Water collection from the Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda and Virunga National Park, DR Congo not only disturbs and pollutes the forest, having a negative effect on the mountain gorillas, but also hinders school attendance, as it is often children that collect water for their families. The Gorilla Organization is addressing this problem through the construction of water cisterns in the communities alongside the parks.
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With fewer than 750 individuals remaining, the mountain gorilla is critically endangered. Habitat loss is one of the greatest threats to the survival of this sub-species, but the combination of severe poverty and the scarce availability of clean drinking water forces people from the local communities to trespass into the forests to collect this essential resource. This not only damages the gorilla habitat, but also affects children's education as they are often responsible for collecting water for their families. The Gorilla Organization works with local partners to construct water cisterns in the communities surrounding the national parks. Cisterns are constructed alongside schools and churches to collect water from their roofs, and supply water for approximately eight months of the year. A cistern of 15 cubic metres can provide water for up to 1,000 people, while a 25 cubic metre cistern can provide water for up to 1,500 people. To date, the Gorilla Organization has constructed a total of 44 water cisterns in the communities surrounding the national parks, providing water for almost 50,000 people. In DR Congo, the cisterns have also been providing a lifeline for internally displaced people affected by the ongoing conflict. Each cistern has a committee in place that is trained to oversee maintenance and repair, ensuring that the cisterns continue to work efficiently and benefit as many people as possible. In addition to the availability of clean water, the construction of cisterns has also had a positive effect on education levels, as children are able to attend school with greater frequency. Annual funding provides; - materials for cistern construction - materials for cistern maintenance and repair - costs for establishment and training of maintenance committees
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