Community ecotourism project at Taï
An ecotourism project to support the local population and the women in Taï
The local population is located between Taï National Park in Côte d’Ivoire and the Grebo-Krahn National Park in Liberia, which forms an obstacle for developing more agricultural areas. Rapid population growth, a high unemployment rate, and a lack of training in younger generations has lead to excessive exploitation of natural resources and to unsustainable management of the land.
In 2001, the population of Taï requested that Professor Christophe Boesch, founder and president of the Wild Chimpanzee Foundation, support the community in developing an ecotourism project so that they too could benefit from the presence of the Taï National Park. In 2002, the Ivorian civil crisis prevented the project from being launched. However, with peace restored, in 2010, the Wild Chimpanzee Foundation started the ecotourism project in collaboration with the Ivorian Office of Parks and Reserves and the local population to support the sustainable development of an often forgotten region.
An essential element of this community project is the inclusion of women. Women work as ecoguides in the forest, present traditional dances, and accommodate visitors in traditional huts. The ecotourism project ensures gender equality, respect for women and men, their traditions and culture, and is positively embraced by the population of Taï.
The innovation of this project is the fusion of conservation and sustainable development. The Nature and Culture experience project benefits both the local population and the improves conservation of the Taï National Park.