Yann Guignon is the founder of “Blessings Of The Forest” and the main driver of our strategic direction, managing all our activities in Gabon.
He was initiated to the Gabonese traditions, first in 2006 by Master Atome Ribenga, and was trained to exercise the traditional function of ” Kambo ” (Temple Guardian) by Ribenga and also by Hugues Obiang Poitevin (Ebando NGOs) as well as with other initiatory masters of different branches of the Bwiti. Yann studied iboga intensively and worked with the pharmacist Professor Jean Noël Gassita, oldest living researcher on iboga in the world.
Wild resources of iboga are becoming increasingly scarce due to global demand, Yann and Professor Gassita organized a meeting with the founding of the First Lady of Gabon, Sylvia Bongo Ondimba, to solicit her support for writing a national and international inventory about iboga. For six months between 2011 and 2012 Yann culminated the views of the representatives of the major branches of the Bwitist tradition, plus the data gathered during his 7 years of personal research and the 60 years of study by Professor Gassita. In July 2012, he submitted a 50 page report to the Gabonese autorities announcing the likelihood of the disappearance of iboga in the public domain by 2020 unless strong action is taken urgently to protect this precious resource. As a direct result of this report, iboga has become a major topic of study for the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol in Gabon (ratified by Gabon in 2012), providing an important international legal instrument for the protection of this sacred tree and traditional knowledge that surround it.
Yann Guignon was recognized by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Gabon as a benefactor of the country’s cultural heritage and has been given the mandate to represent Gabon at the 4th International Conference on iboga(ine) organized by the “Global Ibogaine Therapist Alliance” in Durban (South Africa) in September 2014.
Yann, married to his Gabonese Akele wife, spent a total of 9 years living in Gabon where he directed and participated in several documentaries for Gabonese television (including “Agora”, “La Tradition Bwitiste au Gabon” and “Ca s’explique”) these launched the public debate about the enthusiasm of the western world around the iboga. Alongside his sacerdotal commitment, Yann created a consulting company in intercultural mediation and sustainable development (Traits d’Union) operating for the profit of several international and national companies as well as Gabonese non profit structures such as “Ebando NGO” to restructure and develop its activities on the social reintegration of disadvantaged gabonese youth through making traditional jewelry and eco tourism.
Finally, Yann has worked with the National Agency of National Parks in the fight against international trafficking of iboga which is closely linked to ivory trafficking.