Virunga National Park（https://www.virunga.org/）in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was established in 1925 as Africa’s first national park. Virunga is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to unparalleled biodiversity, including lions, elephants, and over half of the world’s last population of mountain gorillas. It is also one of the most dangerous and difficult Nature Reserve in the world: extreme poverty breeds rebel forces; the virgin forests of Virunga have been cut down to burn charcoal, the main source of income for rebel forces, and the violence they support has exacerbated poverty.
The Paradise International Foundation is planning to help the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo to establish a bamboo charcoal factory, as part of the foundation's broader efforts to help protect nature reserves in Africa. This project aims to encourage local people to plant bamboo and produce bamboo charcoal to replace fuelwood to combat the deforestation. On the one hand, the bamboo forest will slow down habitat loss. On the other hand, bamboo charcoal can replace the wood charcoal and the factory will create more employment opportunities for local people. It is promising that plentiful jobs will guide the people to put down guns and choose to improve their life quality via working and production.
|2017 – field surveys and project design.|
|2018 – Project design completed, production lines set, equipment purchased and delivered to site as Chinese charcoal experts advised;|
|May 2018 – Site selected in Virunga, plant being built and expected to complete by the end of the year;|
|The factory is expected to be in operation in March 2019.|