Deforestation in Congo

Afrormosia, a highly valued tropical hardwood, is logged by SAFBOIS concession. Afrormosia is a protected tree species whose international trade is strictly regulated (listed under CITES Appendix II). Industrial logging is done by SAFBOIS in the rainforest surrounded by small communities including Yafunga. Approximately 40 million people in the DRC depend on the rainforest for their basic needs, such as medicine, food or shelter. © Greenpeace / Jiro Ose / 2007

With Congolose forests under constant threat from logging companies, Greenpeace Africa is launching an initiative to educate and mobilize the Congolese youth to preserve their precious trees.

With this, we want to draw awareness from all over to the importance of the Congo forests - the second biggest block of intact forest in the world (after the Amazon).

The campaign is being put into motion with “The Future Of Forests” poetry competition, where DRC schoolkids and students are encouraged to write original poems about the forests that surround them.

From 30 September - 12 October in Oshwe, in the Bandudu Province of the DRC, and from 18 - 30 October in Kinshasa, the DRC’s capital, Greenpeace activists and volunteers will be visiting schools to raise awareness of the importance of forests in the futures of the schoolchildren they meet, and to explain the poetry competition.

A winner will be chosen after the Oshwe leg of the competition, and another after the Kinshasa leg. Both winners, and all runners-up will attend a prize-giving ceremony and be part of a documentary about the competition (to be at shown COP17 in Durban later this year).

Through these poems, the Congolese youth will be able to express the thoughts of more than 40 million people who wish to safeguard their forests. Many of these locals get the bulk of their basic resources from the forests - they are a supermarket, a pharmacy, a place of worship and part of the proud heritage of the DRC.

Greenpeace Media Officer, Augustine Kasambule says, “We are confident that we will learn a lot from these young people who admire the forests every day!”

Far from being a simple intellectual exercise, these poems will be the messages that young Congolese will send to the world about the future of their forests. They are the voice of the future, so Greenpeace is putting the power in their hands!

The contest is open to any DRC citizens from 14 - 21 years of age. Those from cities other than Oshwe or Kinshasa are welcome to participate by e-mailing poems and contact details to Augustine Kasambule: .