Meet Laza: Project Coordinator for Project Ala
Salama! My name is Laza and I’m the Coordinator for Project Ala.
From a young age, I’ve been interested in the environment. I grew up in Fianarantsoa, central Madagascar, where I completed my schooling. Since then, I have been striving to gain work experience that combines my two greatest passions: English and the environment. Straight after school, I trained to become a tour guide in nature reserves. I also worked as a nursery manager for a French organisation, where I was responsible for growing seedlings and educating children on the environment. In 2017, I started working in Fort Dauphin as a translator for SEED Madagascar. When the coordinator position for Project Ala came up, I knew this was perfect for me. I wanted to become a coordinator because I want to develop my skills and gain more responsibilities. Project Ala gives me the opportunity to work on an environment project again, and a forestry one at that!
Laza with Project Ala team and stakeholders at the project launch
With Project Ala, we are aiming to conserve three nocturnal lemur species by planting four corridors between pieces of forest that have become fragmented. Over the last decades, the forest cover in Madagascar has significantly declined. It makes me sad to see how especially human activities, such as logging and tavy (slash and burn agriculture), have left forests fragmented and depleted. This means that lemurs, among other species, have less and less space to live. The species we focus on in this project can’t cross open land. By constructing corridors, lemurs have access to other forest fragments too. Have you ever seen a lemur jumping? It’s a special feeling.
To me, the most important part of the project is working with the local community to manage the forests. Through working closely with the community and conducting education sessions, we can raise awareness of the importance of the forests and everything in it. So much of the flora and fauna in the Sainte Luce Littoral Forest is endemic to Madagascar or even endemic to that particular forest! I hope that through this project we especially open the eyes of kids, as they are the next generation and should become champions for their own forests.