Community protection of chimpanzees

$4,960 of $7,500 goal

Raised by 46 people in 18 months
27167332_15166593120_r.jpegMy name is Rebecca Kormos. I am a primatologist with over 25 years of experience working in conservation in West and Central Africa. I have just launched a “gofundme” campaign to raise money to educate girls and women in several rural villages in the Fouta Djallon highlands of Guinea. I traveled throughout this region twenty years ago when I was conducting a nationwide chimpanzee survey from 1995-1997. In this region I found the largest population of chimpanzee in all West Africa. One of the main reasons for their continued existence was that the people living here did not hunt or eat chimpanzees because of local taboos.

In September 2017, I returned to some of the areas I had visited twenty years previous. I was excited to find that the chimpanzees were still living close to the villages as before. What was tragic to me however, was that so little had changed for the people since the last time I was there two decades ago.

Guinea remains one of the poorest countries in the world (183 out of 188 countries on the UN Human Development Index) and it was hit incredibly hard by the terrifying Ebola virus just a few years ago. It is shocking to me that in Guinea still only 12% of women over the age of fifteen are literate. 

My friend and colleague Saliou Diallo founded a national conservation NGO in Guinea, called Guinée Écologie 25 years ago. He and his colleague Mamadou Diawara Diallo have been working in several villages in the Fouta Djallon to create community conservation initiatives to empower the people to protect the chimpanzees. Guinée Écologie is also working to increase the protected status of the adjacent Saala forest complex that provides sanctuary to chimpanzees in a network of hills, forest corridors, and a riverine forest surrounding a spectacular waterfall (see photo above!) Saliou is also raising funds to build a school and launch a program for women's literacy and girls’ education and I have committed to help him raise these funds through this gofundme campaign.

The funds I raise will go direct to the local NGO Guinée Écologie to build the school,  pay the salaries of teachers, purchase teaching materials and supplies for students, construct separate girl’s toilets and to construct a well adjacent to the school.

The number of chimpanzees in West Africa has plummeted by 80% in the last 24 years. Chimpanzees have already disappeared from several countries within their former range and in other countries there are only a few hundred or a few thousand left. In the Republic of Guinea however, there are still an estimated 18,000 chimpanzees, most of whom are living in the Fouta Djallon highlands of Guinea. This area is therefore one of our last hopes for their survival. 

Your donation to this project will help change the lives of the women and girls in these villages by providing them with an education. It will also contribute to the conservation of the chimpanzees living in the adjacent forest. Thank you so much for your support and help passing this link on to friends and colleagues.

In April 2018, I will be traveling to Guinea again to make a film about the chimpanzees of Guinea with award winning filmmaker Kalaynee Mam and founder of the NGO Guinee Ecologie Mamadou Saliou Diallo with funding from the National Geographic Society. We will be visiting the project site then, and I will have the opportunity to update you all on how it is going!

Thank you so much!

Rebecca Kormos

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Please find more photos and video sent to me by Guinee Ecologie's Mamadou Diawara
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Update on Gofundme campaign June 8 2019

Hi Everyone!
I wanted to thank you all so very much for your support for the gofundme campaign for women’s literacy and girl’s education in Guinea! I would love to give you an update on how things are going and please do let me know if you have any questions.
The funds from this campaign were sent to the NGO Guinée Écologie (GE) founder Mamadou Saliou Diallo. Guinée Écologie, under the leadership of Saliou and Mamadou Diawara, have been working very hard on constructing the toilets, building the school, purchasing the schoolbooks and hiring the literacy coach. Please find below a message in French and English to thank you all for your support:
French: “Guinée Ecologie tiens à remercier tous les donateurs pour leur contribution inestimable qui permet de contribuer non seulement à encourager la scolarisation des filles, à leur émancipation, mais aussi à améliorer les connaissances des communautés locales notamment les personnes âgées par le biais de l’alphabétisation.”
English: “Guinea ecology would like to thank all donors for their invaluable contribution that helps not only to encourage girls to attend school, but to their emancipation, but also to improve the knowledge of local communities including older people through literacy.”
Here is an update about this project:
• The separate girls and boys toilets have now been built! Thank you!!
• Literacy classes started in December 2018 and are ongoing! A teacher was hired by GE. They also provided them with a monthly bonus to pay for the teacher’s travel to and from the villages
• Books were purchased for all students! Thank you to the contribution specifically from Max Bosquet for these.
I am attaching here photos of:
• The girls with their books
• The literacy class in session
• The toilets for girls and boys
In my next post, I will attach a short video of the literacy classes with the women from Pellel Koura village. You will see in this video and the photos, that conditions for teaching and learning are still not ideal, with no desks or chairs, flooring etc. so I remain committed to continuing to fundraise for this project.
With best wishes to you all and thank you!!
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I wanted to give you all an update about the girl’s education and literacy project in the Fouta Djallon in Guinea!

The school has almost been completed! Please see photo below!! The rainy season has now started, so the heavy downpours are slowing things down just a little, but I heard from Saliou Diallo of the NGO Guinée Écologie, that they are still hoping to open the school this fall. This new school is where the literacy program for the women of Pellel Koura will take place as well as the school for the children. Guinee Ecologie have found the teacher and are hoping to start paying him in October. They are seeking some final funds for the completion of the inside of the school (purchasing of desks and chairs) and then will be set to go!
Next to this school, the first girl’s toilet has almost been constructed! I have heard from Guinée Écologie that they hope that it will be finished this week. They will start on the boy’s toilet next week. Please see photos attached. This is truly exciting and will make such a difference for the girls in Pellel Koura. After these toilets are constructed, they are going to start building them in the second village.
The women of Pellel Koura have also said also that the Lucy lamps are going to be especially helpful for the literacy program since the course will take place in the evenings after they complete the harvesting, so they will need a reliable source of light.
Thank you again so very much for helping to make all this possible! I will keep in touch as things continue evolve and let you know how everything is going. Saliou has promised to send some videos so I will post these shortly too.
Thank you!
With very best wishes,
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You raised enough funds for two girl’s toilets, and two women’s literacy teachers in two villages in Guinea! Thank you so much!!!!!

Update: Fundraiser at Brushstrokes for toilets in two villages in Guinea!
On May 22nd Jessica Abbott Williams hosted the most incredible event at Brushstrokes ( http://www.brushstrokestudio.com/) in Berkeley and launched a fundraiser for this gofundme campaign to galvanize support for women’s literacy and girl’s education in Guinea. Thanks to Jessie’s fundraiser and as a result of all your generous donations, we now have enough to build two toilets for two separate villages in Guinea!

Thank you so very much to Jessie for organizing this special evening at Brushstrokes Studio and continuing all her fundraising efforts! After just one week from the moment Jessie and I had a conversation over coffee about the need for a girl’s toilets near schools in Guinea, Jessie made this a reality. Jessie is one of the greatest changemakers in our Berkeley community (and I would like to mention also that this is the second time she has done this as she also helped to raise funds for a rice drop during the Ebola Crisis in 2015 in West Africa too!) Jessie also contributed 100% of the profits at Brushstrokes on May 22nd to this cause, and made a personal donation too! Thank you so much Jessie!

I would love to thank all of those artists who donated beautiful pieces of art work for this fundraiser. Thank you so much to Jessica Abbott Williams ( http://www.jessicaabbottwilliams.com/) Nannette Mervin ( https://wearginger.com/), Erica Tanov ( https://www.ericatanov.com/), Rae Dunn ( http://www.raedunn.com/), Heath Ceramics ( http://www.heathceramics.com/), Lauren McIntosh ( https://www.facebook.com/TailOfTheYak/), Morningtide ( https://morningtideshop.com/), Emily Payne ( http://www.emilypayneart.com/), Jamie and Atomic Garden ( https://www.facebook.com/Atomic-Garden-Oakland-618645584829235/), Paulson Fontaine Press ( http://paulsonfontainepress.com/) Nancy Selvin ( http://www.selvinstudios.com/), Melissa Gomes, Katie Swann ( http://www.katieswanceramics.com/) and Aliza Cord! . I am truly in awe of everyone’s generosity. Thank you!

Thank you also to those of you who bought these beautiful items and those who donated funds directly to the fundraiser including Kathleen Berland, Katherine Dinh, Susan Freightman, Elizabeth Hollendoner, Leslea Hlusko, Lilah Kendall, Sarah Larson, Laurel Leichter, Eli Leichter Wilson, Diane Mark, Stephanie Martinez, Miki Pinguelo, Rebecca Spring, Jordan Stark, Katie Swan Laich, Erica Tanov, Marianna Taylor, Brook Vinnedge. Thank you also to Molly Sazer-Hopf for the gorgeous music. on the 22nd ( https://mollywithcharles.bandcamp.com/releases)!

All funds raised for the girl’s toilets will be transferred to the national NGO Guinée Écologie this week. Guinée Écologie’s Diawara is currently in Pellel Koura village completing the building of school (with funds from the Primate Action Fund) and so will be able to commence work on the toilets for this village right away. We will send photos asap!

Please see the following links to some articles I found useful in summarizing why girl’s toilets are so important for girl’s education!

Please find attached a photo of the Pellel Koura school. Currently, children have to walk 7km to go to school so only some of the older children go to school and most of the younger children do not. The village had pooled together their own funds to build a school in the village, but these funds ran out. The Primate Action Fund has awarded Guinée Écologie support to complete the building of the school. This is the school where the first toilet will be built. It is also where one of the women’s literacy programs will take place.

Update: Women’s literacy program in Pellel Koura and Kata villages!

Thank you so much to all of you who contributed to the earlier launch of this gofundme campaign! You raised enough funds to pay the salary for two teachers for the women’s literacy program for one year in two villages - Pellel Koura and Kata! Just a few weeks ago I visited both Pellel Koura and Kata, we announced that you raised funds for this program for the women! Attached is a photo of some of the women who will benefit from this program in Pellel Koura!!

For this campaign, thank you to Cathy McNeill, my amazing sister, for encouraging me to do this in the first place, and for galvanizing her community to make such a tremendous contribution (thank you Amanda Gibbons and The Kaake Family). Thank you also to my family for always being so supportive and for donating to this cause specifically. Thank you to my husband Cyril Kormos, my mother Patricia Clark Espinal, my father Trevor Ham and step-mother Stefanie Ham, my sisters Melinda Ham and Cathy McNeill, my cousin Amanda Sutton Tarling, and friends and colleagues Aaron Brownell, Genevieve Campbell, Panya Clarke Espinal, Jessica Deichmann, Adrien Lindon, Samantha Salter, Sandra Clavel, as well as so many others of you who wished to give anonymously!
Funds for the teacher’s salary for the women’s literacy program for Kata and Pellel Koura have already been transferred to Guinée Écologie As soon as the school in Pellel Koura has been built is complete, Guinée Écologie will employ the teachers in Pellel Koura and Kata and start the women’s literacy program!

Update: Karl Morrison and the New Course donation of solar Luci Lights
Thank you so much to Karl Morrison, cofounder of New Course ( http://anewcourse.org/) for the donation of Luci Lights. Kalyanee Mam, Diawara, Roger Doré and I distributed these lights in Pellel Koura, Kata, and Bossou villages. Please see the incredible work that New Course is doing for women around the world, and how these amazing solar-powered lights are changing people’s lives through their partnership with MPowered and the “Give Light Campaign”: http://anewcourse.org/mpowerd-luci-lights/ .
Foulani is the language spoken in the Fouta Djallon highlands of Guinea. The word for “thank you!” in Pular is “Onjarama!” I will shortly post a video of the children of Pellel Koura village (and me too!) standing in front of their school which will soon be complete, with toilets and funds for teachers, thanking you for your support!! ONJARAMA!!
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$4,960 of $7,500 goal

Raised by 46 people in 18 months
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Ecole Port Elgin, Saugeen Central School
16 days ago
Kerry Gilbert
1 month ago
Benoit Bosquet
9 months ago
Nancie Smith
12 months ago
Reven Suess
13 months ago
R Gallagher
13 months ago
Jessica Williams
13 months ago
Katie Swan Laich
14 months ago
Marianna Taylor
14 months ago
Susan Freightman
14 months ago
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