All around the park you’ll find 70 villages. Some just consist of a few huts, others of a couple of thousand inhabitants, with shops and schools. Odzala means “home” to around 80.000 people. The women cultivate corn and cassava on the fields, in certain villages in the north coffee and cocoa, too. What the families don’t need for themselves is sold on the market.
The people in Odzala are not any better or smarter than anywhere else in the world. But after all they do live in a special place. Especially beautiful, especially alive, especially important: Odzala is part of the second largest coherent rainforest on earth. Hence this piece of Africa has a significant impact on our global climate, and the existence of all life.
Odzala needs more strongly committed supporters all over the world applying themselves for Odzala. It needs actions that turn the attention towards Odzala, interest in the local people, but mostly donations. The projects of the Odzala Foundation cost money: Community work and training are investments in the future that will surely pay off – but first, they need to be paid for.
It’s important for change not to be forced upon from the outside, but rather sustained by the communities. Only then development projects can succeed. To sit down at a table altogether – that’s already a great achievement for the people of Odzala. To participate, to codetermine, and to effect change.
What makes the men and women of the villages of Odzala want to cooperate? Change needs to mean improvement, and a concrete one as such: A steady employment with which one’s family can be nourished. Apprenticeships, support from trade businesses and industry. Schools for all kids, enough teachers and teaching material.
The protection and conservation of the national park is creating concrete employment, and herewith a sustainable positive development. Solely the park management creates 250 jobs, as Eco-Guard, tracker, or in the administration. In addition to this, schools and humanitarian projects offer employment possibilities. This investment of the Odzala Foundation will pay off. Apprenticeships and job offers are the only long-term alternatives to poaching and uncontrolled deforestation. The Odzala Foundation offers support for the development of these alternatives, to allow the people of Odzala to grow strong enough to protect the rainforest and its inhabitants. And to preserve the air that we all need to breathe!