Nsombou Abalghe-Dzal Association (NADA) #
Our Motivation #
The hunting of wild animals as ‘bushmeat’ is vital for the food, financial and cultural security of rural people across the tropics. But global changes in markets, climate, and extractive industries increasingly harm the land and animals, and in turn the well-being of communities.
On top of this, the people who most rely on bushmeat – rural hunters and their communities – are routinely excluded from genuine engagement in research, policy and wildlife management.
The Nsombou Abalghe-Dzal Association (NADA) team believes that wildlife management led by local or indigenous communities around the world is vital to the sustainability of our planet, and therefore the well-being of all humans and animals who call earth home. An outsider-driven agenda will never be socially sustainable, nor will it enable decolonial ways for western actors to engage with rural people and their governments across the tropics. When these initiatives come from within, they represent hope for truly just and transformative conservation.
NADA is motivated by this hope, and aims to support and empower rural communities to autonomously set environmental agendas and action change to achieve their own visions of sustainability.
Our Origin #
NADA’s origins come from the Community Wildlife Project Gabon launched by the Poulsen Lab at Duke University in 2015, when a team of paraecologists – local community members employed as researchers and community organizers – were trained to conduct wildlife inventories in the forests of their villages' forests (see publications for the results of their work). Their teacher – then and still – was Alex Ebang Mbélé, a Gabonese researcher, conservation leader, environmental educator and community facilitator with 3 masters. At the end of 2018, Alex went to Duke to plan the second phase of the project, and returned to Gabon with a new collaborator: Graden Froese, PhD student at Duke and Canadian social-ecological researcher who has been based in Gabon since 2016 having previously worked in Asia.
These two project managers were increasingly inspired by the appropriation of sustainable natural resource management by paraecologists and their communities. At the same time, monthly meetings with paraecologists drew out connections between all the environmental problems in our region and the limits of projects coming from elsewhere to address them. There was a need for the local and permanent presence of a new form of Gabonese civil society centering inter-community mobilization.
The next step in NADA’s birth was the idea of finding a new name and logo for the project, which symbolized our identity. Together, we created a name that links the Fang and Kota peoples with whom we live and work. Voilà Nsombou (hunting and fishing in the Kota language) Abalghe-Dzal (management in the village in Fang). For the logo, each paraecologist drew a proposal, which all voted on and then refined together. Framed by the map of Gabon, it shows a paraecologist collecting data on the sustainable use of the forest by their community.
As the end of the second phase of the project neared, the paraecologists wanted to stay and grow together beyond outside initiatives. Alex and Graden therefore proposed the creation of a Gabonese NGO. In December 2019, a General Assembly was held during which we created our mission, vision, legal structure, and elected our bureau. NADA was born.
Our Values #
Community | Progress | Sustainability | Equity #
With deep gratitude for all partners, collaborators, funders, contributors, and supporters of NADA past and present, and with acknowledgement of the land, animals, and local people who inspire, create and lead the vision and mission of NADA, every day.