Sustainble Futures presents … John Kahekwa

Thursday 11 November 2021

In the wake of his recent nomination for the Earthshot Prize, the University of Exeter Business School’s Sustainable Futures Department is delighted to host the conservationist and social entrepreneur John Kahekwa for a unique keynote lecture followed by a Q&A session.


John Kaheka’s story

Growing up, John Kahekwa Munihuzi dreamed of working with the endangered gorillas. He believed that the fates of the gorillas and local people were bound together, living in poverty and amidst war in the Kahuzi-Biega National Park in the DRC.

In 1992, Kahekwa founded the Pole Pole Foundation to focus on the root causes of deforestation and bushmeat poaching: poverty and hunger in the community.

Today, the Foundation runs farming projects that grow low-cost, nutritious foods. It helps former poachers gain new skills, while teaching the importance of conservation to the next generation. And it has planted over four million new trees, erecting a ‘buffer zone’ between people and the natural world.

Meaning “slowly, slowly” in Kiswahili, the Pole Pole Foundation proves that, with time and effort, the rewards do come. Pole Pole’s model can be replicated across the world, helping people and nature thrive together.

Pole Pole Foundation was a finalist for the 2021 Earthshot Prize, known as the most prestigious global environment prize in history, designed to incentivise change and help repair our planet over the next ten years.