This Thursday, September 2, the Bamasobha community of Lubero (North- Kivu), comprised of indigenous and Bantu groups, was officially handed the decree legally recognising their hard-won CFCL (local communities' forest concession). This decree guarantees perpetual rights over Bamasobha's customary lands, and thus opens the way to the management stage of the CFCL, an area rich in biodiversity and which covers more than 29,000 ha.
The event captured the joy and pride felt by the residents, and was marked by speeches, testimonies from community members, presentations on their traditional knowledge, and the exhibition of hunting and fishing tools and symbols of power among the Masubha (Bamasobha).
In appreciation for the granting of their title, the members of the Bamasobha communities presented local authorities with a symbolic present. The decree, signed last March by the governor of North Kivu, was finally handed over by the head of the Bapere sector, Mr. Kombi Nepa Nepa. In his speech, he praised the support provided by the PREPPYG association and its partners, which made it possible to endow his entity with the first CFCL.
'The CFCL constitutes a model of participatory forest management by indigenous and local communities who customarily depend on them, and which officially secures property rights over their forest resources, in order to accelerate their socio-economic development while preserving their environment. The CFCL is not a personal good where one of you or an elite can use as it pleases to the detriment of others, it takes the participation of men, women, young people, people living with disabilities and indigenous peoples in the management and use which will benefit all the local community(s),' said Mr. Kombi Nepa Nepa.
For the head of the Masubha clan, Mr. Gustave Masumbuko, the process made it possible to reconcile the members of the clan who were severely divided at the start of the process.
'Me Gustave, I was among the people who were opposed to the process. When PREPPYG started the sensitisations, we thought that there were people who came to steal our land from us. After several discussions, we understood. Today, we are proud to receive our decree, and we will still need your support for the good management of our forest,' testified Mr. Gustave.
This activity took place within the framework of the 'Forests for the Future' project implemented by the Rainforest Foundation UK and its partners, thanks to the generous support of the American people through USAID, as well as that of the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad).
The contents of this blog are the responsibility of RFUK and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.