The African Community Enterprise (ACE) is a division of the Bonobo Conservation Initiative (BCI) and is primarily focused on sustainable economic development in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). After years of conservation SingÃisi Project team celebrates proposal for the new pottery centre.and research work in the Congo, BCI has determined that for conservation to be successful, the humanitarian and economic needs of local communities must be addressed. ACE's mission is to enable livelihood development in the Congo and neighboring countries to facilitate conservation, education, and health initiatives critical to the indigenous people. Initiatives include, but are not limited to micro-loan programs, non-exploitive agricultural programs, skills training, and business development.
A Philosophy of Partnership
The ACE philosophy is to partner with people at the grassroots to mobilize them towards self-reliance. ACE promotes leadership at the local level, and helps to empower people to discover their own vision, create their own solutions and work together to achieve their own successes. ACE helps to identify, develop, raise funds for, and manage practical projects run by local organizations and indigenous peoples. In addition, ACE works with other like-minded organizations to share knowledge, experiences and resources in support of Congolese and pan-African humanitarian and economic efforts.
ACE in the Congo
The majority of ACE initiatives are centered in BCI's focal region, the Cuvette Centrale of the Congo Basin. This region is south of the arc of the Congo River in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Political instability and armed conflict have thrown the DRC into economic collapse and have significantly reduced income generating opportunities for this region. Export farming businesses have retreated from this vicinity, leaving no markets or infrastructure to grow and distribute agricultural products fundamental to social and economic prosperity. ACE is providing the vision, resources, and tools to enable the local people to satisfy their humanitarian and economic needs—while at the same time, protecting the environment.
Most ACE programs are being implemented within the context of the Bonobo Peace Forest. The Bonobo Peace Forest is a growing network of linked community-based nature reserves and sustainable development zones. To date, BCI and local partners are developing and implementing livelihood programs incorporated with rain forest and bonobo conservation. These projects include micro-credit projects with women's groups and local cooperatives, sustainable agriculture, establishment of health clinics, founding of a technical college and other educational initiatives.
This model is working for everyone–from the local people to the endangered bonobo great apes and other wildlife, to the national DRC government, to the whole world, which depends on the vast Congo rainforest to survive! Please do what you can to help by making a donation or volunteering for this worthy cause.
An Expanding Network
In addition to working in the DRC, ACE develops projects in other African countries when an opportunity arises to expand ACE's outreach and exposure. Currently, ACE has projects in Tanzania. These projects allow ACE to model programs for future development in the DRC, facilitate communication and exchange among African communities, and develop, pilot, and implement education, conservation, and health programs in and beyond the Congo.