The scoping trip to Bas-Congo has three objectives.
1. Establish partnerships: To work with Songa Nzila and Salvation Army DRC to a) build foundations for strong working partnership; b) understand partners technical, operational and financial capacity; c) Discuss partner roles.
2. Project collaborations and working with government: To ensure the project approach takes into account government priorities, and determine whether the Faculty of Sciences at Kinshasa University could contribute to the project.
3. Project context: To enhance Bioclimate’s understanding of the social and environmental context in the Madimba territory.
Work prior to award
Songa Nzila has been working with communities in the Madimba territory of Kongo-Central since 2009. Between 2002 and 2008 the director (Augustin Konda), worked closely with Salvation Army’s Paul Latham documenting forest products and livelihoods in Kongo-Central. Mike Riddell (Bioclimate) began discussing this project with Paul Latham in 2008, with common research interests linked to Mike’s work on NTFPs and livelihoods in Congo-Brazzaville. In early 2015 Bioclimate supported Songa Nzila in the design of the logframe for their Caterpillar production for biodiversity, food security and livelihood improvement in central Kongo pilot project for which funding has been provided by Salvation Army DRC. In late 2015 Bioclimate developed a successful stage 1 Darwin application that would build on this work, and Songo Nzila has piloted activities on the ground.
Work during the award
Activities to meet objective 1 will include two one-day workshops with Songa Nzila and Salvation Army DRC, prior and after the field visit. There will also be meetings with different staff members including staff responsible for operations and finances.
Activities to meet objective 2 (collaborations) will predominantly include meetings with relevant Ministries (eg. Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism, who are the contact point for CBD for DRC), and meeting with the Faculty of Science from Kinshasa University to understand their research interests and links with the project. We will also meet with other environmental conservation NGOs active in Kongo Central (e.g. FFI; WWF-DRC; ICCN).
The activities to meet objective 3 (project context) aim to understand what biodiversity surveys already exist for Madimba territory, an assessment of the current pilot project, and an improved understanding of the structure, organisation and land tenure system within communities in the Madimba territory. Specific activities include:
i) Visits to the pilot project activities: tree nurseries, experimental plots for the reintroduction of Cirina Forda (Pallid Emperor Moth), regenerating fallow areas (Nkunku) and existing forest areas with potential for community-led protection and management.
ii) Meetings with village authorities, traditional leaders, community-based organisations and associations.
iii) Focus group discussions with farmers (men and women), and users of existing edible caterpillar populations to understand the agriculture-forest dynamic and challenges from their perspective.
Prior to the field visit Bioclimate will also continue to research past biodiversity research completed in this area through desk-based study.
For evidence of support of the scoping assignment from Salvation Army DRC and Songa Nzila please refer to the two letters attached.