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Ituriforest

In the northeast of DR Congo, in the province of OriŽntale, lies Ituriforest. In this large, dense, mountainous rainforest with canopies of up to 40 meters and a surface area of twice the size of the Netherlands, a small number of pygmies carry on their traditional way of live with livestock produced by the forest. But for how much longer? The forest is no longer the habitat of only the Efe Pygmies and their traditional forest neighbours, such as Lese, Ndaaka, Mbo, Karo, etc.

In recent decennia a few million Bantu immigrants and refugees entered the forest, disturbing the forestís natural balance. Since 1989 foundation Pygmies Kleinood has been developing innovative initiatives to help the Efe Pygmies survive the rapidly changing 21st century. Healthcare, education and agriculture are the main focal points. Due to the violent and destructive rebel wars, which had already started in 1989, Kleinood has lost collaborators (coordinator Mr Ir. Makuru Ü 2002) and a large number of logistic material (land cruiser, motorcycles, the project building in Bamande and medical solar cooling equipment). Other collaborators had to escape into the forest, running south with their families, to save their lives: our dedicated nurse Ezabo and many others.

In 2003 Kleinood restarted the activities to assist the Pygmy refugees, in cooperation with the counterpart in Congo. After a few months of fruitful collaboration, this counterpart suddenly developed a completely different view and strategy on how to help the Pygmies. Kleinood could not agree with this new strategy.
In the beginning of 2004, we were ready to build up a new Congolese Pygmy organisation together with Achille Biffumbu as field facilitator of Kleinood: CIDOPY in Goma (Centre of Information and Documentation of Pygmies).

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Ituriforest in the morning mist
The Ituri river
Epulu, village in the midst of the rainforest