Environmental and Spiritual Regression among the Forest Dwellers

Shalom University of Bunia

This research, undertaken by a team of faculty at Shalom University, seeks to address two major issues. It seeks to understand why the socioeconomic conditions of Ituri forest dwellers are not improving as compared to the Bantu migrants in the forest, even though they have shifted from subsistence exploitation of forest natural resources to commercial trading. It also asks why the original forest dwellers are returning to traditional beliefs and practices after having been Christian for the past century. This research will establish the responsibility of the local communities and newcomers in mismanaging natural resources; it will help the local communities understand the need for an equal distribution of economic gains among beneficiaries; it will create awareness of creation care among the Ituri elite; and it will help the church discover the factors behind the reduced impact of the Gospel on the traditional beliefs of Ituri forest dwellers.