The pedal powered cinema will be an absolute boon to Virunga National Park, DR Congo. A cinema kit was delivered to Rumangabo, Park HQ, in March 2012.
Apart from being home to around a third of the world’s critically endangered mountain gorillas, Virunga is probably the biologically diverse National Park in Africa and is a ‘World Heritage Site, in Danger’. The rangers of Virunga work tirelessly to protect the wildlife of Virunga and are committed to finding means to raise awareness and understanding amongst the youngsters that live in and around the Park.
The communities living around Virunga have no electricity and the children, nor their extended families, will have ever seen a film. The pedal powered cinema is predicted to screen conservation films to over 75,000 children in over 100 of these remote schools during it’s first year alone. The rangers aim to follow up these screenings with talks and guided educational sessions throughout Virunga NP, Africa’s oldest National Park. The number of extended family members who crowd around to take a look at the films through windows and doors would numbers in the 100’s of thousands over time.
Virunga will be making their own specific films focusing on the issues affecting the future of the Park such as poaching and the illegal charcoal trade. The pedal powered cinema provides the perfect means to take positive conservation messages out to remote and isolated communities. It’s also fun and interactive, with children hopping on and off the bike that powers the screenings.
From having no effective means to communicate with the thousands of children and communities of Virunga, the rangers now have a simple, fun and very practical means of encouraging a much increased awareness and understanding of Virunga. That can only lead to much better informed and caring communities who understand that protecting the Parks habitats and wildlife will bring benefits to them both now aqnd long into the future.
After the first film screening at Rumangabo school (with 721 children) the pedal powered cinema was described by Park staff as ‘an awesome piece of kit’. A better endorsement would be hard to find……
Chair, Gearing Up 4 Gorillas