Great Apes Film Initiative
With only 700 individuals remaining in the highlands at the borders of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the world’s mountain gorillas could become extinct within a matter of years. Raising awareness of the need to protect these unique animals and their habitat within the local communities that live alongside them is vital to the success of conservation efforts. To address this, the Gorilla Organization, in partnership with the Great Apes Film Initiative, has for a number of years been screening internationally acclaimed wildlife documentaries in schools and community centres around the gorilla habitat. In Uganda alone, more than 55,000 children and young people have been sensitised in this way.
In 2010 the project shifted to a new level with the introduction of a pedal-powered cinema, which allows screenings to take place in remote, rural areas with no electricity. This revolutionary invention utilises a standard bicycle that has been adapted to generate enough electricity when pedalled to power a full-length film screening, and can still be ridden as a normal bicycle with all the necessary power and projection equipment attached! It is estimated that in the next year around 250 pedal-powered screenings will take place in schools in Uganda, with opportunities to also provide tree saplings and seeds for each school to plant in their compound, reducing reliance on the forests and further aiding protection of the gorilla habitat.