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ExplorerHome Madagascar

Our mission is to infuse curiosity and interest about STEM fields to the public, inspire people to explore, discover and learn about how science is integral in all aspects of life, and make positive impacts for Madagascar.

What is the purpose of ExplorerHome?

ExplorerHome is dedicated to promote science communication and making science accessible to both the public and scientists. It aims to inspire, nourish curiosity and interest in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields, as well as increasing STEM literacy among the public at large in Madagascar.

ExplorerHome invites the public to explore the wonders of the world through the eyes of scientists.

ExplorerHome target children (5 to 15 years old) and their families. ExplorerHome’s field-based and online programs give a platform to STEM fields, scientists and offer science outreach, education, and entertainment at its best!

Field Programs

ExplorerHome has two field-based programs, Sciencing Out and Bioblitz.

Sciencing out

“SciOut” program proposes to bridge connections between scientists and non-specialists to articulate that STEM matters. This includes efforts to help students learn but also gives them opportunities to experience science alongside professional scientists and appreciate science while guiding their future action and decision-making towards global issues such as the loss of biodiversity and climate change. “SciOut” program raised the profile of diverse scientific disciplines including Primatology.

With the scientific knowledge shared by scientists leading each topic, students had the opportunity to experience real science: familiarizing with field methods, data collection etc. Each cohort of the “SciOut” program involves 10 high school students and 3 scientific disciplines. The team spend an average of 10 days in the field.

  • When : April and August
  • Total budget for one cohort : $7000
In 2019, ExplorerHome ran 2 cohorts for “SciOut”, with fundings from the National Geographic Society, impacting 21 high school students from 12 public and private schools from Antananarivo and surrounding, 6 scientists from 5 scientific disciplines, 2 educators, 1 storyteller, and 5 facilitators participating in the program.

Learn more about Sciencing Out

 

Bioblitz

This program brings groups of students (elementary school, secondary school, high school) for a day of outdoor exploration in a place where they can access wildlife (park, protected area, etc) using the iNaturalist app and beneficiating from scientists’ guidance. The aims of this activity are to 1) inspire curiosity for each participant about the nature around them, 2) offer the opportunity to participants to practice observation skills necessary for critical thinking involved in the scientific process, 3) use and familiarize themselves with an educative app like iNaturalist and Seek. Each trip for “Bioblitz” involve 25 students, 3 scientists, 5 facilitators.

  • When?: one per month
  • The total budget for each trip (in Antananarivo): $500
  • The total budget for each trip (outside Antananarivo): $2000

In 2019, ExplorerHome ran one Bioblitz in the NAP of Maromizaha, with fundings from the National Geographic Society, involving 48 students, 3 scientists, and 5 facilitators.

Learn more about BioBlitz

Online Programs

As focusing on science communication, education, and outreach, ExplorerHome is very active online.

The NGO developed 5 main programs all centered on three main components: STEM fields, Scientists, and non-scientists. These programs provide a platform for scientists to share their works and incorporate adapted science communication tools to make information more accessible to the public in the form of video. ExplorerHome staff edit and share short storytelling videos to convey messages. Its social media platform: Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube channel are used to broadcast these short educative and informative videos featuring the 5 programs:

“Ask a Scientist”

It features a scientific topic and one host (a scientist) to talk about one STEM-related field topic for two weeks. Questions from the public will be answered during a short series of interviews. Interviews are in Malagasy with English subtitles. Here’s an example of
“Ask a Scientist” featuring Primatology.

“One word a day”

This program is dedicated to kids aged 8-12 years old and explains scientific words in a very simple way. Videos are in French. Here is an example of “One Word a Day” featuring Primatology”

“Science facts”

Scientific papers are turned into short explained videos free of jargon, for the general public to better understand. Videos’ voice over are in Malagasy, contents are in French. Here is an example of Science facts featuring “Wood Sciences”.

“Happy place”

A call for participation is sent out to scientists according to a specified topic. Scientists are free to talk about their research, the species they are working on, fun field anecdote, etc. Video submission is received and will be edited by the ExplorerHome team.

Videos are in the scientist’s mother tongue with subtitles either in English or Malagasy. Here is an example of “Happy place” featuring Primatology

“SCiTia program”

Unlike the other ExplorerHome programs, SCiTia encourages the public to share and contribute to scientific data (such as vernacular name and species record).

  • The Totem&SCiTia program allows Malagasy scouts to share the vernacular name of their totem, and scientists are sharing the scientific information about those totems. Both are gaining knowledge and exchanging information through the program.
  • Voninala&SCiTia program is  ExplorerHome’s program focusing on teaching and encouraging the use of iNaturalist for the public at large, this to encourage exploration and documentation of the nature surrounding us and beginning in our garden. Learn more here.
Implementation of online programs: All year long
Total budget: $750/month

Funding

ExplorerHome collaborates with local organizations (For examples: NGO Sadabe for the “SciOut” program in Mahatsinjo forest, GERP Madagascar for the “SciOut” program in the Maromizaha’s NAP, private school “La Printanière” for the 2019 Bioblitz, etc).

ExplorerHome was able to run its field-based program with one-year funding from National Geographic Society. The online program is funded by a private donor as well as personal funds. We are constantly applying for grants to support our programs.

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Ary Saina

 

Ary Saina is a group of Malagasy Conservation Biologists committed to promote scientific research and knowledge for the conservation of Madagascar’s unique but imperiled biodiversity.

How does Ary Saina work with lemur conservation?

Our current project focus is in supporting the local communities living near Ihofa forest in Andasibe. We plan to implement socio-economic development activities to improve their livelihoods with the aim of reducing threats on lemur habitat. We are also in need of funding to support the building of an elementary school in the area.

How to support Ary Saina?

Volunteer! We often have volunteers assist in fieldwork activities … stay tuned for upcoming opportunities here

 

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Impact Madagascar

IMPACT Madagascar, a Malagasy NGO, was born from the idea that it is not possible to protect the environment without also considering the people who depend on its resources on a daily basis. Since its foundation in 2013, IMPACT Madagascar has been working with local communities to alleviate poverty and provide achievable and sustainable environmental protection through a variety of projects focusing on community health and development, biodiversity conservation, and environmental outreach.

How does Impact Madagascar work for lemur conservation?

Because of the inherent connectedness between poverty and biodiversity use and the mutually self-reinforcing nature of these links, addressing rural poverty and environmental degradation requires a holistic multidisciplinary approach in order to achieve successful sustained results.

Our goal is to protect and conserve Madagascar’s unique biodiversity while improving the lives of its people. We implement permanent change through collaboration with local people, creating a foundation on which we can build a better world. Our integrative approach to biodiversity conservation and development is reflected in our range of projects, from ecological conservation to training and education, from recycling to construction.

Working with local people, we develop strategies that promote conservation within the parameters of daily life. Adding a sense of sustainability is crucial in order to help people living in harmony with nature for their life and for future generations.

Where do you work?

We focus our work on five project sites, in five different locations: Ankirihitra (region Boeny), Madiromirafy (region Betsiboka), Mahajeby (region Bongolava), Dabolava (region Menabe), and Vohitrarivo (region V7V). Each of these rural sites is unique in their biodiversity and communities, but across these locations, our projects hold similar objectives. These include reforestation and ecological restoration, lemur and habitat monitoring, environmental outreach and practical environmental education, community development, community health, and community conservation.

IMPACT Madagascar’s Activities

Our activities focused on forest restoration include large-scale community reforestation events. During these events, community members come together and plant native forest and fast-growing tree species in the area. The saplings that are planted are produced by the communities themselves in tree nurseries on site. This reforestation continues to be successful and improve each year. In 2019, we produced and planted approximately 241,000 seedlings for future use.

Lemur and Habitat Monitoring

Our lemur and habitat monitoring includes periodic inventories of diurnal and nocturnal lemur populations located at our project sites. These focus mostly on the critically endangered mongoose lemur and crowned sifaka (though the surveys are inclusive of all lemurs in the area).

For example, the Sifaka Conservation program aims to save the fragmented forests across the four locations (along the central highlands and northwestern areas), in order to protect crowned sifaka populations and the remaining rare dry and gallery forests. Additionally, our team identifies and monitors the pressures and the threats that menace these lemur populations as well as their habitats. With this identification at each site, we can develop better strategies to combat these harmful actions and to prevent future destruction.

Conservation Education

Our conservation education projects constitute an important strategy to address threats to biodiversity and to ensure community participation and the sustainability of conservation actions. This environmental outreach includes awareness campaigns at both school and household levels. These include practical activities such as healthy living, water purification, waste management, and how to recycle various types of waste. Additionally, information sessions take place through multimedia presentations and focus on the fundamental roles of the forest, the causes of destruction and their impact on human life, biodiversity and conservation, environmental laws, the food web, wildlife, and its ecological role, and ecosystem services.

An important tool applied in our practical conservation education is the Pan African Conservation Education (PACE) resources; we are also the PACE representative for Madagascar.

Community Development

Additionally, to help improve the living conditions of the local population in conservation areas, we have many community development projects that aim to promote income-generating activities within these communities.

We work with the local people in order to increase their farming yield and agricultural production by monitoring and providing practical training in the use of modern farming techniques and improved breeding programs, as well as promoting other alternative sources of income. In addition, we also encourage the production and sale of local produce to boost income within communities. As well as providing a more secure and sustainable future, this approach also helps by reducing the damage which current practices cause to biodiversity and forests.

Establishment and Support of VOIs

Last but not least, community conservation is a particularly important focus within all our projects at IMPACT Madagascar. At each of our conservation sites, we have established local management committees, called VOIs. These committees help to manage the forests and patrols are run by local people to monitor threats such as illegal logging and poaching, while simultaneously engaging local people in the protection of their forests.

Community Health

Additionally, we work to provide community health initiatives to these rural communities and offer them resources and care they do not otherwise have access to. These activities vary across sites and include medical missions in collaboration with health organizations to provide treatment and medical care, sexual and reproductive health education, and raising awareness about the importance of hygiene and water purification.

Support Impact Madagascar

IMPACT Madagascar’s US branch manages donations. They are collected through their secure SquareSpace website at: http://impactmadagascar.org/support-us

All of our programs and project sites involve lemur conservation, so donations will always go towards lemur and environmental projects. Our programs dedicated specifically to lemurs are the Sifaka Conservation program and the bamboo lemur project in Vohitrarivo.

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Ny Tanintsika

“Against Poverty, for Nature”

What is the purpose of Ny Tanintsika?

Ny Tanintsika works to empower communities to conserve lemurs through a multifaceted approach that builds local capacity, addresses livelihoods concerns and promotes stakeholder collaboration and communication.

Lemurs are crucial to Madagascar’s rich and thriving biodiversity. The decline in lemur populations and the rapid extinction of a number of species, due to habitat loss and hunting, is jeopardising this biodiversity.

Currently, a number of forest communities hunt and eat lemurs as a primary source of protein in their diet, or keep them as pets. Although protection legislation exists, it is not widely known, understood nor enforced. Habitat loss due to forest in-migration for ‘slash and burn’ agriculture, deforestation and logging is an equally crucial factor in this Project.

Which lemur species does Ny Tanintsika work with?

The Project targets lemur taxa that are categorized as being Critically Endangered, and in a listed action plan locality site – the COFAV. The Lemur Conservation Strategy lists the COFAV as being home to 21 lemur taxa of which 6 are critically endangered, 7 endangered, 4 vulnerable, 1 near threatened and 3 data deficient.

COFAV has the highest number of lemur species of any protected area in Madagascar – of which a disproportionate number are in elevated threat categories. However, scientific research on biodiversity has largely been limited to national parks.

Threatened Species Targeted:

  • Golden Bamboo Lemur (Hapalemur aureus): Critically Endangered C2a(i)

Other threatened species benefitting from the project:

  • Southern Ruffed Lemur (Varecia variegata ssp. editorum): Critically Endangered A2cd
  • Milne-Edward’s Sifaka (Propithecus edwardsi): Endangered A2cd+3cd+4cd
  • Gilbert’s Lesser Bamboo Lemur (Hapalemur griseus ssp. gilberti): Endangered B1ab(i,iii)

Where does Ny Tanintsika work?

The project area comprises 32,000 ha of the COFAV (which totals 314,186 ha) and includes the rainforest of 4 municipalities:

  • To the east: Ambolomadinika, Antodinga and Ankarimbelo (Ikongo district, Vatovavy Fitovinany region)
  • To the west: Ambohimahamasina (Ambalavao district, Haute Matsiatra region)
  • It focuses on the areas around the 3 main footpaths crossing the rainforest corridor east-west.
    Furthest point north: 21°54’23.60″S, 47°14’30.48″E, south: 22° 5’46.19″S, 47°10’57.89″E
    Furthest point east: 21°56’32.78″S, 47°20’48.98″E, west: 22° 4’37.24″S, 47° 9’42.82″E

How does Ny Tanintsika work for lemur conservation?

Ny Tanintsika empowers COFAV communities to conserve lemurs through a multifaceted approach: building local capacity, addressing livelihoods concerns, and promoting stakeholder collaboration and communication.

Empowering Local Communities through Data Collection and Lemur Monitoring

Whilst focusing on Hapalemur Aureus species, it will enable the gathering of data on all primates in the previously unresearched forests of Ambohimahamasina and three neighbouring areas. Data collection on lemurs will be conducted by local stakeholders, and forest inhabitants will become lemur monitors to ensure project sustainability.

Additionally, 12 signs encouraging lemur conservation will be erected along Ambohimahamasina’s 3 main forest footpaths crossing to the eastern side of the forest ‘corridor’.

Sustainable Agriculture and Reforestation

Support will be given to forest inhabitants to make their lifestyles more sustainable. Agricultural production on deforested land will be boosted through training on improved techniques, with 6 community tree nurseries operational to provide saplings for agroforestry, reforestation and forest restoration to meet both human and lemur needs. Numerous awareness-raising initiatives will be combined with promotion of alternative sources of income and protein, including small-scale fish-farming and chicken-rearing, and the capacity-building of Community Forest Management associations to reduce lemur poaching and habitat loss.

Project Objectives

By the end of the project:

  • 50% of forest dwellers will have lemur-friendly income generation activities and alternative sources of protein.
  • 60% reduction in Lemur hunting in target area of COFAV.
  • 45,000 endemic trees planted to meet lemur and human needs.
  • 10% boost in agricultural production on deforested land in the target area of COFAV.
  • 90% of people living in villages bordering the rainforest project area are aware of the uniqueness of local biodiversity and report an increased appreciation of lemurs by the end of the project.
  • 20% increase in secondary school enrollment for the northern project area zone for improved level of education for children who live in and near the rainforest.
  • No new human migration into the rainforest target zone, with the stabilisation of forest cover in the target area.
  • The capacity of 9 Community Forest Management associations is strengthened in management and governance, and particularly legislation.
  • Knowledge of lemurs in the project area covering 32,000 ha is improved.
  • Stakeholder collaboration and communication is improved through the piloting of a new approach and new technology to monitor forest cover in the Ambohimahamasina municipality.
  • Communities are empowered to take action toward securing land tenure around the target area.
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Madagascar Lemurs Portal

The Madagascar Lemurs Portal aims to improve the conservation state of lemurs by addressing existing data gaps and facilitating exchanges and sharing of expertise and data between a wide group of stakeholders with a role in lemur conservation.

Supporting lemur conservation through online international and national awareness

The significant and unique biodiversity resources found in Madagascar are under extreme pressure from anthropogenic activities including slash and burn agriculture and hunting. As the country’s most emblematic species, Madagascar’s 112 lemur species represent a clear example of the biodiversity threat dynamic operating in Madagascar.

Despite awareness within conservation and research circles of the growing threats experience by lemur species, and a passionate international and national conservation community that has leveraged significant support for investment in research and field-based conservation actions, efforts to date have failed to reverse negative trends in lemur conservation status.

A contributing factor to this failure is related to weak biodiversity information and access to knowledge on the part of stakeholders involved in conservation activities. Specifically, there is a lack of a robust mechanism to create positive feedback loops between research, policy decisions, and on the ground conservation actions.

Following a technical meeting with over 40 representatives of lemur conservation organizations in February 2016, a consortium of local conservation partners – FAPBM, WCS, and GERP – proposed to address this problem by developing the ‘Madagascar Lemurs Portal’.

The Madagascar Lemurs Portal is an online project which aims to reach the public at large both national and international users. The project is supported by the Madagascar Biodiversity Fund.

Learn More about this Project Visit the Madagascar Lemurs Portal!

The office is based in Antananarivo, yet several capacity sessions are conducted by the lemur portal team in different region of Madagascar where local NGO and partners are based. These trainings were conducted in Toamasina (Eastern region), Mahajanga (Western region), Ranomafana (Southeastern region), Morondava (Southwestern region), Mahajanga (Western region), and Antananarivo (Central region).

Vision for the Madagascar Lemurs Portal

Data collection on lemur and awareness raising to the local communities

The vision of success for the Madagascar Lemurs Portal is for a technically and scientifically robust, user-friendly, open-access tool that is regularly used by a wide range of user groups; that becomes an essential tool in certain conservation evaluation and decision making processes (e.g., IUCN Red List assessments and donor and partner monitoring of protected area effectiveness); and that is continuously evolving with the addition of new data shared among users.

User Groups

The Lemurs Portal team identified several user groups for this project. We aim to address their specific needs we identified during the project planning process and we have used to drive the development of the Portal functions. These user groups include:

  • academic researchers (international and national),
  • conservation practitioners,
  • Government policy and decision makers (particularly the Ministry of Environment, Ecology and Forests and the National Environmental Office),
  • tourists and tourism professionals,
  • the private sector,
  • and the general public.

Goals for the Madagascar Lemurs Portal

From November 2016 to October 2019, the team plans to have:

  • Engagement of 20 partners, to contribute and validate data
  • Inclusion of 10,000 lemur occurrence records on all 109 species
  • Registration of 500 users on site, half of which participate in the forum
  • Visitation by 5,000 non-registered users
  • Evidence of portal use including references in academic press, grey literature and social media

Community Partnerships and Sustainability

Community partnership:

The Lemur Portal ensures collaboration between a wide ranges of stakeholders related to lemur conservation from decision-makers to the local community.

Information, communication, and education (ICE):

ICE includes our key activities for supporting local communities, especially local technicians and protected areas manager. We gather data/information on lemurs while also engaging local communities to format and insert these collected data in the portal. Our team builds local capacities on biodiversity data management, geographical information, and strategic planning for the academic student, local technicians, and those involved in protected area management.

Over two years, we have trained more than 300 local technicians from various regions of Madagascar.

Data/information from local NGO’s and community will be transferred via the lemur portal to decision-makers, tourists, and international organizations for lobbying and raising awareness.

Sustainability:

The Madagascar Biodiversity Fund, as the consortium leader, are implementing a sustainable funding mechanism that will involve the Foundation itself and other potential funders. Also, the project are currently applying for diverse grants related to lemur conservation and database sharing. To encourage the support of local potential funders, various fundraising programs are currently in preparation. In addition, the team has applied to many grants that emphasize the use of technology for biodiversity conservation.

Collaboration with protected areas manager – Madagascar National Parks in Zombitse Vohibasia

 

Visit the Madagascar Lemur Portal!

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Man and the Environment: Net Positive Impact Program

The main objective of Man and the Environment’s Net Positive Impact program is to ensure long-term forest and lemur conservation — and biodiversity conservation in general — through the involvement of local communities in management programs and economic activities in favor of the environment.

Net Positive Impact is a program of the Non-Governmental Organization Man and the Environment, a French organization that works in East and Northwest Madagascar.

What lemur species does Net Positive Impact protect?

Varecia Variegata from the Vohimana forest.

Net Positive Impact operates in three locations.

The Vohimana forest in the Mantadia – Zahamena:

  • Indri indri,
  • Propithecus diadema
  • Varecia variegata
  • Hapalemur griseus
  • Eulemur rubriventer
  • Eulemur fulvus
  • Microcebus lehilahytsara
  • Avahi laniger
  • lepilemur mustelinus
  • Cheirogaleus major
  • Daubentonia madagascariensis
  • Allocebus trichotis
  • Microcebus rufus

Indri Indri from the Vohimana forest

The Tsaramandroso community forest in the buffer zone of the Ankarafantsika National Park:

  • Propithecus coquereli
  • Lepilemur edwardsi
  • Avahi occidentalis
  • Microcebus ravelobensis
  • Eulemur mongoz
  • Microcebus murinus
  • Cheirogaleus medius
  • Eulemur fulvus

The Ambalakalanoro forest in the north-west coast: 

  • Propithecus verreauxi coquereli
  • Eulemur fulvus fulvus
  • Microcebus murinus
  • Cheirogaleus medius
  • Eulemur mongoz
  • Hapalemur griseus occidentalis
  • Phaner furcifer
  • Avali occidentalis
  • Lepilemur edwarsi

How does Net Positive Impact work for lemur conservation?

Habitat protection

As lemurs cannot survive when their natural habitat is in danger, Net Positive Impact works for habitat preservation and environmental conservation in the Vohimana, in the Tsaramandroso and the Ambalakalanoro forests by developing environmental programs. Our main actions are to make these sites “protected areas” to ensure their survival. We also monitor species registration, study their long-term acclimatization and take actions to promote their development in the zone, like reforestation and agro-forestry.

Eco-tourism

An infrastructure to develop ecotourism has been constructed in the Vohimana Forest, in order to raise awareness of locals and visitors about the site’s biodiversity. Visitors are encouraged to participate in monitoring species.

Learn more about Vohimina

Environmental policy

Promote approaches targeting sustainable lemur conservation through the design of management plans including local communities’ development and private sector involvement.

Key Projects in Madagascar

The Vohimana Project

The main objective is protecting the forest and wildlife by giving local populations lasting sources of income based on a management plan ensuring sustainable agriculture and conservation areas.

Net Positive Impact believes that no sustainable and lasting wildlife-saving orientated project can be achieved if local communities remain impoverished, as practices endangering forests and wildlife are the ones that often make locals survive.

Thus, Net Positive Impact started a global program comprising forest and wildlife protection and local communities living conditions improvement.

The Vohimana protected area project started in 2002 with the signature of an agreement transferring the management responsibility of the forest from the government to the NGO Man and the Environment for a renewable period of 25 years. The first step was to define the management plan, design the area for conservation and sustainable development purposes, and organize income generating activities for local communities and social improvement.

Eulemur Rubriventer from the Vohimana forest

The Vohimana project has four principal steps:

1. Securing the Vohimana forest for long-term conservation.

In the 2000’s, the Vohimana forest almost disappeared because of fires and burn-and-slash agriculture. To preserve this fragile ecosystem, the lemurs and other species living in it, the first capital step was to secure the forest.

Notable successes:

  • Man and the Environment was able to transform the Vohimana forest into a protected area in 2002, and it slowed down these dangerous practices. Research institutions (CIRAD) showed that forest cover loss was between 2002 and 2014 less important in Vohimana than the average in the national parks.
  • A local control forest committee has been organized with the aim to prevent traffic and fires.
  • A partnership has been made between biologists and universities, which allowed the beginning of an annual presence of scientists to launch a sustainable and regularly updated species’ population follow-up.

2. Ecotourism as a conservation tool.

The objective is to raise awareness about environment protection and to create a sustainable income source for the locals working on the project. Man and the Environment constructed an eco-shelter to welcome tourists and to secure the forest. In 2017, the infrastructure had been partly destructed by a cyclone.

Notable successes:

  • A basic infrastructure has been built and welcomed visitors on site for many years. Incomes were managed by a local association ran by people from the area who are the beneficiaries as well as guides.
  • A students & volunteers program has been put in place to train students in species monitoring and agroforestry management. Their presence in remote areas of the forest discourages risks of potential trafficking.

3. Sustainable agriculture productivity improvement.

The objective is to support environment-friendly agriculture to prevent slash-and-burn farming or other practices jeopardizing biodiversity. Net positive Impact started a program of ginger cultivation with 120 villagers around the forest. Likewise, a distillery of essential oil has been constructed and is managed by local workers. Ginger seeds have been given to selected farmers but follow-up training should be carried out. Malagasy firms will buy the production.

Notable successes:

  • The former traditional practices were participating in the destruction of the forest. Slash-and-burn cultures, as well as charcoal production, are the most dangerous threats to the forest and the wildlife it shelters. Net Positive Impact managed to launch environmental-friendly agriculture practices. It is now clear that other incomes-generating activities linked to sustainable natural resources’ use could be promoted to support conservation.

4. Social support.

The incomes generated from visitors of the ecotourism infrastructure will be redistributed to the school and the health center the NGO Man and the Environment constructed in a village near Vohimana, Ambavaniasy. The objective is double. First, to contribute to improve the living conditions of the locals, enhance education access and reduce risks of disease. Second, the forest can be seen as a potential source of living conditions improvement, encouraging villagers to protect it and thus the species living in it.

Notable successes:

  • A health center has been built on site and donors found to ensure the salary of the mid wife/nurse. – A primary school has been built on site to allow local access to education. 250 children can go
    to class.
  • A local association has been supported to regroup farmers for eucalyptus firewood forest management (preventing natural forest charcoal production), forestry seedlings production, ecotourism management, forestry control organization and essential oil production.

The Ambalakalanoro project

This projects aims to secure the Ambalakalanoro forest for long term conservation, in order to prevent possible fires or cuts in the forest and allow tourists to visit the site. The Ambalakalanoro forest is now the last shelter of those animals that managed to escape the recurrent fires. Its size is reduced to only 65 hectares, and therefore can be compared more to a private park with exceptional fauna and flora than to a state protected area. The Ambalakalanoro project was launched in 2010.

Notable successes:

  • The natural circus surrounding the forest and protecting the area has been secured.
  • Rare species have been observed, including the fossa, confirming the great biological interest of this tiny remaining forest.
  • Due to the loss of its habitat, the wildlife has no choice but to find shelter in this forest. As a result, the number of lemurs has increased: 66 sifakas now live in the forest.

Propithecus verreauxi coquereli from the Tsaramandroso and Ambalakalanoro forests

The Tsaramandroso project

The forest is located near Ankarafantsika national park. It is under great pressure of deforestation, jeopardizing the wildlife it shelters. The goal of the project is to secure the forest and its wildlife by supporting local communities in preventing slash-and-burn farming or other practices jeopardizing biodiversity. The project was launched in 2015. To do so, Net Positive Impact started a program of a sustainable collection of Saro leaves on site and other aromatic plants. Net Positive Impact also constructed a distillery of essential oils, managed by local farmers.

Notable successes:

  • The distillery employs 12 people. Farmers are motivated to prevent slash-and-burn agriculture and outsiders coming into the forest to over-harvest it.

Community Partnerships and Sustainability

Net Positive Impact partners with local organizations to ensure projects’ sustainability and local involvement.

For the Vohimana project, the local partners are different local associations, Mercie Vohimana, Manarapenitra, Zanatany, each specialized in a field.

For the Ambalakalanoro project, the local partner is the local district.

For the Tsaramandroso project, the local partners are VOI Mamelonarivo and CIRAD.

Donations Are Needed to Support These Projects in Madagascar

Vohimana Project

Donations are need to secure the Vohimana forest for long-term conservation.

Transforming the 25 years management plan agreement into a purchase of a 99-year lease of the forest.
Estimated budget to buy the 560 hectares of  forest: 250 000€

Recently, the government of Madagascar decided to sell the forest and the neighboring lands. The sale will happen at the expense of the local populations, despite their involvement in developing agro-forestry cultures respecting a long-term forest conservation plan. As a result, the risk is that individuals or companies will be able to legally destroy the forest or adopt environmentally destructive activities. Moreover, farmers will lose their lands and those who until now were using sustainable agriculture methods protecting the forest will have no choice but to go back to environment-damaging methods, as slash-and-burn culture. A solution is that Man and the Environment finances the purchase of the forest by obtaining a long-term lease of 99-year between the NGO and the State of Madagascar. Thus, the NGO would ensure the protection of the forest and its species.

Equipment of the forest patrols.
Estimated budget: 5 000€
The patrols cannot be efficient in preventing fires and wood trafficking if the proper equipment is lacking.

Employing one biologist and logistician on the field to organize the stays of biologists and the lemurs, frogs, rare plants (and other species) follow-up.
Estimated budget: 10 000€
Net positive Impact organizes lemur population monitoring. The objective is to achieve a serious database on the evolution of these populations and raise awareness of visitors, who are invited to participate in the data collection.

Securing the land for sustainable agroforestry farming and ensuring training of local farmers.
Estimated budget: 100 000€
The neighboring lands will be sold by the Malagasy government. The risk is that lands may be bought by individuals or firms that do not respect the environment and endanger the wildlife. The NGO can buy the lands and redistribute them to local farmers which agreed to an environment-friendly agriculture.

Ecotourism as a conservation tool.

Improve ecotourism infrastructure.
Estimated budget: 56 000€
Due to the cyclone, the ecotourism infrastructure cannot be functional. To be able to welcome visitors again and generate income, the infrastructure needs to be rebuilt.

Sustainable agriculture productivity improvement.
Estimated budge: 8 000€
Ginger production has been promoted, offering great opportunities to local farmers. Different plants of economic interest have been identified and are now promoted. Local farmers will be trained in improved sustainable practices.

Continue production and training for essential oils.
Estimated budget: 15 000€
A first production unit of essential oil has been provided and local community trained to process local plants for which sustainable markets have been found. Leaves from the forest are being sustainably used for production. Two new stills will be added to increase the production of essential oil, following demand.

Training in sustainable agriculture.
Estimated budget: 4 000€
Training sessions have been started to promote sustainable agriculture in place of slash-and-burn agriculture and farmers started to show interest for more training. Man and the Environment technicians will provide more training sessions on sustainable agriculture.

Social support.
Estimated budget: 3000€
For the health center to become functional, a mid-wife and a nurse need to be employed full-time and health supplies need to be bought, before the added value from the essential oil production allows paying these costs.

Education.
Estimated budget: 20 000€
The villagers approved the primary school the NGO constructed, and now ask for four classrooms for kids from 11 to 15 years old.

Training in Management and Accounting.
Estimated budget: 3000€
The local association is functioning but needs to be trained in management and accounting.

Training in Medicinal Plants.
Estimated budget: 8 000€
Promotion of a proper use of safe and efficient local medicinal plants.

The Ambalakalanoro Project

Secure Forest.
Estimated budget: 70 000€
It is important to secure the forest and its surroundings to ensure conservation by obtaining a long-term lease of 99 years for the forest itself.

Research.
Estimated budget: 10 000€
Organize studies of fauna, its long-term acclimatization and understand the actions necessary to promote its development in the zone.

Raise Awareness.
Estimated budget: 5 000€
Communicate about the site in order to draw national and international interest to conservation.

Promote Ecotourism.
Estimated budget: 5 000€

Promote hotel facilities development on the surrounding areas, companies that will have long-term interest to preserve an appealing environment for patrons and to involve local population in environmental protection.

The Tsaramandroso Project

Distillery.
Estimated budget: 10 000€
Install a new professional distillery on site.

Medicine Plants.
Estimated budget: 5 000€

Identify and standardize medicinal and aromatic plants of immediate commercial interest for local populations.

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  • Net Positive Impact accepts online donations on its website.
  • MATE can ensure that donations from the Lemur Conservation Network go directly to lemur and environmental programs.

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Madagascar Wildlife Conservation (MWC)

Madagascar Wildlife Conservation Protects the Critically Endangered Alaotra Gentle Lemur through Education, Ecotourism, and Alternative Livelihoods in the Lac Alaotra Region

Scientific name Hapalemur alaotrensis, Vernacular name Malagasy: Bandro

Lac Alaotra Gentle Lemur; Scientific name: Hapalemur alaotrensis; Malagasy: Bandro

MWC balances conservation and development in Madagascar’s Alaotra region

Madagascar Wildlife Conservation works exclusively in the region surrounding Lac Alaotra, near Andreba, Madagascar (commune of Ambatosoratra) in the special conservation zone of the Alaotra New Protected Area. In this region, MWC protects the critically endangered Alaotra Gentle Lemur. This is the only place in the world where this lemur exists in the wild.

MWC promotes long-term initiatives in this region that integrate biodiversity conservation, environmental education, and rural development using a scientific approach. Their three programs on education, ecotourism, and alternative livelihoods are ongoing and will be continued in the next years.

MWC’s focus in the next couple of years is on Bandro habitat restoration to reconnect isolated and fragmented subpopulations.

What lemur species does MWC protect?

  • Alaotra Gentle Lemur
    (Scientific name: Hapalemur alaotrensis; Malagasy name: Bandro)

The population of the Alaotra Gentle Lemur has dropped from 11,000 individuals in 1990 to about 3,000. This species could be extinct in less than 40 years. The destruction of freshwater marshes through slash and burn techniques and poaching are largely to blame. MWC works with the local community in the region surrounding Lac Alaotra to mitigate these threats and protect this lemur species from extinction.

Environmental education with the use of the comic book "Harovy fa harena"

Environmental education with the use of the comic book “Harovy fa harena”

How is MWC protecting habitat for lemur conservation?

Education

Since 2006, Madagascar Wildlife Conservation (MWC) encourages local communities to learn about, take interest in, and ultimately understand and value their environment. Education is one of the most important requisites for a better living standard as well as for sustainable conservation.

Therefore, MWC implements environmental education in the public primary schools (EPP) of the Alaotra region by distributing a comic book in Malagasy language “AROVY FA HARENA” which translates to “protect, because it is richness”. The goal is to raise public sensitivity and appreciation for the importance of an intact lake and preserved marshes. An evaluation conducted in 2011 and 2012 showed a significant increase in environmental knowledge of students receiving environmental education compared to controls.

Ecotourism

MWC also promotes sustainable ecotourism in the Alaotra region. Camp Bandro is a tourist facility close to the village Andreba and the special conservation zone Park Bandro. Trained guides take the tourists on a discovery tour in a pirogue. On the lake and in the reed and papyrus marshes in Bandro Park, they can observe the rich variety of birds and the highly endangered Bandros themselves.

Income generating activity: use of water hyacinth as raw material in basketry

Income generating activity: use of water hyacinth as raw material in basketry

The management of this facility is a community-based project which serves as a source of further income for the villagers and generates income to finance micro projects for the community, like wells and market stands.

Alternative Livelihoods for the Community

Additionally MWC supports the creation of alternative revenue sources to develop sustainable local microprojects. The aim is to elicit local competence in sustainable resource management, which respects the needs of the villagers and encourages new perspectives. This approach is the background of a project which encourages the villagers to use the invasive water hyacinth as an alternative revenue source.

Local and International Collaborators

MWC collaborates with various stakeholders, from local village associations to regional NGOs, official authorities, and universities.

The team of MWC with communities and other partners

The MWC team with communities and other partners

Their main partners in the Alaotra region are:

  • VOI Andreba: Andreba-based community association with the official mandate from the Ministry of Environment to manage the Park Bandro site at Andreba
  • AGBA: local tourist guide association in Andreba responsible for tourist visits at the Park Bandro
  • Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust Madagascar: NGO with regional office in Ambatondrazaka (Alaotra), responsible for the conservation and management of the New Protected Area Lake Alaotra.
  • CISCO: school authorities from Ambatondrazaka and Amparafaravola districts
  • Alaotra Rano Soa: Malagasy association based in Ambatondrazaka, responsible for the management of the New Protected Area Lake Alaotra.
  • Ministry of Environment, Ecology, Sea and Forests: responsible for the governance of water and forests.
  • Ministry of Fisheries: responsible for the governance of fisheries.
  • Ministry of Agriculture: responsible for the governance of agricultural production and land.

 

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Madagasikara Voakajy

Madagasikara Voakajy

Madagasikara Voakajy promotes conservation and sustainable use of Madagascar’s unique species, habitats and ecosystems, for the benefits of Malagasy people

Supporting lemur conservation since 2005 through research and targeted action

Madagasikara Voakajy schoolchildren at manakana Est

School children with the Madagasikara Voakajy lemur mascot!

Madagasikara Voakajy was established in 2005 to provide job opportunities for young Malagasy researchers. Over time, they have evolved to become an organization that provides opportunities for Malagasy biologists to become leaders in the conservation and ecological study of bats, chameleons and other vertebrates. Nowadays, they use evidence-based interventions and stakeholder engagement to target their conservation programs, which focus on a variety of species and their natural habitats. Currently, they have teams of experts who focus on baobabs, bats, reptiles, amphibians and lemurs.

What lemurs does Madagasikara Voakajy protect?

Currently, Madagasikara Voakajy directly impacts the following lemur species:

  • Common brown lemur (Eulemur fulvus)
  • Indri (Indri indri)
  • Diademed sifaka (Propithecus diadema)

To help monitor these species, the organization is implementing a monitoring program using the occupancy modeling, a method that could be implemented easily with the local communities. In Alaotra-Mangoro Region, our interventions also benefit to at least seven other lemur species.

Hunting for lemurs in the Alaotra-Mangoro Region (where Madagasikara Voakajy does much of its work) is a real problem. Their research on this topic has found that lemur hunting may be widespread in this region and may be increasing. In addition, the traditional taboos that some groups in this region hold against hunting some lemur species (like the Indri) may be breaking down. Since 2015, the monitoring of threats and pressures was carried out until now. Only the ayes-ayes that remain taboos for the hunters.

In October 2015, they started using camera traps to monitor lemurs and other animal species in Mangabe protected
area (Moramanga district). This method provides valuable information on the presence / absence, behavior and habitat use of lemurs. Since December 2015, Madagasikara Voakajy is among the beneficiaries of the SOS’ Lemur Initiative. This project is entitled “Learning alternative livelihoods and agricultural techniques, for the love of lemurs” a.k.a “Youths for Lemurs-Lemurs for youths”.

How is Madagasikara Voakajy protecting habitat for lemur conservation?

Madagasikara Voakajy

Madagasikara Voakajy has worked to create several protected areas and natural resources use programs in Madagascar.

Currently, Madagasikara Voakajy is leading the management of seven protected areas in the Alaotra-Mangoro region.

They are supplementing this work with:

  • Environmental education in primary schools;
  • Supporting alternative income projects for women’s associations and youths (15-25 years old);
  • Encouraging the uptake of alternative farming methods for traditional crops; and
  • Creating and supporting community associations to manage natural resources.

In the past, they have worked with communities in a small number of key sites in the Anosy, Alaotra-Mangoro, and Menabe regions to support sustainable natural resource use and protect local habitats.

Partnering with local communities

Outreach

Given the high rates of lemur hunting in their target region, Madagasikara Voakajy undertakes awareness campaigns to raise awareness of the protected status of lemurs with both children and adults. For example, they have ‘Lenari’ – their indri mascot – who interacts with audience members at outreach events through playing, singing and dancing. ‘Lenari’ makes appearances at the organization’s events which include animal festivals, drawing competitions, song and poem competitions, field trips, and even the creation of school biodiversity clubs.

Now, the SOS project, “Youths for lemurs – Lemurs for youths”, brought together young people aged 15-25 from the villages around Mangabe to participate in the conservation of lemurs. Young people make song contests, interviews on lemur conservation. Finally, young people broadcast radio programs to raise awareness among people who do not know the importance and existence of lemurs.

Madagasikara Voakajy also undertakes outreach in schools. Their partnership with education authorities at the local level is especially helpful when schools that are located in communities that are within the boundaries of new protected areas.

Capacity building

Madagasikara Voakajy

Madagasikara Voakajy trains Malagasy scientists both at the university level and beyond.

Through their student training program, Madagasikara Voakajy continues to nurture the next generation of Malagasy scientists; they have supported dozens of Malagasy graduate students. They are also aiming to build the careers of promising Malagasy biologists through employment with their organization.

 

 

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