Third year Newcastle University Biology and Media students are looking forward to volunteering at The Cross River Gorilla Project this year.
The Cross River Gorilla Project aims to preserve the critically endangered Cross River gorilla and support local rainforest communities in Cameroon.
Michael Fatouros, a third year Media, Communications and Cultural Studies student is partaking to develop his employability skills. He said: “I hope I gain some experience on how non-governmental organisations operate in terms of responsibilities, duties and workload –and get some hands-on experience in relation to PR and Marketing.”
These beneficial effects have been echoed by Ramona Slusarczyk, a Global Public Relations lecturer in Newcastle University and an associate of The Cross River Gorilla Project. She said: “Charities offer their time to our students and facilitate their hands-on work which can serve as a showcase for students’ future employment.”
“Students feel more accountable for the outcomes of their work as they are answerable to a real client and face real challenges such as working on a low budget, while organisations gain much-needed PR advice.”
“I’m very inspired and impressed by Newcastle University’s students, whose drive and dedication makes me feel enthused and motivated as an educator.”
There are currently 300 cross-river gorillas remaining worldwide, and it has been estimated by researchers that by 2030, they could become extinct if no action is taken.
Recently, The Cross River Gorilla Project has been facing a challenging situation due to the unresolved conflict between the Anglophone minority and the Cameroonian government. This resulted in civilians fleeing to towns and building camps in the forest, which adds more strain on the gorilla’s survival, as civilians need food and shelter.
The Cross River Gorilla Project is a Newcastle-based charity founded in 1999 by John Daniels, a retired headteacher from Northumberland, after witnessing the devastations in Cameroon for himself.
Last year, The Cross River Gorilla Project held a dinner and silent auction event at the Great North Museum, raising £3,000.
This year The Cross River Gorilla Project are organising a fundraising gala at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, London on 29th March, with high-profiled guests from the UK and Cameroon.