Mbou Mon Tour is a group of communities working in Mai Ndombe, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), to protect forests and savannah, which are home to bonobos and other small primates, and carry out nature-friendly development activities to alleviate poverty and malnutrition.
In many parts of the DRC, Bonobos are hunted commercially for the bushmeat trade and subsistence. In Nkala and surrounding villages, the Batéké have a longstanding taboo on eating bonobos. They believe that the bonobo was first a human who failed to repay a debt and escaped to the forest to avoid being enslaved. However, as other groups and logging companies have moved into the area, this taboo has become degraded and hunting (as well as agriculture) now threatens bonobos and other wildlife.
In a bid to protect the bonobos and their forest-savanna home, MMT has established an awareness raising programme in local villages to revive the bushmeat taboo; established a network of six community protected forest areas; employed local villagers as bonobo trackers; and developed small-scale development activities. The DRC government has been supportive of the work and a process is underway to get the forests recognised officially as community protected forests under Article 22 of the Congolese Forest Code.
Synchronicity Earth has provided core and programme support to MMT since 2016.
In 2019, filmmaker Chris Scarffe visited Mbou Mon Tour in Mai Ndombe as part of a film project to mark Synchronicity Earth’s 10th anniversary. This year, members of our team have worked with Mbou Mon Tour and Chris to develop this short film highlighting their work. Our hope is that this film can contribute to raising awareness and funding for the brilliant work of Mbou Mon Tour, its team and the wider community.