Founded in 1977, the Jane Goodall Institute's programs reflect the organization's holistic approach to wildlife research, conservation and education. Whether we are training African villagers in sustainable agriculture and forestry, partnering with African women to increase their access to capital through micro-credit or supporting thousands of children around the world in their desire to make a difference, we recognise the interconnectedness of all: people, animals and the environment.
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About our programs:
An holistic approach, based on youth engagement, that makes a difference
JGI's education programs all around the world aim to develop better stewards of the natural world, who understand the interconnections between people, animals and the environment, and who take action to improve problems in their local communities. In Africa, our teams are bringing the latest science and best-practice teaching methods to students around key forest ecosystems.
JGI Canada is working with our partners in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo to connect communities to environmental issues, create enriching environments for learning, and support teachers in adopting hands-on teaching methodologies. Through our programs, Canadian teachers have the opportunity to connect with their Ugandan peers and be part of facilitating environmental education workshops.
Dr. Goodall serves as a powerful role model for the Roots & Shoots youth action program, which empowers young people to initiate projects and tackle issues in their own communities. Roots & Shoots began with a dedicated group of youth in Tanzania who were passionate about creating positive change. Today, youth in 120 countries around the world are following their lead to make their world a better place.
Science and technology informing JGI's work and furthering our mission
JGI continues to support Dr. Goodall's pioneering research on wild chimpanzee behaviour – research which transformed scientific perceptions of the relationship between humans and animals. The mission of the Gombe Stream Research Center in Tanzania is to operate a world-class research station in which the best available methods are used to continue and further develop the long-term primate research projects begun by Dr. Jane Goodall in 1960, and to advance basic science, support chimpanzees and habitat conservation, and train Tanzanian scientists.
JGI's Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center offers researchers the unique opportunity to study chimpanzees rescued from the bushmeat trade. JGI's research partners, the Max Planck Institute and Duke University, use non-invasive research methods to study evolutionary relations and links between human and chimpanzee development, genetics and behaviour. For instance, DNA collected from fecal samples were analyzed to perform paternity tests and to determine the subspecies structure of chimpanzees across Africa.
JGI Canada is now looking to engage Canadian and African students and researchers in ensuring that our conservation efforts in the field are as effective as possible. At the same time we are developing the concept of Citizen Science, or how to involve citizens and communities in conservation planning, by applying new technologies to support them. This means providing local communities with high-technology tools and adequate training so they can actively contributing to conservation assessment.
Protecting wildlife and habitat by building local capacity and improving livelihoods
Our success in protecting habitat for chimpanzees in Africa depends on creating programs that are controlled and embraced by the local people. The Jane Goodall Institute's community-centred conservation (CCC) programs in Africa empower local people to build sustainable livelihoods while promoting regional conservation goals such as reforestation and ending the illegal, commercial bushmeat trade.
The TACARE ("Take Care") program started around Gombe in 1994, and was designed to address poverty and support sustainable livelihoods in villages around Lake Tanganyika, while preventing further loss of forest habitat. The now called Greater Gombe Ecosystem (GGE) project focuses on community socio-economic development and offers training and education in sustainable natural resource management, agriculture and forestry, as well as addressing community health and education needs.
Today, our CCC model is rapidly expanding to many of the areas where JGI is working in Africa, including Uganda (Sustainable Livelihood Project) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (Better Beginning, Stronger Families Project), where critical chimp habitat exists.
A second chance for orphaned chimpanzees, victims of the bushmeat trade
JGI recognizes the immediate need to protect the victims of the illegal bushmeat trade – chimpanzees that have been injured or orphaned, often in horrific circumstances. In most countries it is illegal to take chimpanzees from the wild. In cooperation with African governments, we are ensuring that illegally held chimpanzees are confiscated from poachers or market vendors and placed in sanctuaries.
JGI supports chimpanzee sanctuaries (Tchimpounga Rehabilitation Center in Republic of Congo and Ngamba Island in Uganda) which currently house more than 200 orphaned chimpanzees. This number is constantly growing with the steady influx of new arrivals. These sanctuaries provide a safe refuge where chimpanzees can be cared for and given the chance to live in reasonable conditions. However, sanctuaries are only a temporary solution, as they cannot provide sufficient conditions for chimpanzees to express their whole range of natural behaviors. Chimps belong in the wild.
Given the very real threat of chimpanzee extinction, the release of captive animals into their natural habitat is increasingly being seen as a valuable conservation tool. Reintroduction is both a complex and controversial endeavour – and the risk is high. Ultimately, release programs must contribute to the survival of chimps in the wild. JGI is exploring the first steps, testing pre-release environments where new arrivals to our sanctuaries will be able to learn how to forage for natural vegetation, build nests, and develop the social bonds necessary for their survival in the wild.