Working towards a brighter future for the eastern DRC - Dominique Bikaba
Strong Roots is not just the name of Dominique Bikaba’s NGO, which he founded in 2009 and whose work earned him a Whitley Award (also known as the "Green Oscars" of the conservation world) in 2018. Born in Kahuzi-Biega National Park in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, it is to this region – his homeland – that Dominique has dedicated his life’s work.
Rich in biodiversity but also rocked by years of political unrest, the forests that Dominique grew up in are home to the world’s last surviving eastern lowland gorillas, as well as local communities and indigenous peoples who each day face a struggle to survive. Dominique knows better than anyone that the DRC’s great apes won’t thrive unless people thrive alongside them. Strong Roots brings the services of the forest – food, fuel, and building materials – to local communities through reforestation, community forestry and sustainable farming, while ensuring the forests’ wildlife remains protected.
Dominique has an extensive professional background in conservation, and holds a Master’s degree in Ecosystem Conservation and Management from Yale University. He has served local, national and international organisations in and outside the DRC, including the United Nations Development Programme. Thanks to Dominique and his team at Strong Roots, the people of the eastern DRC are becoming increasingly empowered, allowing them to pursue sustainable livelihoods and, as a result, ensure the survival of the critically endangered eastern lowland gorilla.