Pole Pole Foundation


Project Name

Protecting the Grauer’s Gorilla and restoring their habitat

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  • Granted

    £300, 000

  • Year

    2023 - 2026

  • Location

    Democratic Republic of Congo


POPOF is a grassroots NGO that has spent 30 years working with local communities to protect the critically endangered Eastern Lowland (Grauer’s) Gorilla in Kahuzi-Biega National Park (KBNP), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The KBNP is a protected territory and a UNESCO’s World Heritage Site.

POPOF was a 2021 Earthshot Finalist and has won many other prestigious awards, including the UN Equator Prize in 2006, the Marsh Award in 2012, the Whitney Award in 2013, and the Prince William Award for Conservation in Africa in 2016.

This funding will help protect the gorillas by tackling the root causes of deforestation and poaching: poverty and hunger. It will also help them scale their work with communities to protect the critically endangered Grauer’s gorilla and their forest habitat. The £100,000 per year grant (£300,000 in total) will enable them to open more of the Grauer’s gorilla habitat, helping them to expand into the lowland sector of the Kahuzi-Biega National Park (KBNP) and the Itombwe Reserve.

The grant also provides core funding for their operating costs and crucial seed capital to establish larger projects, including transformational funding to enable them to finalise the strategy for restoring the degraded 23 km ecological corridor. Restoring this connection between the Highland and Lowland sectors of KBNP will enable gorilla families to roam more freely. It also creates the exciting prospect that the few suspected remaining forest elephants in the Lowland sector could return to the Highland.