Thursday, 10 February 2011

Hope in a plastic bottle

The initiative, ingenuity and energy of the Malagasy people is at the heart of all that Money for Madagascar does. Even after decades supporting projects across Madagascar our trustees never cease to be amazed by the resourcefulness of our partners and their communities. On a recent visit to Toamasina on the east coast of Madagascar, our Coordinator Theresa Haine witnessed first-hand the results of an innovative Money for Madagascar sponsored training programme aimed at both recycling waste and generating much-needed income for local people.

Madame Charnette - leader of the market garden training initiative
Mme Charnette, one of our key partners in the eastern region, had seized upon an idea to help rid the streets of her home city of the thousands of plastic bottles and carrier bags that litter the streets and clog up rivers. She has spent the past 12 months training people from her community to use discarded bottles and carrier bags to create market gardens that can be set up even in overpopulated urban areas.
A market garden created as a result of the project

Charnette runs sessions which educate people on composting, planting and nurturing crops which can then be sold for a profit. Crops grown in plastic carrier bags and bottles can also be used to great effect in urban settings where there isn't the space for a traditional garden. The project has been a huge success with gardens springing up in all sorts of unlikely places.
Discarded water bottles make great watering cans

Trainees young and old have returned to their towns and villages with the skills they have learned and are, even now, providing an example to their friends, families and neighbours.

By turning non-biodegradable waste into a valuable commodity and offering know-how rather than handouts this project has achieved amazing results for a tiny amount of money. A great example of the Money for Madagascar motto  "Big problems, small solutions".