Africa Conservation Fund (ACF) is a UK-registered charity that was created in 2005 to help protect the fauna and flora of Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since then ACF has worked in close partnership with the Congolese Wildlife Authority ICCN to raise global awareness about Virunga and to solicit and secure funds to pay for improvements to the park’s wildlife protection systems and infrastructure. Today, because of that partnership, Virunga National Park as an institution is more efficient, credible and visible than at any other time in its history.
ACF’s approach integrates the needs of the local populations with those of conservation. One of ACF’s primary focuses is to address the energy crisis around Virunga National Park. Because of a lack of sustainable and affordable household fuels, the local population has been forced to cut down the forests of North Kivu. At the current rate of deforestation, the park and surrounding areas will be completely deforested within five years. The collapse of the household fuel market will likely lead to widespread malnutrition and even starvation for many of the 3,000,000 people living in the area. This collapse will also deepen the political unrest and armed conflict that already exists in the region.
To address this issue, ACF is introducing an alternative and sustainable household fuel source: non-woody biomass briquettes. Briquette production does not lead to deforestation and creates significant employment opportunities in the region. Furthermore, briquettes are a more economically accessible household fuel option than fuel wood or charcoal. Through the introduction of non-woody biomass briquettes, ACF has the potential to alleviate extreme poverty and hunger in North Kivu.
Non Governmental Organisation