Positioned in the context of extreme poverty in a region recovering from 20 years of civil war, the Park’s future existence relies on its economic success and its contribution to peace-building and development in the region. Emmanuel de Merode, Chief Warden of the Park, and his team have created an ambitious plan to use the Park’s natural resources for sustainable socio-economic development. The plan is anchored by a major investment in free-flowing hydroelectric power to supply electricity to a significant proportion of the surrounding population of over 4 million people.
The primary mission of hydro-power is to stimulate economic development. The main customer target group is small and medium-sized enterprises, like Virunga Origins. Without access to this electricity, we would not be able to manufacture our chocolate, chia and coffee in Congo. The Virunga hydro-power plant keeps the value of the entire production process within the local community, ultimately benefiting the Park’s conservation efforts.
Dominique Persoone is our Rock-n-Roll chocolatier, and he has trained the Virunga Origins team in the noble art of chocolate making with his singular focus on quality and taste.
As a social enterprise, we make our products locally. Everyone who is involved in the making of our products benefits. 100% of all profits go back to Virunga National Park and its surrounding communities.