Thursday, 30 June 2016

Thanking Our Volunteers!

Volunteers and Staff at the Merchants Pub
On the 18th of June, we had a volunteer get-together in Lancaster. It was a small way of expressing our thanks to volunteers who contribute their time and skills to MfM, and also a chance for them to meet up with each other.

Not all our volunteers could make it but those who could had a choice of two events to attend. One related to a concert put up by Lancaster Millennium Choir, a faithful supporter of Akany Avoko. The concert was for an hour and it showcased their latest piece - Charlie the Cello. Some of our volunteers attended this event and were also able to sell some Malagasy crafts and greeting cards to raise money for our partners in Madagascar. Others joined us at the pub, and you can see from the picture above that we were enjoying some lovely summer sunshine. We want to say a special thank you to our volunteers for all their hard work and commitment!

Ash Rofe receiving certificate
Earlier on this month, one of our volunteers Ash Rofe received a certificate from the Mayor of Lancaster at the annual Volunteer Awards which are hosted by the Lancaster chapter of CVS (Council for Voluntary Services). He was nominated in the category for Young Volunteer of the Year. Ash has been an intern with us since October 2015 and he is returning to complete his undergraduate studies at Lancaster University. Ash has come in to our office once a week every Friday and contributed his skills and knowledge to help us with a variety of office tasks. We thank him for his time and efforts and wish him all the very best as he enters his final year of undergraduate studies.

We would also like to thank Alice Tooms our fundraising intern from Lancaster University who has completed her undergraduate studies and is moving on to new pastures. We do hope that both Alice and Ash will continue to be in touch with us and will spread the word about the work that our partners do in Madagascar!

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Energy in Madagascar – A Country Facing a New Dawn?

Madagascar, as with many African countries, has long faced difficult decisions over which energy resources to use. This is not helped by the pressure on individuals and communities living in relative poverty and the pressure on a worldwide stage for countries to embrace renewable energies. Recently in Madagascar though, the response seems to be going well!

So what is this ‘response'?  A memorandum presented by Fluidic Energy (a company offering energy storage in Africa, Asia and the Americas) proposes using renewable, battery-based energy for over 100 (often remote) communities through the introduction of mini grid power systems (1). In many of these remote communities getting any energy is a positive but now there is the opportunity for clean, reliable and renewable power in one of the largest energy projects in the continent.

Fluidic energy and their partners will manage the energy storage for around 400,000 people, mostly using solar energy – already introduced in Madagascar. This builds on another energy positive – last month, 65 million$ was granted to try and enhance Madagascar’s struggling energy sector and build a promising link between World Bank and Madagascar (2).

This makes Madagascar the third country, after Zambia and Senegal, to join the ‘Scaling Solar’ program and it is hoped that this will ease the daily interruption of power. “A reliable supply of electricity will support growth in Madagascar's economy, and improve lives for individuals, families, and businesses,” said Oumar Seydi, IFC Regional Director for East and Southern Africa. “’Scaling Solar’ is an innovative World Bank Group initiative that reflects a commitment to supporting developing while protecting the environment” (3). Of course only time will tell how successful this scheme will be, but for Madagascar this seems to be a positive move – a step into the sun!

Energy in Madagascar has made the news in other ways too – by highlighting the problem of Global warming. Recently ‘Earth Hour’ took place – a global movement involving turning off all lights for the hour and managing without electricity. On Saturday19th March in Madagascar, thousands of people took to rallies including parades, exhibitions and school events… even a candle-lit dance class! All bringing the country together and putting pressure on leaders to react to Global Warming – Madagascar wasn’t to be left out! (4) 

MoneyForMadagascar has already played a part in helping the people of Madagascar to find new, sustainable and reliable energy sources, for instance by supporting partners that provide solar power to 34 rural primary schools in the Education For Life programme. 

To find out more about what we do in Madagascar and to see how you can play a part in Madagascar's new solar solutions, please visit
If you would like to make a donation to support our work, please click here. Thank you.

By Matthew Ward