Hi, this is Tuver,
While many of the communities situated on the edge of the Virunga Massif don’t have access to electricity, this doesn’t mean that people living around the protected area can’t see films about their endangered cousins. In fact, thanks to the pedal-powered cinemas we’re running with the Great Apes Film Initiative (GAFI), films can now be screened in even the most-remote villages. Not only does this mean children and adults alike can learn about gorillas and their precious habitat, but many also get to watch a film for the first time in their lives!
Over recent days, we’ve been setting up our mobile cinema in the region surrounding the Mount Muhabura, an extinct volcano sitting on the border between Rwanda and Uganda. With the support of the Wildlife Clubs of Uganda, around 2,240 pupils from the Kaber, Gisozi and Chanika primary schools have watched the films, with most only too happy to power the projector, as you can see below.
It’s always great to see the look on people’s faces when the films are screened. The cinemas are always packed and there’s always silence as scientists explain all about the great apes up on the big screen.
Such is the excitement generated when our team arrives into a village, people working in the surrounding fields often put down their tools to come and watch our films. What’s more, they’re usually keen to help out with the pedalling, even though they will have to get back to their work once the show is over
Since the programme was launched back in November 2010, around 21,400 people have watched these pedal-powered films, and we hope this will increase to 60,000 by the end of October. Judging by the debates that take place after each screening, it’s obvious that the films are a real hit, with many people wanting to learn more about gorillas or even visit them for themselves. So let’s hope that the success of our Ugandan bike-powered cinemas can be replicated across the border in Rwanda and also in DR Congo in the months and years ahead.
Here are a couple more pictures of the cinema in action…