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VIRUNGA 

THE PARK IS OPEN
 
We are pleased to announce that Virunga is open for tourism. The park is taking bookings for mountain gorilla trekking and accommodations at Mikeno Lodge, located at park headquarters in Rumangabo.
Nyiragongo volacno and the Tongo chimpanzee treks will soon be available. Expeditions to the Rwenzori Mountains are closed until further notice. Please subscribe to our news updates or follow us on
Virunga National Park's Facebook PAGE

Want more information or to plan your trip?
Send us an email at visit@virunga.org.

 
VIRUNGA NATIONAL PARK

Virunga National Park (covenring an area of 790.ooo ha) comprises an outstanding diversity of habitats, ranging from swamps and steppes to the snowfields of Rwenzori at an altitude of over 5,000 m. and from lava plains to the savannahs on the slops of volcanoes. Mountain gorillas are found in the park, some 20,000 hippopotamuses live in the rivers and birds from Siberia spend the winter there.

Virunga National Park is unique with its active chain of volcanoes and rich diversity of habitats that surpass those of any other African park. Its range contains an amalgamation of steppes, savannah and plains, marshlands, low altitude and afro-montane forest belts to unique afro-alpine vegetation and permanent glaciers and snow on monte Rwenzorie whose peaks culminate in 5000 m height. The property includes the spectacular massifs of Reenzori and Virunga Mountains containing the two most active volcanoes of Africa. The wide diversity of habitats produces exceptional biodiversity, notably endemic species and rare and globally threatened species such as the mountain gorilla.
 
16 April 2014  | 
The chief warden of Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Virunga National Park, Emmanuel de Merode, has been shot in an ambush,according to a statement on the park’s official website. The Belgian national is in “serious, but stable condition,” the statement says. De Merode was attacked while travelling from the provincial capital of Goma to the park’s headquarters yesterday, but no additional details are available. 

“Emmanuel is a dedicated conservationist putting his life on the line every day to protect Virunga National Park, its rangers, its endangered species and the people that depend on the park for their livelihoods,” said Lasse Gustavsson, Executive Director of Conservation at WWF International. “I know how much Emmanuel loves this park. He continues to be a source of inspiration to those around him and I wish him a swift recovery.”

Virunga is Africa’s oldest national park, founded in 1925, a World Heritage Site and a Ramsar wetland of international importance. It is the most biodiverse protected area in Africa, and one of the four parks in the world home to critically endangered mountain gorillas, of which only about 880 remain. Virunga recently reopened for gorilla treks after being closed during a period of conflict in the east of the country. 

LEONARDO DICAPRIO TEAMS UP WITH NETTLIX TO RELEASE ANTI-POACHING DOCUMENTARY, VIRUNGA 

We have seen some incredible work for the planet come from Leonardo DiCaprio recently. Between donating millions to protect the oceans and endangered elephants, to speaking up about climate change at the UN, DiCaprio has made it clear that he will not sit idly by and watch the world’s natural places and species be destroyed. In his newest move to educate the public about the ills of the planet, DiCaprio has announced that he will be releasing a film, in collaboration with Netflix, on the subject of Virunga National Park.

Congo’s Virunga National Park is Africa’s oldest national park and one of the last places in the world where you can still find Mountain Gorillas. These creatures are critically endangered and can only survive extinction with the help and diligent protection of humans. Although one would suspect that these gorillas are safe within the confines of a national park, as Leonardo DiCaprio illustrates in the new film, “Virunga,” this is not the case.

Virunga has been the target of oil companies who wish the enter the protected borders and explore for oil. With oil, comes corruption, social unrest – and above all, poaching. Poaching has been a longstanding threat to the park and the film follows park rangers as they try and protect the mountain gorilla from militia and poachers. The film is half nature documentary, half a work of investigative journalism, combined to paint a full picture of what is happening in this historic park.

DiCaprio states, “Films like Virunga are powerful stories that are a window into the incredible cultural and natural diversity of our world, the forces that are threatening to destroy it, and the people who are fighting to protect it.”

By releasing the film on Netflix, it is sure to reach an audience that is exponentially larger than if it were only to be released in theaters. Netflix chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, explains, “Leo intuitively understands that there is nothing like the power of film to reach people’s hearts and minds.”

The message this film bears may be specific to the Virunga region, but it is one that needs to be heard and applied worldwide. We are in the midst of a global crisis where over 52 percent of wildlife have disappeared in the past 40 years. It is clear that we could all stand to open our eyes to what is happening to the world’s species, and the very real – human – threats they are against.



THE REPUBLIC DEMOCRATIC OF CONGO HELD THE 14th SUMMIT OF LA FRANCOPHONIE IN OCTOBER 12-14, 2012, REPRESENTATIVES OF 56 FRENCH-SPEAKING COUNTRIES CAME TO DISCUSS A WIDE RANGE OF ISSUES AROUND THE THEME ENVIRONMMENTAL AND ECONOMIC CHALLENGES IN THE FACE OF GLOBAL GOVERNANCE, AS WELL AS 19 ASSOCIATE STATES AND OBSERVERS AND HONARARY GUESTS. THIS IS A FIRST TIME THE SUMMIT IS HELD IN CENTRAL AFRICA.
 
THE 15th FRANCOPHONIE SUMMIT IS SCHEDULED TO BE HELD IN DAKAR, SENEGAL IN 2014.
 
BRAVO KINSHASA!

Located in central Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo is the 3rd biggest country of the African continent and it has been said that it is the country around which all other African countries revolve. Two thirds the size of Europe with only 450 km of paved road- an area of vast jungles and dark corners, scattered outposts and tribal strong-holds, equatorial rainforests and active volcanoes – truly one of the most untamed countries on the surface of the earth.
However, the DCR boasts many beautiful landscapes, with lakes, forests, waterfalls and numerous rivers that traverse the country, of which the Congo River is the largest. The natural scenery is diverse and characterized by a tropical rainforest that covers more than half of the country. The central plateau rises to volcanoes and mountains in the east, where one can find the diverse wildlife of the Congo, including the famous mountain gorillas. Plateaus form into savannas in the south, and in the northern regions there are grasslands around the river basin.
Wildlife in Democratic Republic of Congo
 
The Wildlife in Democratic Republic of Congo is diverse and wide ranging. Democratic Republic of Congo’s natural gift as a wildlife remains unmatched in the entire world. There are numerous national parks in the whole country that thrives in wide array of wild animals. At the Democratic Republic of Congo rainforests, you can find a great biodiversity that comprise a large number of rare and endemic species. But the best thing about the Wildlife in Democratic Republic of Congo and the natural reserves are that it remains unharmed and unspoiled in their natural habitat.
 
There are various rare species but both the species of chimpanzees, the common chimpanzee and the bonobo are the most important. It is only in this country that you will find the bonobos or the Pygmy chimpanzees in the wild. Here, you will get to see a large number of other animals like okapi, mountain gorilla and white rhino. Democratic Republic of Congo Wildlife is sheltered in protected national parks.
 
The Democratic Republic of Congo has a number of national parks that are listed in the World Heritage Sites. Five major national parks in the country that are recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage In Danger are the Kahuzi-Biega National Park, Garumba National Park, Salonga and Virunga National Parks and the Okapi Wildlife Reserve. These national parks can also be the places for Sightseeing in Democratic Republic of Congo. 
 
The long terrain of the jungle has swamp regions and flooded grasslands. These regions are ideal for the growth of wide range of floras as well. The Raphia palm and the species of Manilkara and the Garcinia are also found in these grasslands. During your Democratic Republic of Congo Tours, you can explore more of these regions as well as the Wildlife in Democratic Republic of Congo. 
Language
French is the official language of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is meant to be an ethnically neutral language, to ease communication among the many different ethnic groups of the Congo.
There are an estimated total of 242 languages spoken in the country. Out of these, only four have the status of national languages: Kikongo, Lingala, Tshiluba and Swahili.
Tourist Attractions
In Kinshasa, the Central Market of Matongé (Marché Central) is a lively place to soak up some local atmosphere and find cheap souvenirs, while the Symphonies Naturelles forest is teaming with African wildlife. Also in Kinshasa is the acclaimed AAC Bonobo Nursery Sanctuary, which is known for its invaluable conservation work relating to endangered bonobo chimpanzees. Tourists visiting Kisantu will notice that the beautiful Kisantu Botanical Gardens certainly stand out, while in Lubumbashi, the country's number two city, the popular Valle de la Lufira nature reserve certainly comes highly recommended.
 
Shopping in Democratic Republic of Congo
 
Among the various Things to do at Democratic Republic of Congo shopping can be very important. The local craft wares and handicrafts are really very impressive. You can visit the handicraft shops and pick up some interesting stuffs. The local craft wares, which you can buy, include ebony carvings, bracelets and paintings. Various other interesting items range from fresh ginger to baskets and African carvings. Cameras, beverages, perfumes, souvenirs are other good buys.
 
Dining in Democratic Republic of Congo
 
The Nganda restaurants in Democratic Republic of Congo are quite popular. The Nganda restaurants are the traditional restaurants that cater delicacies from particular parts of the country. Western imports like beer and bread are also available here. The Riverside Nganda specializes in baked fish that are served with cooked plantains. The Kongo Nganda rustles up fish dishes with vegetable sauce. Some of these restaurants include Lolo La Crevette, Dusty Dishes, La Savane and many others.
 
Nightlife in Democratic Republic of Congo
 
Among various other Democratic Republic of Congo Things to do, nightlife is very happening. There are a number of night clubs, bars, discos and pubs that adds spice to the life of the people. Once the sun is down, the life becomes very happening and lively
 
All these various Things to do in Democratic Republic of Congo will make your tour to this place a memorable experience which you will cherish for life.

Among the main tourist attractions of the DRC are national parks, museums, botanical and zoological site and several sites of interest in connection with the history of the country and its culture and traditions.

KEMPINSKI FLAG NOW FLIES IN AFRICA'S 3rd LARGEST CITY

Kempinski Hotels take over management of Kempinski Hotel Fleuve Congo, Kinshasa

Kinshasa, DRC August 1, 2014; Kempinski began its management contract for Kempinski Hotel Fleuve Congo on August 1st following the signing of an eleven-year management agreement in Geneva in January.

Named after Africa’s largest river, the hotel is located near its banks in the heart of the embassy district in the Commune of Gombe. The hotel’s 22 floors offer elevated views over the Congo River, and the capital cities of Kinshasa and neighbouring Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, which sit on opposite sides of the river.  The tallest building in the Gombe area, the property was originally designed for offices and was beautifully transformed into a luxury hotel in 2012. 

The hotel’s 237 contemporary rooms - including 42 suites, are now bookable on Kempinski.com. Three specialty restaurants, four bars, and five meeting and events spaces, including an auditorium with seating for 250 attendees, provide ample space for entertaining large groups and conferences.  Guests have access to three boutiques and a florist conveniently located in the lobby. Leisure facilities include two floodlit outdoor tennis courts, an outdoor swimming pool, a fitness centre, and billiard and snooker rooms.  The extensive landscaped grounds provide a welcome respite from the busy city life of Africa’s third-largest city, and a full-service spa is being designed for the hotel.

The hotel is ideal for business travellers and groups looking for five-star luxury in close proximity to the country’s principal governing bodies, diplomatic and media organizations, and international corporations located in the Gombe area. With a full range of leisure facilities available at the hotel and Kinshasa’s 18-hole golf course a mere five minutes away, Kempinski Hotel Fleuve Congo is also ideal for visitors and Kinshasa residents looking for a place to relax and enjoy five-star luxury.

Kempinski Hotels currently operates 74 hotels in 31 countries and has 40 hotels under development worldwide.  President and CEO of Kempinski Hotels, Mr Reto Wittwer said that following the company’s successful expansion into the Middle East and China over the past twenty years, Kempinski expects its growing portfolio across the African continent to become a major source of revenue for the company, as well as provide new sources of talent and for further talent development across the company.

Speaking about the new management agreement Mr Wittwer stated, “Signing the agreement for Kempinski Hotel Fleuve Congo was part of our plan for expansion in Africa over the next few years. By partnering with key players on the continent to secure the best locations for our luxury properties we will continue to be the pioneer of luxury hospitality in Sub-Saharan Africa. Our distinct brand of European luxury and operational know-how makes us a leader in all the markets we operate in, and we expect that our new property here in Kinshasa will be no different.”

On selecting Kempinski as the management company for his hotel, owner Mr Mao Huai Cong said, “I chose to invest in Kinshasa because of the growth and economic potential I see in the country. I chose Kempinski Hotels to manage my hotel because of their reputation as leaders in the luxury hospitality sector. I expect Kempinski to put its management knowledge to work so that I can get a good return on my investment and to ensure that Kempinski Hotel Fleuve Congo is the top hotel in the DRC and known for its impeccable service.”

About Kempinski Hotels

Created in 1897, Kempinski Hotels is Europe’s oldest luxury hotel group. Kempinski’s rich heritage of impeccable personal service and superb hospitality is complemented by the exclusivity and individuality of its properties. Kempinski now comprises a portfolio of 73 five-star hotels in 30 countries and continues to add new properties in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Each one reflects the strength and success of the Kempinski brand without losing sight of its heritage. The portfolio consists of historic landmark properties, award-winning urban lifestyle hotels, outstanding resorts and prestigious residences. Each one imbues the quality guests have come to expect from Kempinski while also embracing the cultural traditions of its location. Furthermore, Kempinski is a founding member of the Global Hotel Alliance (GHA), the world’s largest alliance of independent hotels. 

To book or for further information visit    www.kempinski.com/press • www.globalhotelalliance.com

VISIT VIRUNGA NATIONAL PARK, A UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE AND EXCITING AFRICAN EXPERIENCE FOR
THOSE OF ADVENTUROUS SPIRIT SEEKING SOMETHING A LITTLE DIFFERENT
 
Virunga National Park is a 7800 square kilometer World Heritage Site that lies on the eastern border of the Democratic Republic of Congo. 
It is the oldest, most beautiful and most diverse national park on the African continent that and boasts savannas, lava plains, swamps,
 erosion valleys, forests, active volcanoes and the ice fields of the Rwenzori Mountains.
The park provides a home to numerous species of wildlife, including 200 of the world's critically endangered mountain gorillas and a small population
 of eastern lowland gorillas.
Now that the Democratic Republic of Congo is ruled by an elected government and is at peace with her neighbors, the park has been re-opened to
 tourists and the world is re-discovering one of its most treasured places.
With so much diversity in one park, Virunga offers the visitor opportunities that can be found in few other places. The three most popular attractions
include visiting mountain gorillas in their natural habitat, climbing an active volcano, and climbing the spectacular snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains.
As the park continues on the path of stability, more options will become available>
Where else in the world can you have exceptional opportunities to view the rearest primates and see active volcanoes!
Virunga National Park is a unique part of Africa
iccn.gorillacd.org
 
LODGES AND CAMPS
  • Mikeno Lodge
  • Bukima Patrol Post (Tented Camp)
  • Nyiragongo Crater Cabanes
In order to experience Virunga to its full potential we advise our guests to stay in one of Virunga National Park's camps and lodges in and around the park. Camps include Bukima Patrol Post, a small tented camp and the base of the mountain gorilla treks. On top of the Nyiragongo on the edge of the crater stand the Nyiragongo Crater Cabanes where you can spend a night within the orange glow of the Lava Lake. In the jungle of Rumangabo the brand new Mikeno Lodge is arising which will serve as a comfortable central spot for tourists to start their visit to Virunga National Park, at Mikeno Lodge you can also visit the only four captive (orphaned) mountain gorillas in the world, at the spacious Senkwekwe centre.
 
MIKENO LODGE

 

A Beautiful Lodge in the forests of the Virunga Mountains.
Mikeno Lodge is Virunga National Park's first lodge opening for tourists in July of 2011. Centered between three main tourist attractions, it is a perfect location to begin treks to see the gorillas, chimpanzees, and Nyiragongo volcano. Nestled among the trees of a virgin forest, the weather is cool, the views spectacular, and the lodging luxurious.
Location:
Mikeno Lodge is roughly one and half hours north of the city of Goma and can be found tucked into a forested hillside at Virunga National Park headquarters of Rumangabo. To the east is the Mikeno Gorilla Sector, and to the southwest is Nyiragongo Volcano. To the west, the chimpanzee treks begin in the forests of Tongo.
Dining, Bar, and Lounge:
As you enter the main lodge you will receive a warm welcome before descending steps into a spacious lounge and bar. Adjacent to the lounge, the dining room offers full-course meals included in the price of your stay. Both the bar and dining area open onto a large terrace providing the perfect location for a relaxing drink and sharing of the day's activities.
Accommodation:
Your private bungalow is made from lava stone with a natural thatch roof and a mahogany deck. The roomy interior includes cozy lounge seating around a stone fireplace, comfortable bedroom area, and a large bathroom equipped with hot-water shower and bath. On cool nights, the fireplace warms the bungalow, while on warm afternoons your private terrace provides a prime position for spotting the Blue and Colobus monkeys or baboons that use the surrounding trees as their playground.
Each of the 12 bungalows contains either a double or two single beds, giving the lodge a capacity of 24 guests. When combined with the use of a boardroom at the nearby park headquarters, the lodge is a perfect location for small conferences in a peaceful setting.
Activities:
The close proximity of the lodge to the Senkwekwe Center means guests have the opportunity to visit the four orphan gorillas living in a spacious natural enclosure with viewing platforms around the periphery. A 30-minute nature walk along a forest trail that encircles the hilltop is available for those who enjoy stretching their legs.
Whether your stay is the starting point for gorilla, volcano, and chimp adventures, or purely for a relaxing time-out in a peaceful location, Mikeno Lodge provides an indulgent experience among the wildlife and beauty of Virunga National Park.
 
PROTECT VIRUNGA
 
BECOME A VIRUNGA GUARDIAN BY DONATING $25 MONTHLY YOU WILL BE FINANCING CONGO'S RANGERS TO KEEP THIS GORILLA SECTOR PLATE FROM SNARES AND PROTECT THE MOUNTAIN GORILLAS.

Radio Okapi, a Fondation Hirondelle Project
Enabling the People of the Congo 
to Communicate

by Richard A. D'Angelo

A new shortwave broadcast station began operations in February 2002 from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Called Radio Okapi, the station is a joint project in the DRC by the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) and the Fondation Hirondelle, located in Switzerland. This DX Target will focus on the DRC, the Fondation Hirondelle (or Hirondelle Foundation) and, of course, the station, Radio Okapi.

The Country

The Democratic Republic of the Congo, located in central Africa, is one of the largest countries on the continent. French is the official language. Years of civil war and corruption have badly damaged the country's infrastructure. The DRC shares its borders with Angola, Zambia, Burundi, Sudan, Rwanda, Tanzania, the Central African Republic and the Republic of the Congo. The country's capital city is Kinshasa. Other important cities include Lubumbashi, Mbuji-Mayi and Kisangani. An international port is situated at Matadi on the Zaire River.

The DRC has one of the richest reserves of natural resources in the world. Although the country should benefit as a result of this fact, this is not the case. Together with economic mismanagement, the on-going conflict in the country has resulted in the economic decline of the DRC. The war has meant a decrease in national production in all industry sectors. The war in the DRC has claimed over a million lives. The conflict is by no means a clean-cut case of civil war, it is one of a multi-national character involving seven nations.

Formerly, the Belgian Congo, this territory was inhabited by ancient Negrito peoples (Pygmies), who were pushed into the mountains by Bantu and Nilotic invaders. The American correspondent Henry M. Stanley navigated the Congo River in 1877 and opened the interior to exploration. Commissioned by King Leopold II of Belgium, Stanley made treaties with native chiefs that enabled the king to obtain personal title to the territory at the Berlin Conference of 1885.

Brussels granted freedom to the former colony on 30 June 1960. The Katanga Province seceded from the new republic on July 11 beginning many years of national civil strife. In one form or another unstable governments and revolution since independence have besieged the former Belgian Congo.

Since 1997 the Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly called Zaire, has experienced ethnic strife and civil war, touched off by a massive inflow in 1994 of refugees from the fighting in Rwanda and Burundi. The government of former president Mobutu Sese Seko was toppled by a rebellion led by Laurent Kabila in May 1997. His regime was subsequently challenged by a Rwanda and Uganda-backed rebellion in August 1998. Troops from Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia, Chad, and Sudan intervened to support the Kinshasa regime. The DRC, Zimbabwe, Angola, Uganda, Namibia, and Rwanda signed a cease-fire on 10 July 1999 with Congolese armed rebel groups. Nevertheless, sporadic fighting has continued. Kabila was assassinated on 16 January 2001 and his son Joseph was named head of state on 26 January 2001. Despite taking a radically different approach than his father, the new president has been equally unsuccessful in ending the war.

The Hirondelle Foundation

The Hirondelle Foundation is an organization of journalists, which sets up and operates media services in crisis areas. It is the only organization in the world, which has such specialized experience in this field. As a result of its activities, a number of interesting radio stations appeared around the world. Unfortunately, many of these stations have had very short broadcasting lives.

Since its founding in 1995, Hirondelle has established and managed Radio Agatashya in the Great Lakes region of Africa, Star Radio in Liberia, the Hirondelle News Agency at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda at Arusha in Tanzania, Radio Blue Sky in Kosovo, Radio Ndeke Luka in Bangui in the Central African Republic, and Moris Hamutuk, a radio program for refugees in Timor. Its latest venture is Radio Okapi in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Foundation strongly believes that an independent media has a fundamental role to play in societies where authoritarian and non-democratic regimes are in power. In such situations, the traditional media tend to fall silent because of insecurity and physical risks. The Hirondelle Foundation collaborates in the development of tolerant and democratic societies and contributes to creating a responsible, civic-minded exchange of opinions within the public.

The following governments finance the projects of the Hirondelle Foundation: Switzerland, the European Community, the United States, the Netherlands, Sweden, Great Britain, France, Canada, Germany and Japan. International organizations involved include the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization ("UNESCO"), the International Committee of the Red Cross ("ICRC"), the International Foundation for Electoral Systems and the United Nations Development Program ("UNDP"). The Hirondelle Foundation falls under Swiss law.

One of the Hirondelle Foundation's cardinal rules is independence from political and economic influences. Independence can guarantee the impartiality of the Foundation's journalistic activities and ensure credibility to its audiences. The Foundation aims to create or support independent media. The staff of the Foundation comes from all nationalities and cultures.

The Foundation works to establish an independent media under the most difficult circumstances in authoritarian and non-democratic societies. The Fondation Hirondelle is usually active where conflict is endemic, where there are open hostilities or in post-conflict regions. It is also present in situations where the political, economic or social conditions are not as inviting for an independent media. Obviously, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is well suited for the media and communications expertise the Hirondelle Foundation offers.

The Station

Radio Okapi is named after a peaceful, four-legged mammal that lives mainly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and is a protected species. It has no known enemies. The okapi is well liked by the people of the DRC. Over the years, it has lent its name to various Congolese businesses. No political or military force has tried to appropriate the okapi's name in the past. The MONUC's station is the first such use of the okapi name.

Radio Okapi is the largest radio project that the United Nations and the Fondation Hirondelle have ever conducted. It is a radio operation enabling the people of the Congo to communicate with their compatriots. It is a radio station intended to work hand-in-hand with the peace process. Radio Okapi is a network of radio stations designed to cover this immense country of 2.4 million square kilometers, providing services for approximately 45 million inhabitants. The network center is in the capital, Kinshasa. There are six regional studios with plans for four other regional studios to be located in four political and military hotspots. The network is served by satellite, shortwave and FM transmitters and by the Internet.

Radio Okapi is a service aimed at a population suffering from years of military conflict and economic stagnation resulting in almost one million refugees and over two million displaced people. Three million people rely on daily food programs while about 300 thousand people are treated for malnutrition. The school attendance rate tumbled to 43% in 1999 from 70% in 1993. Programs are designed to contain non-partisan, credible information broadcast throughout the country. Programs are devoted to themes relating to health, education, human rights, culture and music. The first year's budget is nearly US$2 million. This should be less in succeeding years once the initial start up costs have been made. The operation will be run by around 100 journalists, presenters and staff, the majority of whom will be Congolese.

The project involves close co-operation between the United Nations and the Hirondelle Foundation with the aim of making a lasting contribution to peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It also involves co-operation with the existing media in the DRC, mainly with other radios in the fields of production and training. The project is a network of stations designed to continue into the post-MONUC phase.

Programs

Radio Okapi offers programs, which include news bulletins, magazines and music to everybody in the DRC, whether they are the parties to the conflict or the international community. All broadcasts fall under the authority of the MONUC, the United Nations Observer Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Radio Okapi broadcasts those programs that are prepared under the supervision of the Hirondelle Foundation.

Apart from news, these broadcasts focus on such topics as humanitarian aid with the main goal being the promotion of a peaceful solution to the conflict in the DRC. The programs produced by Radio Okapi are distributed free of charge to local radio under an agreement specifying the terms and conditions of their use and their rebroadcast.

Radio Okapi pays particular attention to the situation of the victims of the violence and war, refugees, displaced persons and those who are destitute and especially vulnerable. In its information and magazine programs, Radio Okapi provides specific information on the activities of the United Nations and its specialized agencies, as well as about the MONUC mission, its priorities, the problems it is facing and the peace process. Radio Okapi provides detailed coverage to the process of dialogue among the various political and military groups in the DRC.

The programs are produced and broadcast mainly in French, Lingala, Swahili, but also in Chiluba and in other local languages as well as English for members of the international community. Radio Okapi provides local, regional and international news. It produces magazines and interviews done on the spot.

Broadcasting and Production Facilities

The capital, Kinshasa, the headquarters of MONUC, has a central studio coordinating the national program. The shortwave broadcasting system based in Kinshasa covers the entire country. Each regional studio receives the program from Kinshasa and broadcasts it locally. A medium-powered FM transmitter adapted to the local topography provides FM quality reception in its area. The main program is also broadcast via the Internet and the latest news as well as specific programs are available on the Internet.

Radio Okapi
c/o Fondation Hirondelle
3, Rue Traversière
CH 1018-Lausanne
Switzerland  info@hirondelle.org

The Hirondelle Foundation is an organization of journalists which sets up and operates media services in crisis areas. It is the only organization in the world which has such specialized experience in this field. The Hirondelle Foundation collaborates in the development of tolerant and democratic societies and contributes to creating a responsible, civic-minded exchange of opinions within the public. The Foundation is particularly interested in justice, one of the preconditions for reconciliation in divided societies.