Congo Education Partners
The mission of Congo Education Partners (CEP) is to work with local communities in the Congo Basin rainforest to protect the rainforest, improve people’s lives, and fight climate change.
Successful rainforest conservation puts people first. That's why at CEP, we work with Djolu Technical College and local communities that know the rainforest best and depend on it for their livelihood. Together, we focus on:
- Local higher education that prepares college students to become teachers, leaders and change-makers in conservation and sustainable rural development
- Training programs that turn farmers into leaders in sustainable agriculture and forest conservation
- Developing college programs that prepare graduates to bring health care and sustainable development solutions to remote and impoverished areas of the rainforest.
- All in all, building projects that improve lives while helping protect rainforest and wildlife.
Rainforests are vital for the health of our planet and humanity, but every second, 1.5 acres of tropical forest are destroyed. The Congo Basin rainforest in Africa is the second largest rainforest in the world, after the Amazon, and nearly half of this forest is in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Tshuapa Province, where Djolu is located, is one of the most heavily forested and least developed parts of the DRC and includes all or part of five nature reserves. Successfully reconciling rainforest conservation and human needs in the region requires multiple strategies, and local access to higher education and training is fundamental to all of them.
Deforestation is considered the second major driver of climate change (more than the entire global transport sector.) The DRC’s rainforests cover an area larger than California and Texas combined, and forest loss in the DRC is a fraction of that in Brazil. However, Congo’s forests are increasingly threatened by wildlife poaching, unsustainable agriculture, logging, and population growth.
Together, CEP and Djolu Technical College have made it possible for nearly 100 students to graduate from the College. Most of these graduates are now working in conservation, education, sustainable agriculture and development, and public health. We have built, equipped and upgraded buildings at the College’s main campus and its agricultural extension station, including new classrooms and a computer center. We have provided scholarships for junior faculty members to obtain advanced training. Djolu’s agricultural extension station, established in 2015, has provided improved seeds, tools, and educational programs for local agricultural cooperatives representing more than 1000 farming households. Our plans for the near future include providing solar power for the College’s computer center, growing classroom capacity from 100 to 400 students annually, and continuing to work with local communities to improve people’s lives while helping protect rainforest and wildlife.
Ingrid Schulze, Executive Director of CEP, and Albert Lotana Lokasola, the founder of Djolu Technical College, have worked together in the Djolu area since 2006. Ingrid founded CEP in 2013. She is a conservationist and parent who believes that building the capacity of young people to save their forests and wildlife greatly multiplies the impact of international funding. Albert is a Congolese biologist who is the founder and president of Vie Sauvage, a Djolu area conservation and development organization. Since 2011, he also represents Djolu Territory in the DRC Parliament.