Transitioning to sustainable energy supply while protecting the forests



Projects with a positive impact on the biosphere at large

The province of North Kivu in the East of the Democratic Republic of Congo undergoes wars and fighting for over twenty years.  Its capital, Goma, saw the arrival of many families fleeing the fighting and threats from the rural areas. 

Today, one million people live in Goma and have to meet their basic needs, including, their energy needs. Neither electricity nor gas are significantly accessible to them and will not be in the short term. 97% of the population is dependent on wood and charcoal - the "makala" - as fuel source. 

To produce this charcoal, you need forests and the only accessible in the region are those of Virunga Park. (PNVi). 

Virunga National Park is one of the most precious places in the world with an extremely rich biodiversity. The park has a unique flora and fauna and is notably the only place in the world which has 3 different species of great apes (mountain gorillas, lowland gorillas and chimpanzees) as well as many endemic species. Besides poaching, the first threat of the disappearance of this biodiversity is the habitat destruction, through deforestation and forest degradation.

In 2007, 80% of the Makala sold in Goma came from the Park.

In 2007, with the help of the European Union, WWF launched the project in response to these issues and in particular to insure the supply of fuelwood to the population of Goma. 

The goal is to provide Eco-Makala through the planting of fast-growing trees on smallholders parcels around the park and reduce the pressure of deforestation

Positive impacts of the project


In order to meet the firewood needs of the population of Goma, without destroying the Virunga National Park and in order to reduce deforestation, the project aims to reforest degraded plots of small farmers with fast growing trees that will allow production of charcoal ‘Eco- makala’.  Since 2009, 3,350 ha was reforested with fast growing species, which have sequestered already around 179,414 tCO2e.

Environmental impact

Reducing the pressure on the park is also an important step towards the protection and preservation of this unique place in the world, home to many rare and endemic plant and animal species and providing many environmental services for the region such as climate regulation and prevention of soil erosion. Plantation forest have a “filter” role in the water cycle and help improve infiltration of water into the soil.

Improving Livelihoods

Besides climate action and positive environmental impact, the project generates a lot of co-benefits: farmers generate income from the sale of eco-makala, jobs are created and women are empowered by being involved in nurseries and the local organisations managing the project.


This project was made possible thanks to the company UCB (sustainability)  .

UCB is a company committed to taking climate action & becoming CO2-Neutral in the near future & with clear Science Based Target engagements. 


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