RAS Nominee A Finalist for The Earthshot Prize
Posted on 30th September, 2021 in News
RAS’s nominee, The Pole Pole Foundation supports gorillas and the local community in the eastern DRC.
This time last year Prince William and David Attenborough launched the Earthshot Prize to help protect the planet and spur innovation in conservation and green enterprise. The Royal African Society was one of the nominating bodies, putting forward a number of projects in Africa for the prize.
In September this year the Earthshot Prize announced that one of our nominations – the Pole Pole Foundation – was among the finalists for the prize. The five winners of this year’s prize will be announced on 17 October. But already, the Pole Pole Foundation has achieved something remarkable. Over 700 nominations from across the whole world have been whittled down to the last 15 – three finalists for each of the five prizes – following a process of intense and professional scrutiny by the Earthshot Prize Committee.
So what makes the Pole Pole Foundation so special?
Operating in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and taking its name from the Swahili word for ‘slowly’ (pronounced ‘polay polay’), the Foundation was the inspiration of John Kahekwa. A local man, he was passionate about preserving the community of rare Grauer’s gorilla that live in the mountainous forests of the region. But he realised this could only be done with the cooperation of the community of humans that lived there too. Since 1992, the Foundation has pursued a gradual, pragmatic and remarkably successful programme of projects to preserve the forest habitat, protect the gorilla population and benefit the local community from tourism, agriculture and industry projects. The approach has been inspirational, due not just to John Kahekwa’s leadership but the commitment of the local community to its objectives. In a region beset by conflict and instability, the Pole Pole Foundation is making a difference to the earth’s future, setting an example many should follow.
So follow the Foundation on @POPOF_DRC, the Prize on @EarthshotPrize, as well as @RoyAfriSoc.