COHAB – Identification of solutions for a cohabitation between chimpanzees and local communities in Fouta-Djalon (Guinea)
Communication note on the COHAB mission from June 1-17, 2021
The COHAB project is funded by the ARCUS Foundation and implemented by Biotope, in partnership with Guinée Ecologie, Jane Goodall Institute (Spain) and LEAF Inspiring Change. The objective of this 3-year project is to identify solutions to improve cohabitation between chimpanzees and local communities in the Fouta-Djalon, in Guinea.
After several postponements due to the global sanitary situation, a team of consultants from Biotope, Anna, Suzanne and Thierno, and Sylvie from the Université Libre of Brussels, were able to travel to Guinea last June to pursue activities of the COHAB project.
Working closely with local communities in Fouta-Djalon, the team facilitated “Serious Games” and participatory mapping workshops in three pilot sites: Kéwé, Pellel Koura and Sabé. The work with local communities was organized around two game sessions with the same participants (women, men, youth and elders):
- A first “introduction” session allowing participants to discover the game rules, and get familiar with this innovative approach to dialogue;
- A second “exploration” session allowing the participants to take over the game, explore future scenarios, identify and test their own solutions for human-chimpanzee cohabitation.
The game “COHAB” that was used for the mission was specifically developed for this project and is the result of a co-construction work with our partner Leaf Inspiring Change, expert in the development of “Serious Games”. The COHAB game is adapted to the agro-ecological and socio-economic context of Fouta-Djalon and models the interactions between agriculture, forest dynamics and chimpanzees.
A participatory mapping session was also carried out in each community to identify key elements of the landscape, in relation to natural resource uses (cultivation area, hunting area, water points, etc.). This mapping work has completed the socio-ecological diagnosis of each of the pilot sites and will subsequently facilitate the spatialization of cohabitation or management solutions that will emerge from the COHAB project, which constitutes an essential step for their operational implementation on the ground.
In addition to the participatory chimpanzee monitoring activities carried out in the pilot sites with Guinée Ecologie and Jane Goodall Institute, Biotope’s team and its partners will actively pursue their work with the communities until June 2022, in order to look deeper into the various solutions that have emerged from the game, define their implementation modalities and prioritize actions for their realization in the field.