Students at Ilima Primary School begin a new school year in a new type of classroom. Photo credit: Antoine Tabou
Today, at the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, the African Wildlife Foundation and MASS Design Group announce the opening of the Ilima Primary School in Equateur Province, Democratic Republic of Congo.
“Because resource constrained communities are often forced to exploit nearby natural resources in order to survive, loss of wildlife and habitat are often linked to poverty and a lack of education, ”says Dr. Patrick Bergin, CEO of African Wildlife Foundation. “Investing in education gives us an opportunity to disrupt the cycle of poverty and the resulting environmental degradation that goes with it.”
Ilima Primary School in DRC is the first in a series of conservation-linked schools to be built in key conservation landscapes across sub-Saharan Africa, including in Ethiopia, Zambia, and Tanzania.
“It’s evident that for conservation to work, there has to be an investment in the local communities,” says Michael Murphy, co-founder and CEO of MASS Design Group. “Part of that is investing in dignified infrastructure to improve lives.”
Why conservation and education?
What is unique about Ilima Primary School?
Editor’s Note: African Wildlife Foundation announced a “commitment to action” at last year’s Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) to build a number of conservation-linked primary schools across sub-Saharan Africa. In addition to Ilima in DR Congo, schools in Ethiopia, Zambia and Tanzania are slated next. AWF’s CEO Patrick Bergin and MASS Design Group co-founder and executive director Michael Murphy are both attending this year’s CGI meeting, which began on Sunday, September 21. For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Kathleen Garrigan: (c) +1 912 661 4962 or (w) +1 202 939 3326. Visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7Ml01Q8jVc to see the school's evolution. Read more about Ilima Primary School on CNN.com.
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