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Bio:

John Kahekwa – Pole Pole Foundation by Earthshot Prize

We were honored to invite John Kahekwa, Founder of the Pole Pole Foundation and finalist for the 2021 Earthshot Prize to speak to us about his innovative agricultural programs that protect the Congolese rainforest and its biodiversity.

John Kahekwa grew up among the endangered Eastern lowland gorillas of the DRC and always dreamed of working with them to help their populations survive. He believed that the fates of the gorillas and local people were bound together by the poverty and war surrounding Kahuzi-Biega National Park in the DRC. Since 1992, he has led the Pole Pole Foundation to try to solve the root causes of deforestation and poaching: poverty and hunger in local communities.

In this episode, John answers the question: Can innovative agricultural projects feed local people and protect endangered gorillas? Listen here!

Photo by The Earthshot Prize

Listen on:

SpotifyApple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, & where ever else you like to listen!

Episode Outline: 

  • [0.43] Audience Q&A
  • [5.44] John’s background
  • [8.02] An introduction to the Pole Pole Foundation and John’s inspiration for starting the foundation
  • [14.45] How are the local communities dependent on the resources of ecosystems around them?
  • [16.42] An introduction to the communities around the Kahuzi-Biega National Park and some of the programs run by the Pole Pole Foundation
  • [20.11] Successes and challenges of trying to implement agricultural projects
  • [23.39] Why is there a focus on spirulina?
  • [27.13] How does the Pole Pole Foundation encourage communities to make these agricultural shifts to more exotic crops?
  • [32.30] How has the population of the gorillas changed since the start of the Pole Pole Foundation?
  • [35.57] What lessons can other organizations or conservationists learn from your work about how to improve community livelihoods and biodiversity through sustainable agriculture?
  • [39.21] Where can listeners learn more about the Pole Pole Foundation?
  • [40.12] What keeps John fighting for biodiversity?
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