation work

Jane Goodall Institute – Ngamba Island – Uganda

JGI has accepted GAFI library for their outreach and educational projects.

Ngamba Island is truly a unique place, with an acre of excellent secondary forest habitat, this sanctuary and island centre provides a home for numerous orphaned and displaced chimpanzees where they can live out their days exhibiting normal behaviour and without the confines of cages. As part of the education and outreach of this centre, there are guided walks and tours where various members of the community can come and visit and learn about the conservation of great apes and their environments. School groups are routinely brought in the field centres and a new project is being developed to bring endangered species conservation to schools and communities that cannot reach the centre.

GAFI films are shown at various stages in the education activities and the numbers of viewers grows monthly. These films are especially important for programs where people cannot visit the centre and see great apes for themselves.

KasiisUNITE New Nature Foundation - GAFI raised funds to donate a pedal powered cinema to be shared amongst the three conservation organisations who will each use it on a rotation basis for their education outreach work.

Kibale Community Fuel Project - has requested and been given a set of GAFI films for their education programme especially supporting the chimpanzee education awareness project.

The centerpiece of the Kibale Community Fuel Wood Project’s education outreach will be a traveling movie show. As an international environmental treasure, Uganda’s national parks have been featured in numerous films. These educational films documenting will be shown through a simple projection device. This will allow large audiences to view films that have made their country famous. People whose only encounters with wildlife have been crop raiding will be afforded a new way to view nature. General East African nature films have been acquired, as well as two films focusing on apes, but we would really like to highlight apes more, as they are such key members of the Kibale ecosystem, and because their charisma (visible through film) could make a big difference in the way they are viewed by locals living around the park.

Together with the Kibale Community Wood Fuel project, GAFI has been screening conservation films in the Kibale National Park, Uganda and do far over 15000 people have seen the films in 2007/8. This number is sure to climb over the next year through active screenings and focus group sessions.

The Gorilla Organization - GAFI has been working alongside the Gorilla Organisation for many projects since its inception in 2005. In 2005/6 GO received copies of 7 BBC programmes in English in DVD format for use in Uganda as part of the Great Apes Film Initiative.

The GAFI concept was introduced to a group of influential people at a small reception in Kampala, where edited highlights were shown from the BBC programmes using a large screen digital projector.

Gorilla Organization’s Kampala staff , Operations Manager Joyce Kigozi and Logistician Patrice Basha, were also trained on how to set-up up the equipment and present the programmes.

The films were extremely well received by the guests and many suggestions were made as to where to go next.

One request, from the head of the Uganda Wildlife Authority, was to ask if the film “Cousins”, in particular, could be shown on public broadcast television in Uganda promoted through discussion slots, talk shows and news items.

After showing the films to the head of Wildlife Clubs of Uganda (WCU), one of east Africa’s oldest conservation organisations, with branches in most of the schools in Uganda, they agreed to use WCU to make inroads into the schools.

The first recipients of GAFI films were 200 children at the Speke Resort on Lake Victoria, followed by 80 children from five schools. The screening was held at the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre in Entebbe. Both events were a roaring success and as UWEC is one of the region’s busiest attractions for families and schools, the films have a massive audience. Both WCU and UWEC are keen to continue with GAFI projects into the future. Since the beginning of the GO-GAFI screenings in Uganda over 100000 people have seen films on the conservation of great apes and their environments.

Kibale and Kisoro

GAFI and GO had phenomenal success in Uganda in 2007/8, targeting the specific areas of Kibale and Kisoro which are adjacent to forests containing more than half of the remaining mountain gorillas.

An overwhelming number of people gathered in churches, schools and community centres to watch the films. Field challenges included, ever increasing fuel prices, very large attendance numbers without matching space to accommodate people- consequently the films had to be shown in shifts which resulted in long journeys back to towns/remote areas.

In addition due to lack of space, some people had to be turned away which was very frustrating and disappointing for them. Sadly 8 schools were unable to make screenings due to the distance they would have to travel to the screening venue and lack and expense of transport.

The most incredible testament of the desire of young children to watch GAFI films, and the tireless work of GO employees to ensure everyone had access to watch conservation films came from the Ndeego region. This area is extremely remote with very poor roads; nevertheless children from 6 different schools in the region had walked 20 miles to reach a very big community church suitable for screenings. Sadly the 1000 people who had walked for hours to attend a screening were denied access to any of the rooms as they were said to be for religious purposes only.

Thanks to the dedication of the staff and the patience of the children, screenings were held in shifts in a small room of the Ndeego Senior Secondary School. The available room could accommodate 50 people, so films were shown the whole day on repeat until every last person had seen the film.

However, despite all these challenges, in just 10 days, 9527 people had watched GAFI films, with 42 schools participating in the screenings and 200 questionnaires being completed. Feedback from the projects has provided us with exciting new opportunities for future work in Uganda and as usual our list of community based organisations interested in GAFI screenings grows monthly.

GAFI Future In Africa

Unfortunately the following countries have all lost their great ape populations and these amazing creatures are now extinct in: Gambia, Burkino Faso, Togo, Benin, and Zambia. Even though wild populations of great apes are no longer present in these regions, GAFI is more than happy to assist in conservation initiatives set up in these countries to prevent any further species extinctions and help protect remaining pockets of natural forests.

There are 10 more countries who have surviving populations of great apes in Africa and can be supported by GAFI films: Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Angola, CAR, Sudan and Burundi.


Without PASA sanctuaries and the environmental awareness campaigns linked to these organisations, countless populations of great apes would have been wiped out in Africa.


GAFI aims to support ALL PASA sanctuaries with education films on specific issues surrounding the areas and species of concern.

GAFI director Madelaine Westwood attended the PASA meeting in Sierra Leone and was overwhelmed both with the tireless work of these crucial organisations.

Who Else Is Helping?


Ape Alliance
IUCN Red List
Primate Info Net