ELAW Fellow Olivier Ndoole: Defending Communities & Protecting Natural Resources in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Olivier Ndoole (left) meets with community members at his office in Goma, DRC.

We are pleased to welcome Olivier Bahemuke Ndoole to Eugene for a 10-week ELAW Fellowship. Olivier is Executive Secretary at Alerte Congolaise pour l’Environnement et les Droits de l’Homme (Congolese Alert for the Environment and Human Rights — ACEDH), based in Goma, North Kivu Province, DRC.
ACEDH was launched in 2008 in response to community violence and human rights abuses tied to illegal exploitation of natural resources and wildlife trafficking in and around Virunga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the world’s only mountain gorillas.
“Land rights are an engine for social and economic development,” says Olivier. “We must strengthen these rights, and build transparency, to promote economic growth, meet basic needs, and realize human rights.”
ACEDH defends communities and the environment in Virunga, including farmers who have been deprived of their pastures near Nyirangongo Volcano. ACEDH also works to educate communities near Lake Kivu about plans to exploit methane gas from this lake shared with Rwanda, and works to protect Lake Albert and Lake Edward from illegal fishing. ACEDH also provides training to judges to better fight trafficking in natural resources and endangered animal species.
Olivier’s ELAW Fellowship will include one-on-one meetings with ELAW staff, field trips in the Pacific Northwest, and English study at the University of Oregon American English Institute (AEI) where he has been awarded a Director’s Distinction Scholarship.
Support from The 11th Hour Project is making it possible to expand ELAW’s work in Francophone Africa, including hosting Olivier for a capacity-building Fellowship.
Many thanks to The 11th Hour Project and AEI for making Olivier’s ELAW Fellowship possible.

Maggie Keenan
Communications Director
Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide