Staff Spotlight: Dario Merlo, JGI-DRC
Dario Merlo is the project coordinator for the Jane Goodall Institute’s community-centered conservation program in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC-CCC). The DRC-CCC program is a holistic approach to conservation. By improving health care, providing reproductive health services, and supporting local people to develop sustainable and more efficient agricultural and livestock practices, the program aims to build communities’ capacity for conservation.
As the project coordinator, Mr. Merlo is responsible for overseeing implementation of the DRC-CCC program while managing activities implemented in collaboration with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International (DFGFI) and the Union of Associations for Gorilla Conservation and Community Development in Eastern DRC (UGADEC). More recently, Dario has led JGI's efforts to develop a Great Ape Conservation Action Plan for eastern DRC, in partnership with local, regional, and national government and nongovernment actors.
Prior to assuming the role of project coordinator in October 2007, Mr. Merlo was the economic development manager for the Institute’s DRC-CCC program. In this capacity, he implemented livelihood projects while working with government officials, local partners and non-governmental organizations.
Before joining the Institute, Mr. Merlo worked as a project assistant for the North Kivu Farmer’s Association (AKOGENOKI). As a project assistant, he managed rural development programs including the construction of a road in North Kivu Province and the establishment of a cheese factory. This position provided him hands-on experience in project management.
Mr. Merlo was a high school history teacher in Brussels, Belgium, before moving back home to the DRC in 2005. In 2003, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in social sciences, history and geography from the University of Belgium in Brussels.
Watch JGI's Dario Merlo speak about conservation on CNN.