Electric Pedals has been working with GAFI to create the world’s first pedal-powered field cinema which was piloted during a tour of the Virunga Volcano region of Kisoro and Kabale in Southern Uganda.
Although a bicycle powered cinema is not an original concept, this system is unique in that it uses the energy from just one person to show films to hundreds.
We intend to take our cinema to some of the most remote villages in the area and share conservation films with the local communities. Our aim is to educate local people and encourage them to protect the last remaining mountain gorillas which live in forests which surround them. Recent figures tell us that there are little more than 740 left in existence.
There are issues of deforestation (for fuel and food for local communities), over-farming (for local livelihoods) and poaching. All of which need to be addressed and regulated to ensure local people and wildlife can live harmoniously. Sadly often poachers aren’t even targeting gorillas when then become caught in their snares. These catastrophic errors and a lack of understanding about local wildlife and ecologies could cost the world an entire species.
I was fortunate to attend the first 3 weeks of the pedal-powered cinema tour and my experience was extraordinary. Even in this short time we reached around 12,000 people in schools across the Kisoro district. Many of these schools didn't have electricity and so for many of the children and teachers this was the first time they had seen a film. The fact a bicycle could be used to generate power to show a film also had a huge impact. Many teachers declared it as a miracle!
While we were there we took the opportunity to explain the science behind the system and the teachers themselves learned about the fundamentals of physics which they could then share with the children. At the end of our session, each school planted three trees donated by us and pledged to start a tree nursery.
The pedal-powered cinema creates the ideal situation to talk about conservation and sustainable solutions for these communities and Uganda for the future. We have been inundated with requests from other schools in the area asking that we take the pedal-powered cinema to them too.
Since my return we’ve had interest from a large number of other charities and conservation groups including the Sumatran Orangutan Society, who would like to utilize the pedal-powered cinema in numerous countries around the world. Our plan is to partner with GAFI so that they can replicate the idea and spread the word for as many causes as we possibly can.
There is a lovely article written by Charlotte Moore here.
And a post on the Gorilla Organisation's Blog called Gorilla conservation goes pedal powered!