HOPE4APESat theHope 4 Apes at the Savoy logoHosted by Sir David Attenborough

Hosted by Sir David Attenborough

Denis Agaba & students of Crowton Primary

Denis Agaba & students of Crowton Primary

Ten Cheshire schools were privileged to take part in the pilot tour of the GAFI (Great Ape Film Initiative) “Pedal Powered Cinema” Schools Tour in September.

Launched at the SAVOY hotel London at the HOPE4APES event, the tour was intended to promote awareness of the urgent need for conservation of the Great Apes in vulnerable places, whilst developing links between schools in the UK and Uganda. The tour was introduced at the SAVOY by a host of leading film and media professionals and renowned conservationalists, including: Sir David Attenborough, Ian Redmond, Virginia McKenna, Charlotte Uhlenbroek and Brian May. Funds raised during the tour will be used to buy six pedal powered cinemas to send to Uganda.

The cinema, created by alternative energy pioneers “Electric Pedals”, is a portable set of equipment consisting of a DVD and projector running off electricity generated by a dynamo, which is powered by pedalling a standard bicycle. Pedal Powered Cinemas can be taken to the heart of the remotest communities in Africa and South East Asia, to show local people films about the importance of conserving their local environment, in particular the habitats of the Great Apes. Many of these communities have no idea that these endangered animals live in such close proximity to their homes and villages and have never seen a Great Ape before. Watching films through PPC allows them to realise that they have a vital responsibility to protect their local environment and the endangered creatures that live within it. Madelaine Westbrook, the GAFI Project Director said that the impact of the films has been phenomenal,

“In three weeks, over 12,000 people saw the films shown on the first Pedal-Powered Cinema. There is nothing I have ever seen to compare to the wonder in the eyes of tens of thousands of children as they watch the films. - Madelaine Westwood, Director of GAFI.

The Cheshire Schools Tour was led by Denis Agaba, Chief Project Co-ordinator for the Great Apes Film Initiative (GAFI) in Uganda . Spearheading the GAFI Pedal Power Cinema education programme since 2010, he has reached over 120,000 local people. Denis, along with Emma Tyrell a GAFI Volunteer, brought a Pedal Power cinema kit to each Cheshire school and led an assembly showing a series of films powered by the pedalling of the students and teachers! Community events were also held at Overleigh St. Marys CE Primary and the Ring O Bells pub in Christleton. Cheshire West Sustainability Officer Ashley Jones is now working alongside GAFI and Overleigh St. Marys Primary to initiate a twinning programme.

“This is just the start of a very exciting project. The children were captivated by the images on screen and are keen to help make a difference to the critical plight of the Great Apes. Each school will now be twinned with a school in Uganda, allowing the children to have a powerful insight into the lives of children in Uganda and their conservation work.” Nicky Bolton, Overleigh St. Marys CE Primary School , GAFI Cheshire Tour Coordinator.

Schools visited: Overleigh St. Marys CE Primary, Catholic High School, Christleton Primary School, Barrow Primary, Upton West Lea Primary, Ashton Hayes Primary, Westminster Community Primary, Woodland Primary, Victoria Road Primary, Crowton Christchurch Primary. Images courtesy of Emma Tyrrell

GAFI are currently purchasing a UK Pedal Powered cinema and will be rolling out the Twinning programme to schools across the UK. Schools interested in taking part in the next tour should contact

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