The Pole Pole Foundation (POPOF) is a Non-Governmental Organization created in 1992 by workers in and around the Kahuzi Biega National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Pole Pole is Swahili, meaning slow and steady. The objective of POPOF is the long-term protection and conservation of the wildlife in Kahuzi Biega National Park, particularly the eastern lowland gorilla, through reduction of human pressure on its natural resources and wildlife by involving and supporting communities in the vicinity of the park. This area of the Congo is the last remaining habitat of the eastern lowland gorilla and other wildlife species.
Despite years of war in the Great Lakes Region, and in the DRC in particular, POPOF continues to develop initiatives aimed at improving the living conditions of people in the area and enlisting the local population in actively protecting natural resources. Projects include reforestation, environmental education, and most significantly, job-creation to provide income to families that formerly relied on poaching and foraging in the park as a means of survival.
Programme partners include the Canadian Ape Alliance, Rotary Club (Canada), Zerofootprint (Canada), Partners in Conservation (USA) and Gorilla Org (UK). With the help of these international NGO's, POPOF has recently provided a school for children of the park guards, a cassava mill for the guards' families and a poultry farm for guards' widows to provide eggs to the nearby nursery school.