Friday, 19 May 2017

A love of Lemurs leads to making a real difference in Madagascar

Back in February, Patricia Wright – a renowned primatologist and Anthropologist at Stony Brook University – visited Luther College, Iowa (both USA). This may seem quite ordinary between American academics, what makes this visit special then? – the subject. In her lecture and following events, Wright told of her personal love for Lemurs, her academic work in Biology and also how she had helped found Madagascar’s Ranomafana National Park.

Professor Wright is acclaimed for conservation and biology in Madagascar, specialising in the social nature of Lemurs. In this lecture she highlighted how females play a central role in groups, also she explored the history of Lemurs in Madagascar and how they manage today – and of course, how we can help them survive.

The positives of this talk? Students claimed they had a greater sense of personal growth and were more aware of how sometimes seemingly small acts can make a big difference to countries like Madagascar.

Students heard of not only the immense work which Professor Wright has done, but also about the importance of getting a balance between supporting both the rainforests that the Lemurs inhabit, alongside solving social problems. Wright made it clear that to help maintain the unique natural environment, the local people must be taken into account and supported too.  

This is also the approach of MFM – supporting the local people - enabling them to survive, thrive and appreciate the unique landscape and species. MFM is proud to help provide some of the things which Wright stressed the importance of – such as health care, education, information and financial support to start alternative livelihoods. 

If you would like to know more about the work of MFM, or if you could make a donation which would help make a direct impact on both the lives of the Malagasy people and the Lemurs that they live alongside, please visit:

Sources –

(Both accessed 11/04/2017)



- Written by Matthew Ward -

Friday, 12 May 2017

The Lemur: Madagascar's most famous resident!

Madagascar is the home to many amazing species of animals and plants, so much so that around 75% (1) of species are unique to Madagascar. Many of these species inhabit the remote rainforests, mostly on the east coast. Due to the difficultly in locating, accessing and studying the ecosystems of Madagascar, one thing is certain - there is always something new to learn!

Now, if there is one inhabitant of Madagascar which has captivated many - yes, it is the lemur! There are currently around 60 ‘known’ species of Lemur (not to mention sub-species), and the latest news is that scientists discover yet another species of one of Madagascar’s favourite inhabitants.

In the North, a new species has been found and named the ‘Sheth’s Dwarf Lemur’- after Brian Sheth, a prominent conservationist. This has been a surprising discovery as most Dwarf Lemur species have been found predominantly in the eastern rainforests. 07 Feb. 2017

Some interesting facts about this lemur? It is predominantly nocturnal and certainly small – around 16 - 17 cm long with a 16 cm long tail. It weighs only around 100 grams (2). This is also the ninth known species of Dwarf Lemur (3).

There are many details about this genus to clarify, and much work still to do. The Sheth’s Dwarf Lemur is fortunate – inhabiting protected areas bordering two national parks. The scientists who made this discovery though, were quick to mention that it is crucial that these areas are supported and remain ‘reserved’.

Money For Madagascar is acutely aware that to help the environment of this unique country, the people must be considered too. When the hungry or poor can find no other way to survive, then the  forests and wildlife become their main resource. So, Money For Madagascar works to ensure that people can survive without needing to exploit the land. Alongside this, MFM also plays an influential role in conservation itself – replanting forest corridors which the lemurs inhabit, and supporting communities that live around the forests, ensuring they get what they need without turning to the environment to survive.

If you would like to know more about MFM’s work, both to help the Malagasy people and to preserve this unique land, please see our website -,  our blog - ,
or consider making a donation – any money you give will go straight to those who need it, ensuring Malagasy people have less need to exploit the rainforest to get their daily needs.

(1)  WWF
(3)  Wikipedia
 Contributed by Matthew Ward

Friday, 5 May 2017

75 year old MfM Patron and Travel Author is running for Madagascar!

 75 year old Money for Madagascar Patron Hilary Bradt is running two 10 kilometer runs to raise money for MfM, in Bristol on Sunday 7th May, and in London on the 29th May. As well as her patronage of MfM, Hilary is the author of the renowned Bradt travel guide books, and her guides to Madagascar are considered the authoritative guides to the country. With this keen interest in Madagascar, it only makes sense that she would want to raise money to help those who live there. 

Hilary, then age 70, after running the London 10k in 2012

Hilary has previously raised money for Money for Madagascar by running the London 10k and the 10 mile Great South run five years ago, at the age of 70. Hilary described how she considered this feat to be "quite impressive" at the time and seems upbeat about the latest challenge, but admits that there is "no hope" of getting fit in time for the impeding Bristol run.

Hilary ran the Great South Run wearing this lemur hat.

 Hilary is accepting donations via Justgiving, where there are more details about her run, and all money raised will be used to help some of the poorest people on the planet. MfM would also like to wish Hilary the best of luck with her endeavor and thank her for her ongoing commitment to supporting the Malagasy people.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Marianne’s Fundraising Run for Money for Madagascar!

Marianne Derjean is one of our supporters and she is running the Virgin London Marathon this Sunday. 

She has been busy training for this - as you can see from the photo above. This was when she was running the Cambridge half marathon in March!

She is hoping to raise funds for Money for Madagascar. The Just Giving page she has started will be open for a few more weeks so please donate generously.

If you would like to support her work, please follow the link below:

We wish her all the very best and thank her for nominating us as the charity!

Friday, 31 March 2017

Kids Fundraising Activities in Lancaster

Money for Madagascar (MfM) would like to share with you the story of two Lancaster children who have been running fundraising activities during Lent to raise money for MfM.

Hearing about the famine which has been affecting Madagascar, Benjamin, age 8, decided he wanted to raise money to help those affected. Ben ran a "guess the name of the bear" competition at Quernmore primary school. He charged 50 pence per guess, with the winner receiving a bear which was beautifully hand-knitted by our trustee Theresa. Benjamin raised £38.35 for the famine appeal.

Peter, age 5, also wanted to raise money to help those affected by the famine. He ran a 'guess the number of sweets in the jar' competition at Christ Church Primary School in Lancaster. He charged 20p per guess, and managed to raise an amazing £70!

Money for Madagascar would like to thank both Benjamin and Peter for their phenomenal efforts to raise money for those affected by this famine. We would also like to thank all those who took part in these competitions, and the staff for supporting their efforts. A special thank you to Theresa Haine our trustee who continues to knit bears and lemurs to support our various initiatives. Its always nice to see something positive amidst the endless negativity in the news and media!

If you would like to know more about what MfM does, or make a donation – any money you give will be guaranteed to make a direct difference in Madagascar – please see our website –

Thank you!

Friday, 24 March 2017

Madagascar Drought Appeal: An Update

Money for Madagascar has been running an appeal recently to help those impacted by the drought and subsequent famine in southern Madagascar. The United Nations has highlighted that the famine is a severe threat to the health and lives of nearly a million people in this part of Madagascar. 

The drought, which has affected the region for the past two years, has resulted in crop failures and led to severe food shortages. Families have resorted to consuming vital seed stocks to survive which only further exacerbates the issues in the longer term.

Thanks to the generosity of all those who have donated to our appeal, Money for Madagascar has been able to send out £30,000 already and is continuing to raise money. Our Malagasy partner SAF have been able to begin providing short and long term relief to families in affected regions. In the short term this means providing food aid to families suffering from famine. To ensure longer term sustainability, SAF are helping to replenish seed stocks depleted by the drought, particularly with drought resistant crops, as well as working to improve food stores to develop long-term food security.

It is very important that these stocks are replenished now. Rain has recently been falling in some affected areas making it vital that these seeds are delivered and sown as soon as possible to ensure that this famine isn’t prolonged. SAF have already been able to provide 200 households with maize seeds to take advantage of this rainfall in addition to short-term food supplies.

Without your help this work wouldn’t be possible. If you haven’t donated yet and are able, it isn’t too late. Even a modest contribution can go a long way to alleviate the harsh conditions currently being faced by those in the affected regions of Madagascar.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Shining a Light of Hope – examples of MFM making a difference for children in Madagascar

Money for Madagascar (MfM) supports seven different Children's Centres in and around Madagascar's Captal Antananarivo. One such centre is Akany Avoko Faravohitra; this centre cares for 50 children both day and night, and here MFM gives funds to provide nutritious food, warm meals, clothes and education (to name only a few things!).  

MFM is proud to have recently helped fund the installation of solar power – helping to ensure that there is hot water, and many other things that we may take for granted. This has helped to promote stability and the well-being of the children.

The solar panels automatically start working whenever there is a break in the electricity so that there is always light, ensuring that the children are safe whenever there are power cuts. MFM is happy to support Madagascar’s quest for solar solutions! 

As the centre is high in the mountains, it can be very cold and windy in winter - warm water will certainly be a welcome relief then! And with the solar panels, it has become easier to access – obviously helping the children, yet also the staff in their work. 

The grant has also helped provide a solar cooker for both washing and cooking – quicker than using a firewood stove! This allows staff to cook a warm midday meal quicker, meaning they can spend more time directly with the children. It is said that Vitamin D is good for you, but now sunshine really can make the difference! 

Money has also lead to the conversion of space into a library, and also the creation of an IT room and workshop for handicrafts – hopefully enough to engage the young minds! 

It is wonderful to see the children smiling and laughing, and wonderful to know that you as supporters are making a difference to their lives and prospects.

If you would like to know more about what MfM does, or to make a donation – any money you give will be guaranteed to make a direct difference in Madagascar – please see our website –

Thank you! 

Monday, 27 February 2017


In the United Kingdom, the days are slowly getting longer and supermarket shelves are filled with pancake ingredients in anticipation of Shrove Tuesday this week. But the following day, Ash Wednesday, marks the start of Lent. Traditionally a Christian period of fasting in the lead up to Easter Sunday, it is now widely recognised and practiced by people of all, and no, beliefs.

Typically, Lent offers the challenge for you to give up something you love, such as sugar, alcohol, smoking or caffeine.  Alongside the abstinence from a chosen luxury, it can be regarded as a time for increased mindfulness, and charitable giving.

Unfortunately, not everyone is currently lucky enough to have such luxuries to go without. In Madagascar, late rain is currently causing widespread famine, adding to the stresses of life for many in one of the poorest places on Earth. Vulnerable people are living on the street, with little access to clean water and healthcare, and children are growing up starving and without education.

However, Money for Madagascar is working hard to help these people, and can continue to do so with your help – so why don’t you use this Lenten period to really make a difference to someone’s life?

Every time you resist the luxury that you’re giving up, you could do something amazing with the money you save and change peoples’ lives for the better.

Here are a few examples of what you can achieve:

·         £10 saved on chocolate treats could provide a months’ worth of hot lunches for hungry,
homeless people.
·         Instead of grabbing that coffee from your favourite coffee shop before work every day for a week, you could spend the same £15 to help set up a family in farming, ensuring regular meals and a reliable income for those most in need.
·         By saving £45 on alcohol across the 40 days of Lent, you could get a child into school for a whole year!

It doesn’t take a large sacrifice for you to make a huge difference to people living in poverty in Madagascar.

Find out more about Money for Madagascar’s work here
Make a donation here.

Contributed by Eve

Friday, 3 February 2017

The Madagascar example

One question among many in philosophy of language concerns the nature of reference. Reference in this context is the relation between words (in particular names and nouns) and things, such as that between the name ‘Elvis Presley’ and the singer Elvis Presley. By what means do words refer? What makes it the case that ‘Elvis Presley’ picks out that person? 
One view (from Russell) suggests that any name is associated with a description which is true of a unique individual and it is via this description that the name refers to that person. Another view (Kripke) sees reference as involving an initial act of naming to which later uses of a name are connected by a causal chain linking one user or use to another. Each user succeeds in referring to the same thing because their use of the word is appropriately causally connected to the first use. So for example if I use the name ‘JRR Tolkein’ I succeed in referring to the author of LotR not because that name is attached to a description that uniquely fits him, but because I learned the name from someone who learned the name from someone…who was present at the christening of JRRT.

The Madagascar example was proposed by Gareth Edwards as a problem for this causal account, because it is a real-world case of reference shift via error (as opposed to reference shift via deliberate reapplication of a name such as calling a cat ‘Lenin’). The story goes that Marco Polo was the first European to learn and use the name ‘Madagascar’, but he applied it to the large island off the east coast of Africa while in fact the users of the term from whom he acquired it used it to refer to part of the mainland. It is assumed that Marco Polo intended to use the name as they did, but he made a mistake about what they intended. His mistake then led to the modern use of the word to refer to the island, not the mainland. The question for the causal theory of reference is: how can the name ‘Madagascar’ as used today refer to the island (as it clearly does) when its causal history leads back ultimately to the naming of a different place altogether?