Thursday, 19 October 2017

FAMINE PREVENTION UPDATE: An overview of MfM’s work to help vulnerable families rebuild their lives in the wake of prolonged drought followed by cyclone Enawo.

Despite being one of the world’s lowest emitters of carbon dioxide, Madagascar, is numbered amongst the  ‘Vulnerable Twenty’; a group of nations that  will see their future development severely impacted by climate change. Already this year, we have seen the south of the Island afflicted by such extreme drought that 850,000 people were taken to the brink of famine. Further north, in and around the capital, Tana, drought caused severe power cuts (no water to drive the hydroelectricity!) and crop failure. Just as the rains returned and people began planting, cyclone Enawo hit the island, leaving flooding and devastation in its wake. 

Southern Malagasy boy eating cactus plant (Nicholas Kristoff/ NYT 2017)
Your generous response to our appeal for those at risk of famine could not have been more timely! Funds were rapidly distributed to our partners enabling them to meet the immediate nutritional needs of four communities and start them on the road to recovery:

Famine Prevention in Beloha Androy:

In the South, our partner SAF has been working with all 150 households in the drought stricken community of Beloha Androy. To meet immediate nutritional requirements we delivered 19 tonnes of rice, 4 tonnes of beans and 1500 litres of vegetable oil to starving local families.

SAF truck arriving at Beloha Androy with rice supplies
Sacks of rice stored in local church awaiting distribution
Supplies were distributed through a system of food for work. This enabled local households to recover from acute hunger whilst improving key community facilities. Tasks were identified and prioritised by the community to ensure that they responded to local needs. Vital works undertaken included: planting trees and protective hedges, cleaning and restoring the community water tanks and building new class rooms.

Families collecting their food rations
Community members forming working parties

1.8 tonnes of improved maize and cowpea seeds were also distributed to households in conjunction with training on improved agricultural techniques for a drought prone environment. The seeds were selected due to their: drought resistance, local popularity (and therefore acceptance); nutritional value and potential to produce 2 crops in one year.


Community members have expressed their gratitude for this emergency assistance in their time of acute need. They are now able to face daily life and plan for the future. Unfortunately, insufficient rain has hindered the planting of new seeds. Farmers are hoping to be able to plant in November if the rains come. 

Responding to drought and cyclone in Analamanga and Amoron'i Mania:

On the rural outskirts of Tana our partner WTDM helped 250 households in 3 villages where farmers had lost their crops to drought and then to cyclone Enawo. As well as helping farmers to replant their crops, we also helped the communities to rebuild cyclone-damaged homes, classrooms, toilets and water points. 



The distribution of new tools and improved seeds, adapted to better withstand drought and flooding, is helping families to replant their lost crops and look to the future with greater optimism.



Rehabilitating water points and providing watering cans is allowing farmers, like Aina, to keep their crops irrigated when rain is scarce.


Providing families with small livestock or poultry is helping farmers like Richard to diversify their farming practises.  Agricultural diversification is a great way to improve resilience and increase income. Richard now breeds ducks alongside his arable agriculture so that he can provide his family with eggs and meat as well as generating additional income.


Planting a range of improved adapted seeds cuts the risk of losing all crops to a climatic disaster. By planting improved rice with a variety vegetable crops Armand is spreading his risks and increasing his family’s resilience.


Despite the damage done by cyclone Enawo, Hanitra is happy to see her new crops are growing well thanks to the improved seeds and tools provided by WTDM.

Next step: adapting to climate change:
Thanks to your generous response, our disaster appeal has prevented crippling hunger and started four communities on the road to recovery. However, there is more work to do. According to the World Bank, Madagascar is likely to be hit by ever-stronger cyclones that possess double the intensity of today’s storms. The southern region of Madagascar, which already suffers periodically from drought, is likely to receive even less rain.
It is no longer enough simply to respond to disasters as they happen; we need to act now to help the people of Madagascar build their resilience to face future climatic extremes. MfM has always invested in people over time. Next, we want to help farmers to further adapt their livelihoods so they can survive the threats of climate change. 


Thursday, 28 September 2017

Fantastic Flora in Madagascar!

Madagascar boasts one of the most diverse and exciting eco-systems in the world with many species waiting to be found. Many of the species of fauna and flora cannot be found elsewhere, meaning scientists have always got something to look forward to in terms of new discoveries. It is also, however, one of the poorest countries which leaves its people struggling to cope with the problems of the changing modern world.

What is new then for Madagascar? Firstly, to the fantastic flora – Madagascar has added to its already complex family of orchid; – with the discovery of new species of the Cynorkis Thouars orchid (1). The country already has over 170 species of orchid – around 120 of these (1) being indigenous to Madagascar. Due to the destruction of habitat, despite having only been discovered recently, plant specialists have already put the new find on the ‘red list’ of plants which are critically endangered.  

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12225-017-9715-4
Staying on the topic of Madagascar’s fantastic flora, it has made the news elsewhere with the president (Hery Rajaonarimampianina) visiting Kew Gardens for a meeting with scientists, members of Kew’s specialist team that work on Madagascar, representatives of the UK government, members of DEFRA and several others. In this meeting the president explained his vision and plans for Madagascar’s unique environment and also talked on broader topics such as Global Warming. He pointed out how Madagascar is home to 5% of the world’s biodiversity (3) and then went on to highlight his plans to conserve and support it. He highlighted the same approach as that of MFM – the only way that the environment can be maintained is to support the population so that they do not need to exploit it. His words were welcomed as he highlighted the importance of dealing with global warming and extending protected areas to reduce human impact on the natural world.

This is not the only example of Madagascar trying to ‘do its bit’ in the face of world issues. Recently the European Union (EU) has also been working with Madagascar to find sustainable and environmentally friendly ways to meet energy needs. The EU has also helped Madagascar with hydro-electric and solar power projects which form part of the ‘New Energy Policy’ - partly funded by the EU. (2)

If you feel that you could help Madagascar, please do consider making a donation. Anything you give would help to support both the environment and the people of Madagascar. For more information or to make a donation, please see https://moneyformadagascar.org/
  
(4)  WWF

By Matthew Ward

Monday, 11 September 2017

Malagasy Wildlife Exhibition in Dorset

An exhibition about Malagasy Wildlife is taking place at Durlston Country Park, Dorset from 12th – 27th September. There will be displays about wildlife featuring artifacts and photographs from  recent joint expeditions by the Bournemouth Natural Science Society and Bournemouth University.


Money for Madagascar will also be there with an information stand and display plus, on the weekends 16th-17th and 23rd-24th , a stall run by trustees and volunteers. We will have for sale a wide range of Malagasy crafts and photo greetings cards of Madagascar together with this year’s Christmas Cards, with all proceeds going to support the work of MfM. Crafts for sale will include raffia hats, baskets, scarves, jewelry, place mats and gift boxes.

The exhibition will take place from 10.00 to 17.00 every day between 12th - 27th September, at Durlston Castle, Lighthouse Road, Swanage, Dorset, BH19 2JL and promises to be a fascinating showcase of the research carried out in Madagascar.

Here is a link to the website for Durlston castle: http://www.durlston.co.uk/

Please note: the sale of crafts will be on the weekends only, except for a small selection which will be held by the Gallery during weekday. 

We hope to see you there. Thank you for supporting Money for Madagascar (www.moneyformadagascar.org)

Monday, 4 September 2017

Madagascar President visits UK


President of the Republic of Madagascar, Hery Rajaonarimampianina, is to making a landmark visit to the United Kingdom today, as part of a wider effort to develop relations between Madagascar and the UK. During his visit, which starts on Monday, September 4th 2017, President Hery and his delegation will attend events including a trade investment forum and an event at Kew Gardens. He is also expected to formally announce the re-opening of a Malagasy embassy in London.

Image result for anglo-malagasy society
Madagascar’s former embassy in London closed in 2005 with diplomatic responsibilities since being managed by the country’s UK consulate and the British High Commission in Mauritius. As part of efforts to develop UK – Malagasy relations reports have been circulating that Madagascar are planning to reopen an embassy in London, with some reports suggesting that a building has been secured. If this is confirmed as expected during President Hery’s visit on Monday this will represent a major step in establishing further diplomatic and trade partnerships between the two countries.

During his visit President Hery is also scheduled to make a keynote address to the Madagascar Trade and investment forum in London which aims to attract international investment into Madagascar and showcase the opportunities the country has to offer. The President is also expected attend a special event at Kew Gardens, which undertakes vital work to conserve Madagascar’s unique flora and recent held the 2017 ‘State of the World’s Plants’ symposium with a special focus on Madagascar. Finally the community of Malagasy residents in Britain as well as the Anglo-Malagasy Society have been invited to meet the presidential delegation at a service of thanksgiving at Lumen United Reformed Church today.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Stories from Madagascar: Nirina's Story


As part of our ‘Stories from Madagascar’ series of articles where we look at examples of work carried out by Malagasy organisations which we work with, we visit the story of Nirina who was helped by Akany Avoko Faravohitra (AAF), a home for destitute girls which provides them with care, education and support.


Nirina was arrested for marijuana possession when she was 17 and placed at AAF. Before that, she had lived her whole life on the streets. Her mother picked through garbage to make a living, and Nirina dropped out of school when she was seven years old to join her. Nirina was only 13 when she had her first child, and now she lives at AAF with her sons, four-year-old Norbert, and nine-month-old Tsiry.



Thanks to AAF, Nirina feels safe for the first time in her life, and she is proud of the difference in how she parents her children now. The social workers at AAF taught her that it is good for her baby’s development if she talks to and plays with him, something she had never heard before. She learned to weave raffia at AAF and has become an accomplished artisan, but is facing a lot of uncertainty since she is now a legal adult. Her dream is to rent a small house near her older child’s school, and support her family with her handicrafts, but she needs financial support to begin living independently.



Centres such as AAF provide a life-changing experience for some of the poorest and most vulnerable people on the planet. However, AAF have found themselves in a situation where have been left unable to pay their bills or even buy food for the girls living at the centre until their next instalment of funding arrives in mid-August. Money for Madagascar is currently running an emergency appeal on behalf of the centre: please click here if you wish to donate to help Akany Avoko, Faravohitra stating that it is for the ‘AAF Appeal.’ Any donation, big or small, will be gratefully received.