The Jengi Spirit and the forest

Bringing back the Jengi

It may sound odd to relate forest management with spiritual issues, but in the forests of southeastern Cameroon, the connection is obvious. There, WWF is implementing the Jengi Initiative, a pilot project to establish sustainable forest management and a protected areas system in the region’s forests.

To the BaAka pygmies, Jengi is the spirit of the forest. Jengi presides over the initiation ceremonies of youth and provides guidance for these forest people whose cultural, physical and spiritual lives depend on an intact forest. But the question is - is Jengi still looking after them?

Can the ‘forest islands’ scenario be averted?

Although Lake Lobéké National Park and Boumba-Bek-Nki national parks preserve part of the forests and help ensure a homeland for the BaAka, the speed and nature of current commercial logging, if unchecked, will result in 3 forest islands in a sea of devastation.

Poaching camps follow the bulldozers, the wildlife disappears, and in many villages, Jengi the forest spirit has not come for years.

What the Jengi Project does

The Jengi Project aims to halt and reverse forest mining; achieve large-scale sustainable forest management and timber production; develop alternative sources of income for local communities and develop a conservation trust fund to support the 3 protected areas.

This, hopefully, will restore Jengi as the guardian of the forest.

Find out more about our Jengi Initiative

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