29.06.2023. In Congo Brazzaville, public schools offer primary tuition for free. Finding quality tuition aid materials, however, is not as straightforward. Especially in the wake of the pandemic. Earlier this year, leading wood importer GLOBAL TIMBER (Denmark) made room to read in the IFO library, run by INTERHOLCO’s subsidiary Industrie Forestière de Ouesso (IFO) in the village of Ngombé.

Thanks to Global Timber, Ngombé’s children can quench their thirst for knowledge on 10 brand-new computers (15 in all) and more than 400 modern, colourful, up to date books, the same books spanning mathematics, natural science, French, history and geography, as well as practice tests for high school exit exams, same as in Brazzaville’s costly private schools. In June 2023, Global Timber visited IFO. Guess which library activity was the most popular? dares CEO Anders Bizer: IT courses! Global Timber trades wood across borders relying on a solid network of wood suppliers. We are happy to give something back to the communities, where we buy our timber from. Interholco’s COVID-19 fundraiser sets them apart, shares Bitzer inspiring us to sponsor one of their social projects in Congo; one that would make a lasting difference for children living in remote areas. It is a great example of how companies and local communities come together to increase life standards through access to education.’ 

Global Timber Interholco Library Congo 2

The library’s IT courses are everyone's top choice. 

© Alain Mazeau / INTERHOLCO


Have you ever been to the Republic of Congo? Where Ngombé is located, more than 1,000 km away from the ocean, and 900 km away from the capital Brazzaville, the world is an uninterrupted stretch of lush tropical forest, spanning two National Parks and one forest concession. Together they make up 70% of Denmark’s surface (29,672 km2). While the Natural Parks are protected by the state, INTERHOLCO’s subsidiary, IFO, protects Ngombé’s forest by harvesting wood responsibly. On top of observing the principles and criteria for FSC® forest management, in November 2022 IFO obtained FSC® ecosystem services certification for biodiversity protection (Forest Stewardship Council,® FSC® C022952)


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Ms. Audrey Mampouya, Chief librarian (right) and Ms. Raïssa Tsimba, Assistant librarian (left).



Ngombé’s primary school had to introduce two shifts, one in the morning, one in the afternoon, to ensure its 1,300 boys and girls could attend classes and also to have access to the Ngombé library. Other schools are also involved in the life of the library, with children coming to study from private primary schools; the primary school for indigenous children; as well as Ngombé’s technical institute and high school. Think of our library as a school appendix, affirms Audrey Mapouya, Chief librarian: 'here, children get help with their homework day in, day out. Not all children have the same pace of learning, so a place where they can feel at ease is really key. Audrey also visits the indigenous school about once a year to meet the pupils and teachers and carry out activities with the indigenous women, such as storytelling and folk dancing. She points to the toys that (now older) children made out of tin: animals and cars, mostly. That was a fun project from the early days of the library’, Audrey recalls.


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Playing games encourages teamwork helping children develop social skills.

© Tullia Baldassarri H. von H. / INTERHOLCO


‘Ngombé’s children come to the library to play, do stuff and have fun. Introverts are great with puzzles. Maths geeks solve Ludo and domino games. More outgoing characters prefer interacting with their friends. All of them like playing...’ Audrey takes a pause, then goes on: ‘Playing makes them learn things hands-on, you see?’  

Owing to the disruption caused by the pandemic, warn the United Nations, child illiteracy could reach 70% in developing countries. Imagine not being able to send a text or find your way around, because you are not sure how to read a map? ‘Ngombé’s children learn fast how to fiddle with mobile phones,’ says Raïssa, Audrey’s right arm. ‘They enrol on our English and IT training courses, eventually finding out how to fill out a form and send emails.’ 


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Learning a foreign language opens up more career opportunities. 

© Alain Mazeau / INTERHOLCO


Let’s take a look around: we are in the middle of the Congo Basin, the world’s second largest tropical forest, best known for its gorillas, forest elephants, chimpanzees but also, neon colour parrots, dwarf crocodiles, savoury caterpillars, trees and plants with medicinal properties... In fact, Ngombé’s library is surrounded by a huge ‘Jungle Book. 18,000 inhabitants, 7’400 of whom, indigenous, mostly semi-nomadic people, have been learning the forest by heart since birth. Their lives depend on it. Likewise, Ngombé’s library is a forest of pages, illustrations, accents and, opportunity where the human experience is 10,000 volumes strong.


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Picture books engage children with reading for pleasure and learning. 

© Alain Mazeau / INTERHOLCO


A wealth of modern books illustrate the animals of African forests. Others delve into the history of African countries and their independence. Acclaimed Brazilian author Paulo Coelho peacefully shares the same shelf with, Lev Tolstoij and Umberto Eco. The catalogue is quite large, from fiction to mathematics to arts, applied science, science fiction and economics. For each of the children here, the library is so much more than, social help; it is a life partner, empowering them to choose the life they want. Each of the books effectively becomes an enabler of what the United Nations unequivocally define as, Agenda 2030 for sustainable development, based on 17 global Sustainable Development Goals. For literacy (SDG 4) of boys and girls alike (SDG 5) is the key to health (SDG 3), food security (SDG 2) and better income (SDG 1, SDG 8); a precious key to peaceful and sustainable communities (SDG 11, SDG 17).


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Language contests and competitions are regularly held at the IFO Library. 

© Tullia Baldassarri H. von H. / INTERHOLCO


‘The world is my language,’ writes Congolese writer Alain Mabanckou and in Ngombé’s library, books open up minds and help to read the world. Audrey and Raïssa carry out around 20 activities per year, from sudoku games to literary contests. English and IT courses require separate teachers; adult learners and employees, too, can attend during working hours. Film screenings sensitise children to the powerful wonders of the forest. English introduces them to different cultures and mentalities. Debates for older children warn them about HIV and how to avoid unwanted pregnancies. In our library, concludes Patrick Geffroy, IFO’s Director General we hope children will become citizens of the world, building the necessary curiosity to explore and confidently pursue their life passions.


About Global Timber

Global Timber was established in 2006, and since then the company has imported and exported hardwood to and from 51 countries on six continents. Global Timber has a strong desire to be present throughout the value chain; from the selection of raw wood, through the shipping process and the further processing of the wood, to the professional advice and the precise delivery of the desired quality. Global Timber has a headquarter in Aarhus and sales offices in Sweden and Malaysia and more than 40 employees worldwide.


Contact person Global Timber

Petra Postolache
Global Timber A/S, Michael Drewsens Vej 1, 8270 Højbjerg, Denmark
Tel.: +45 48 27 00 33  
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


About Interholco

Founded in 1962, INTERHOLCO (IHC) delivers African, European and North American hardwood products (lumber, logs, decking, laminated scantlings) to B2B customers in more than 40 countries worldwide. Recognized as a sustainability leader, IHC responsibly manages 1.16 million hectares of natural rainforest in the Republic of Congo, turning harvested wood into high-value timber products that serve customer needs, as well as improving our climate and increasing social justice. IHC is the first forestry company in the Congo Basin to have acquired FSC Ecosystem Services certification for biodiversity protection on top of FSC Forest management certification (Forest Stewardship Council, FSC® C022952). Follow us on LinkedIn.


Communication contact Interholco

Tullia Baldassarri Höger von Högersthal
INTERHOLCO AG, Neuhofstr. 25, 6340 Baar, Switzerland
Tel.: +41 (0)41 767 03 82 
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Sustainability report 2022

INTERHOLCO Sustainability Report 2022 cover

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