The P-WAC Team
The P-WAC team wants above all to apply their collective skills and experience to benefit endangered species. With degrees and qualifications in environmental fields, and with significant experience in the field working with local populations and wildlife, our team works mainly with local personnel. It is those complementary skills that forms the strong foundation of the project. In a world of perpetual change, P-WAC hopes to bring real tools to local populations to help improve their daily lives, and do so in harmony with nature.
Amandine Renaud, Primatologist, PhD Student – President
After being a volunteer in great apes conservation programs in Africa and after gratuating a Master of Research in Primatology (UK), Amandine decided to dedicate her life toward conservation. Her first research focused on the adaptive abilities of chimpanzees reintroduced in the wild. After working in fundraising for conservation program, communication and education, she decided to create her own project : P- WAC, with the aim of fully integrating local communities in the preservation of biodiversity, something that is missing from her previous experiences. Currently, in addition to the management of P-WAC, she is preparing a thesis in anthropology of nature in order to understand the view of the Congolese female community toward great apes within P-WAC.
Véronique Bardollet, Sells manager – Secretary
Véronique has a career with a company selling textiles. Passionate about travel and music and who lived in Brazil for 4 years, she enjoys discovering new landscapes and cultures that provide a change from her daily routine. Very attached to animal care and interested in the impact of for profit companies on the environment, she tries to get involved and give her time to causes that she cares about. P-WAC crossed her path and our project immediately touched her with its focus on our close “cousins” and the influence it has on local populations.
Chantal Renaud, Commercial assistant – Treasurer
Chantal has always been sensitive to issues involving women and women’s literature. She is interested in changing the conditions of women and those who invest their efforts in animal welfare. After working in various fields, she settled on a career in accounting and finance. Today as a commercial assistant, she is the treasurer of P-WAC. She came to the center to meet the local team, with Véronique, during summer 2019.
Members of the Administrative Council
Farid Benhammou, PhD Geographer
Farid Benhammou, nicknamed «Mister Bear» is a geographer who has always been interested in human and wildlife interactions, which to him is an interesting way to know more about our species and society. Farid is a researcher who is intrigued and astonished by our ecosystem, and has always had an interest in the great apes, despite his specialisation in European carnivores. Today, teaching geography and affiliated with the LGP-CNRS-Bellevue lab, Farid brings his expertise to P-WAC thanks to his critical analysis and his experience as a researcher.
Geographer by training, Marie has always been passionate about nature and animals and very interested by the plight of the bear and the conflict its reintroduction has created in the Pyrenees mountains, the topic of her 2007 research project. Along with her husband, she has dedicated herself to the creation and management of workshops on the topic of wildlife and human interaction. She tries to reconcile the conflict between humans and wildlife by offering opportunities to the public to think together about novel solutions to the problem, breaking away from the usual ways of thinking. Concerned about the fate of the great apes, she has found in P-WAC her way to also participate in the conservation of our closest relatives.
Logistics expert and an expat in Africa for ten years, Alexis had traveled to most of the Central African countries before he encountered Amandine and P-WAC at Matadi in the Kongo Central in 2017. Passionate about travel, nature and open spaces, it was during his numerous visits to the P-WAC camp that he became interested in Congo primate conservation and decided to add his support in the form of a solar panel electrification installation at the camp through an online fundraising campaign, a project that would be completed a few weeks later. Since then, he has provided help and his experience to Amandine on the ground as well as when dealing with the Congolese administration. He joined the P-WAC Administrative Council in March 2018.
Carolyn Renaud,Web Marketing
With a BA degree in French language and literature at San Jose State, and an MBA in accounting from Golden Gate University in San Francisco, Carolyn has had a career in various technology companies in Silicon Valley. Today she manages website design projects and other web marketing activities. Interested in nature, animals, education, science and technology, she supports environmental and climate organizations as well as animal welfare organizations. She helps P-WAC with translations and communications for the English-speaking regions and helps seek funding and support in the North American region. Carolyn is an honorary member of P-WAC and has brought us this website and all our English translations.
Team Communication : Amandine (Company manager), Marie-Hélène (Logistics Manager at Event Catering) et Elisa (Graphic Designer).
Team exhibitions : Nathalie, Emma, Claudine, Corinne, Sophie and Chiara provide volunteer help now and then. Chantal and Véronique.
P-WAC TEAM IN CONGO
.Celestin has been present since the beginning of the project. After starting as a tracker, he quickly distinguished himself from others by his involvement and his desire to solve each problem. He has become an assistant of choice for Amandine: he recruits the staff, takes care of the logistics and the orders of fruits for the little ones, and is also a privileged interlocutor in the meetings with the villagers. He has also become a chimpanzee caregiver.
Papa Bongalo has been at P-WAC since 2017. A Cabindan refugee, he learned to speak French in just a few months! He started as a camp guardian. Papa Bongalo is a real inhabitant of the forest. He has incredible knowledge. He heals with local plants and through his experience in the tropical jungle, he knows a lot about animals. An excellent observer, he became friends with Muké, one of the orphans of the camp, who initially had a sometimes difficult behavior. With patience and tenderness, he became a substitute dad. Today he is a makaku caregiver (monkey).
.Blanchard has been part of P-WAC since 2019. Originally a sentinel, he has also become a primate caregiver along the way: he is good with both chimpanzees and cercopithecus. A former school teacher, he deals with weather reports, daily reports. He also helps with care and has recently been trained in mapping. Finally, he brings his knowledge of reforestation, and has planted 250 fruit trees on our site in 2019 !
Papi joined P-WAC in 2018 during construction. A handler, he always wants to do well and is a great worker: he became a guardian in 2019 and ensures the security of the camp. Because of his observant side, and his kindness, he joined the team of caretakers being assigned to the small cercopithecus.
Tito, Nestor et Irlain
Tito started at the same time as Celestin, at the beginning of the project. Also present for the mapping of the site’s boundary, he stood out for his impressive strength and tireless energy. Eager to get a full-time job, he showed his prowess and adaptability in various fields. He loves to learn and so became an eco-guards, while continuing various other missions, including construction and welding.
Nestor started at P-WAC in 2017 as a construction worker. His past experience as a school teacher makes him a perfect candidate for awareness raising and eco-guard patrols. He showed his interest in monkeys and when rotations demand it, he is also a substitute for the project’s caregiver and sentinel.
Irlain is the sentinel of the camp, in other words, the guardian. He ensures the security of the camp, welcomes occasional passersby, but does not stop there. He joined P-WAC in 2019.
The women at P-WAC
P-WAC has always wanted to include women in the project, especially as surrogate mothers. Due to the isolation of the camp and sanitary protocols, the rotations of the healers and substitute parents are long and do not allow a return to the village each evening. Thus, unfortunately, the husbands of the women did not allow them to travel to work for several days in a row, leaving children and household chores to the men. Unmarried women did not accept the positions proposed for fear of not finding a husband while staying at the camp for long stays. So we decided to assign our reforestation project to the women, so that they could come to work for the day and go home at night. Our Group of Rural Women for Reforestation will be presented soon!