Celebrate International Day of the Girl Child on October 11 by inviting your friends to watch and share “Our Gorongosa,” a beautiful, award-winning film.
Narrator Dominique Gonçalves, a young Mozambican elephant ecologist, shares the inspiring story of how Gorongosa National Park is becoming a new model for wildlife conservation and community development in Africa, with a special focus on educating girls and empowering women.
How to access the film: https://gorongosa.org/our-gorongosa-film/
Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique has become one of the most celebrated wildlife restoration stories in Africa. After a quarter century of civil war and political turmoil wiped out more than 95% of the large mammal population, a decade of renewed protection and careful conservation has brought the park back from the brink.
But for a national park to thrive in today’s world, protecting the animals is only half the job. Gorongosa has also made a powerful commitment to lifting up the 200,000 people—and in particular the girls and women—who live near the park. This is a new vision for conservation in the 21st Century, where people and animals must coexist—to the benefit of them all.
In the film, Dominique Gonçalves, a vibrant Mozambican ecologist who runs the Gorongosa elephant ecology project, shares the many ways Gorongosa is redefining the identity and purpose of an African national park. From her own work mitigating human/elephant conflict, to community clubs and school programs that empower girls to avoid teen marriage and pregnancy, to health clinics and nutrition training for expectant mothers and families, Dominique leads viewers on an eye-opening journey that will transform their understanding of what a national park can be.
The commitment of the incredible women who run these programs—and the resilience of the mothers and girls who are benefiting from them—make for an inspiring story of strength and hope. As Dominique explains, only this virtuous cycle of careful conservation and community development can ensure a positive future for the animals, the people and the planet.
A note from the film’s producers
We invite you to take time to watch this film and engage with the hopes and dreams of girls and women in Gorongosa. Positive conservation stories are hard to find these days but Gorongosa is an exception. Although it faces many of the same challenges as other protected areas in Africa, it’s a model for potential solutions:
What if development teams and conservation teams joined forces to achieve a “double bottom line” – giving people a better life and saving Africa’s precious natural heritage?
What if local communities received sufficient benefits from a protected area and perceived it as a place that is truly theirs, that provides real and tangible benefits to them, integral to their lives and futures?
And what if we acted on the data and knowledge that educating girls is key to both lifting communities out of poverty and saving Africa’s wild lands?
This story provides hope. And hope inspires action.
The Gorongosa Project thanks its many partners and donors:
HHMI TANGLED BANK STUDIOS, ANAC, MITADER, USAID, THE NORWEGIAN MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, GEF-UNDP, IRISH AID, NORAD, OAK FOUNDATION, ZOO BOISE, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC’S LAST WILD PLACES, RIZWAN FOUNDATION, GORONGOSA BUSINESS CLUB, NATURA, UK/DFID