Giving up diamonds for chocolate

Deutsche Welle
2 Min Read

Though diamonds are intrinsically more valuable than cocoa, for Sierra Leone communities recovering from years of hard times, chocolate is offering a more sustainable future.Project goal: Sierra Leone has lost 95 percent of its original forests. The vision of Gola Rainforest National Park, and the Greater Gola Landscape in which it sits, is to conserve the country’s last and largest remaining forest and protect its unique habitats and rich biodiversity while directly benefitting communities at the forest edge.
Biodiversity: Pygmy hippo, chimpanzees, several types of Duikers
Park area: 71,070 hectares
Funding partners: Darwin initiative, Comic Relief, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Conservation Society of Sierra Leone, Basel Zoo, Gola REDD

Environmental problems in Sierra Leone were long overshadowed by bigger ones, not least a decade and a half of civil war. But the environment is an issue – as is widespread poverty. In a bid to earn an income, many people clear land to dig holes for diamond mining. This also happens at the edge of the Gola Rainforest National park, the largest in Sierra Leone, which is home to chimpanzees, rare birds and hippopotami. But park staff are working with locals from nearby villages to plant cocoa trees, in hopes that a regular source of income will encourage locals toward greater respect of their natural surroundings.

A film by Ruth Krause

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