Our Research

Research is an important part of Groupe Utalii Kwetu in its quest to leverage ecotourism for conservation, leading the DR Congo to sustainable development while playing its key role in maintaining the global balance of ecosystems.



The overarching goal of the department of research of Groupe Utalii Kwetu is to develop an integrated evolutionarily-informed framework for protecting and managing the Congolese tropical rainforest under climate change that is grounded in the socioeconomic constraints of the region. The research includes aspects of ecotourism, ecology, biology, climate change, and socioeconomics research.

Over the past 6 months since the research department was launched, our researchers have started producing relevant knowledge that will help us to fully understand the challenges and opportunities in the environmental protection sector in DR Congo. The assessments, we believe will lay a ground for decision making for policy makers, funders, nonprofit leaders…. The baseline evaluations are including / will include a wide range of topics such as agroforestry and agriculture, wild meat and nutrition, wood fuel and energy, and logging and livelihoods.

From the year 2026, findings from the above assessments will guide our actions to realizing our 2020-2030 strategic plan. Those actions will focus on implementing a set of activities involving government officials (policy making and implementation), native communities (sustainable revenue-generating activities), international NGOS and public-private partnerships to translate improved knowledge into action on the ground, to promote a more sustainable management of the Congolese tropical rainforest.


Our research participants :
– Senior scientists
– Early career scientists
– Postdoctoral researchers
– Students
– Organizations working in research
Our area of focus :

The Congo Basin is home to the second largest tropical forest in the world, but it is well behind Southeast Asia and the Amazon region in terms of attracting international funding for sustainable management and nature protection.

The Central African rainforest is a global public good, as a nonprofit, Groupe Utalii Kwetu believes that boosting international support for this natural thermostat and haven of biodiversity is key to make sure we keep this earth livable.

Rich of more than 100 researchers, expert in areas related to tourism and environmental protection, we are glad to provide them with an integrative research program focused on biodiversity conservation solutions.

The rainforests of the Congo Basin is one of the most important centers of biological diversity in the world, harboring roughly 20% of all known species of plants and animals. While numerous efforts have been made to prioritize environmental protection in the region, habitat conversion and deforestation continue at an alarming rate, not only disrupting the dispersal abilities of remaining populations but also severely limiting their capacity to respond to future climate change. Previous conservation did not involve ecotourism and education as one of solutions to protect the Congolese biological diversity.
Through our research, we are addressing these problems using an innovative strategy that is both evolutionarily informed and multi-disciplinary in nature.
We aim to:
1) Understand spatial patterns of biodiversity across DR Congo;
2) infer the underlying evolutionary and ecological processes that generate the rich biodiversity of the region;
3) To provide evidence on the effectiveness eco-tourism as a way for conservation;
4) To document the relationship between energy use and deforestation in DR Congo;
5) To document the effectiveness of environment education to protect the Congolese tropical rainforest;

We believe that investing in research can lead to economic development.

Some of our research
– Completed

1. Topic: Contribution of agroforestry to climate change mitigation and livelihoods in Eastern Congo, case of Rutshuru territory, 2020
Author : jacques Kachelewa, Degree in Agricultural Science from the University of Kisangani
Email: kachelewak@gmail.com | +243 991 513 458

Abstract: We test the hypothesis that agroforestry improves livelihoods and mitigates climate change in smallholder farming systems simultaneously. Data were collected using household surveys and standard biomass assessment approaches using locally relevant allometric equations. Summary statistics and regression analyses reveal linkages between on-farm carbon stocks and farm- and household characteristics. The results suggest that gaining self-sufficiency in firewood is the most important benefit with on-farm carbon accumulation.
These results ostensibly contradict that carbon storage in smallholder farms is determined by diversity of tree species, suggest that livelihood strategy can equally drive carbon storage and demonstrate the diversity of livelihood and environmental benefits derived from trees on farms.

IMAGE DEPICTING AGRO FORESTRY (Farm with scattered tres)


– In progress

3. Topic: Environmental education outcomes for conservation: A longitudinal study
Case of “Programme Utalii Kwetu” in Eastern Congo from 2022-2028
Author : Veridique Musambaghani, MBA in Finance and Accounting from St Lawrence University, Certificates in leadership and entrepreneurship from CESAG University, UNR and Drexel University.
Email: veridique12@gmail.com | +243 977 155 189

Abstract: Effective environmental education represents more than a unidirectional transfer of information: rather, this suite of tools develops and enhances environmental attitudes, values, and knowledge, as well as builds skills that prepare individuals and communities to collaboratively undertake positive environmental action.
To better understand the above, a longitudinal study is being done on 6 175 students around Virunga National park, one of the most threatened and most important protected area on the continent. The research is focused on a program called ‘’Utalii Kwetu’’, a program introducing for the very first-time environmental education in the DR Congo educational system with the overall goal to prepare our children to future positive environmental action. Utali Kwetu pilot program started in 2022 with low level primary school children and will keep evolving with them from grade 1 to grade 6. Through the entire pilot phase of the program, the researcher will repeatedly examine the same individuals to detect any changes that might occur over a period of time to document the effectiveness of environmental education to positive environmental action for proper conservation.


– Upcoming research
4. Topic: Impact of climate Change on Agriculture in DR Congo, case of Southern Congo

Through this research GUK nonprofit aims to provide new insights into how climate change may impact agriculture across the country. The research should use the global CMIP and Cordex models with the overall goal to demonstrate how rising temperatures and rainfall declines in certain regions may lead to declines in key staple crops such as maize, soybean and cassava. It should provide further insights which could include but not be limited to proposing the breeding of new crops as well as provide other agricultural techniques under the adaptation bracket of the fight against climate change in DR Congo.
Click here to partnership with us on this project (this link shoud lead to a form where we take the name of the person, his organization, his email and his interest)
5. The role of renewable energy in mitigating deforestation and climate change in DR Congo

There are strong concerns over greenhouse gas (GHGs) buildup in the atmosphere which is leading to global climate change. Most of the energy supply and use for cooking and heating in the country is derived from fuel wood.
This proposed research will provide an overview of the role of renewable energy in mitigating deforestation and climate change in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Click here to partnership with us on this project

6. Complexity in balancing conservation and tourism in protected areas: Case of 5 national parks in the DR Congo

This study will aim to highlight ongoing issues in protected areas (PAs) of the DR Congo and presents management suggestions for Congolese PAs, most them having their biodiversity threatened even though some of them are listed on the World’s heritage list.
It aims to document the effectiveness of the strategy to leverage tourism for conservation in a country where most PAs operate without management plans. The overall goal of the research is to set a ground for the development of regulations leading to Public-Private Partnerships to improve the management of protected areas of the DR Congo for proper conservation.
Click here to partnership with us on this project

Browse our researchers directory (This should be a link, linking to a directory of our researchers, each of our researchers will have a dedicated page on our website, that page should include his / her headshot, a short bio not more that 1700 characters, area of experiences, a list of former research conducted).

we expect to have up to 50 researchers on the website