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Building the Future Democratic Republic of the Congo through Sustainable Tourism Development

photo of Neema Namadamu

Started by: Neema

Related Project:

Building the Future Democratic Republic of the Congo through Sustainable Tourism Development


Building the Future Democratic Republic of the Congo through Sustainable Tourism Development

This project seeks to support the intent of grassroots leaders to establish a demonstration project for sustainable tourism in South Kivu Province. If successful, this model can be rolled out in other provinces in the DRC building on the successes and collaborative relationships developed. Enabling grassroots Congolese leaders to build the future DRC through sustainable tourism can provide many building blocks for peace and help to build national pride in the cultures and fauna and flora of this majestic country. Opportunities include:

  • Bringing the people of the DRC together around a shared vision, building reconciliation and peace;
  • Providing a sustainable source of income generation for Congolese people;
  • Increasing self-esteem and sense of value for the people of the DRC living in and around the forests through alternative livelihoods;
  • Sharing knowledge of the value of the DRC’s natural and cultural heritage, human rights, and the Rights of Nature;
  • Conserving the rainforest and promoting its value proposition;
  • Protecting the flora and fauna of the rainforest and their habitat, including endemic and endangered species;
  • Raising awareness of the global community in regard to environmental and human rights issues, bringing attention to what is happening in the DRC;
  • Attracting resources for the development of basic services such as roads, communications, education, and medical supplies and services through tourism.

This is an initiative that will:

  • Conduct a rapid tourism assessment that aims to identify linkages between communities, tourism and conservation,
  • Assess demand for sustainable tourism products and services,
  • Raise awareness of local leaders about sustainable tourism through exchanges with indigenous tourism leaders from Africa and other continents, such as South America,
  • Develop a collective vision for how sustainable tourism can be used to improve the quality of life in the South Kivu Province, and
  • Formulate an action plan for how local communities can participate in, and benefit from, tourism in the near-term and medium-term.

These complementary components of work will be implemented through a phased approach that seeks to create a demonstration project for possible implementation in other areas. This holistic and bottom-up approach will ensure that sustainable tourism evolves as a key driver of change in the DRC.

Reasons for working in this topic, project or business:

As a Congolese grassroots leader for change in the DRC, I have begun to look seriously at how sustainable tourism can be used to bring people together around a shared vision, provide non-extractive and sustainable jobs, and enhance community well-being over time.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is one of the most isolated parts of the world. It contains the world’s second largest rainforest, a global asset that helps protect the planet from climate change. It also contains a wealth and rich diversity of intangible and tangible cultural heritage with hundreds of ethnic groups. Given the DRC’s early stage of development, there is an opportunity to do things differently and more sustainably in building the vision of the New DRC. That vision needs to be built from the bottom up, respecting the rights of DRC’s indigenous communities to create the conditions that will contribute to peace building and enhance well-being of the Congolese people while at the same time ensuring protection of our environment, land, resources, and cultural-heritage.

Root causes of the problems in this field and main barriers:

Insecurity in East Congo is a main obstacle

Suggested best local solution for this topic:

It is believed that such forward thinking projects present a different future for Congolese authorities and locals to get behind and support. And such proposals add an international demand element on Peace.

As well, such projects create local jobs (an alternative to joining conflicts) and internationally esteem indigenous community ways and practices (such as ceremonies, medicinal wisdoms, and artisan activities).

Such projects also esteem protection of the environment and demonstrate the virgin value of the rich bio-diversity of Congo's forest areas, and identify and promote preservation of historic and heritage destinations.

Such projects also insist upon a certain measure of infrastructure improvement, but also insist such development be green in nature.

Suggested best global solution for this topic:

According to the Travel section of the New York Times, the Democratic Republic of Congo's neighbor, the Republic of Congo, is one of the top 40 destinations in the world for 2013: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/01/10/travel/2013-places-to-go.html?ref=travel.

And what is the draw? “Luxury safari camps in the Odzala-Kokoua National Park. African safari aficionados are thrilled at the prospect of comfortable designer digs in the heart of the Congo Basin, the world’s second-largest tropical rain forest, home to forest elephants and Africa’s densest population of western lowland gorillas. Another reason …is to meet members of the indigenous B’Aka Pygmy tribes who often serve as gorilla trackers. “It’s not an easy trip but it’s an incredible privilege to experience the Republic of the Congo’s unique wildlife and cultural opportunities,” she wrote in an e-mail. — Gisela Williams


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