Inspired by his experience on our community construction programme, in 2010 Reza Pakravan abandoned his comfortable life working in London's financial sector to cycle the length of the globe - an incredible 11,000 mile journey - in just 100 days.
A long time supporter and patron of SEED, Reza carried out his epic attempt entirely in aid of our school building projects, raising over £50,000 and shining a spotlight on Madagascar's struggling education infrastructure. Check out his new book Kapp to Cape for the whole story, featuring a chapter all about us!
"Where are we going on today's field trip?" Kathy asked. "A sewage treatment plant?! Hooray!"
One of the best parts of Nary and Kathy's recent trip to the Faecal Sludge Management India Conference was the opportunity to visit a Sewage Treatment Plant! The day's field trip started with a trip to an apartment complex to observe a vacuum truck emptying a septic tank, followed by a visit to the Perungudi Sewage Treatment Plant.
As with many other plants across the globe, at Perungudi, bacteria and protozoa are the superstars of the treatment process. Treatment starts with an 'activated sludge process', where air and microorganisms are added to waste to break down organics, which are separated out. Remaining waste undergoes digestion by anaerobic bacteria, followed by a drying process. The treated and dried waste is then sold to farmers for fertiliser; and biogas produced by the breakdown process is captured and used to generate electricity for use at the facility, increasing sustainability!
The plant treats 54 million litres per day - that's a lot of sewage! Thank you to #FSM4 for a great opportunity for the Malio representatives to learn more about advanced FSM processes!
Last month our Managing Director Mark Jacobs took some time out of his hectic London office schedule to catch up with the team on the ground in Madagascar! Mark's favourite part of his trip was his time spent with rural communities. He also had the exciting chance to catch up with students in Mahatalaky, seeing first hand the long term impact of our school building project, Project Sekoly!
Special thanks to key Project Sekoly supporters, Hazel's Footprints Trust and Trade Aid, for helping us create lasting opportunities to access education for the students of Anosy.
Today we would like to stand behind and share Amnesty International's condemnation of environmental activist Clovis Razafimalala's unlawful detention, after speaking out on behalf of the communities and forests of Madagascar. Razafimalala and his organisation, the Maroantsetra Lampogno coalition, work hard to fight against the illegal trafficking of Madagascar's precious natural resources.
Ever heard of ultra cycling, let alone in a virtual land? This week, Chris 'Hoppo' Hopkinson has been cycling almost non-stop in a sponsored bid to become the 128-hour stationary cycling world record holder!
He's nearing the end of his quest to cycle 2000+ miles over six days in on a digital island called Watopia. Aside from being a heroic feat in itself, what's more amazing is that he's raising money for SEED in the process! Previously a music teacher, Chris knows the importance of education for development, and is donating two thirds of the proceeds to help us continue school construction and repair throughout the Anosy region.
Check out his latest video below, and follow him as he cycles towards the finish line tomorrow afternoon! If you would like to donate to Chris and SEED, please head over to http://madagascar.charitycheckout.co.uk/Hoppo
Happy World Water Day 2017!
This year SEED dressed in #blue4water to celebrate all the people and organisations around the world that are tackling the biggest crisis facing the human race: water. Diseases from dirty water kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war.
Project Tatirano is working hard to show people an easy way to collect clean water, right at the home! We have also been invited by the President of Madagascar to present the project this Sunday alongside UNICEF-Madagascar and other WASH actors. These are very exciting times for us and the project so watch this space for updates!
For now though we focus back on and congratulate the winning team of The Inaugural Tatirano River Around the Office Race, all of whom did a brilliant job of Tatiranoing on the move (and getting very wet in the process!)
Happy International Day of Forests! Did you know that for rural communities in developing countries, forests are often the only available source of energy? 90% of wood and charcoal use for fuel takes place in developing countries.
Across Madagascar, an estimated 80% of forests have been lost, with 200,000 hectares continuing to be lost to deforestation each year. This is devastating for a country with such high reliance on natural resources, and several terrestrial ecoregions ranking among the world’s most outstanding areas of biodiversity.
We're currently developing Project Aroafo, which will work toward Sustainable Development Goal 15 by minimising forest loss in Sainte Luce through strengthened, community-specific fire mitigation and firebreak construction. Learn more about Aroafo here: http://madagascar.co.uk/projects/environment/aroafo #IntlForestDay #GlobalGoals
Don't forget about Mother's Day this upcoming Sunday! Looking for the perfect and unique gift for your own one-of-a-kind mum? Consider buying some beautiful embroidery from Stitch Sainte Luce's online shop! Any UK orders made by midday on Wednesday the 22nd will make it in time for Sunday gift giving! Many of our new associate embroiderers are daughters who were taught embroidery work by their mothers, so this Mother's Day give the gift of family teamwork and help empower women artists in Madagascar!
The micro-climate between tent inner and outer sheets are a perfect environment for Phelsuma day geckos, who then may even set up their home territory and stick around! This particular gecko is currently bravely guarding our Conservation Research Coordinator’s tent.
In the littoral forests of Sainte Luce there are 4 species of Madagascan day gecko, including the critically endangered Phelsuma antanosy, a species reliant on specific palm species. The loss or reduction of these crucial palms will have a knock-on effect on these beautiful geckos, and many other species including a number of endemic frogs. Research into the day geckos is vital for informing conservation measures such as protection area priorities and replanting.
Sarah has always wanted to see Madagascar – and not just because of the movie! Having volunteered abroad many times before in places like Kenya and Ghana, she much prefers being active when she is visiting a new country. This is why she has particularly been enjoying working as a short-term volunteer on the construction of the second high school building for Project Sekoly in Manambaro.
Sarah loves working on site and being able to get to know the construction team despite her very little knowledge in Malagasy. While she found her very first day in Madagascar a bit startling, she is glad that she got out of her comfort zone and is particularly thrilled to be “being able to see first hand the impact that you’re making here” – and even confessed that her favourite part of the construction has been mixing cement.
We'd like to thank Hazel's Footprints Trust and Trade Aid UK for their continued support for Project Sekoly!
Are you interested in helping women in rural Madagascar share their beautiful embroidery products with the world? Have you got the skills and passion to help Stitch Sainte Luce keep growing as a flourishing independent business? We are looking to hire a new London-based team member to take on the role of Sales and Marketing Coordinator for Stitch, able to commit to one paid day per week. To learn more about this exciting new role and apply today, please check out http://madagascar.co.uk/jobs
SEED is wishing a warm welcome back to Malio's Project Coordinator and their International Specialist, Nary and Kathy, who recently travelled to India for the 4th International Faecal Sludge Management (FSM) Conference in Chennai!
Globally, 2.7 billion people rely on onsite sanitation, and the resulting sludge from septage and pit latrines has enormous public and environmental health implications. Around 1,000 professionals in the sector, including government representatives, academics, consultants, NGOs and service providers participated in the conference to learn more about the collection, transport, disposal and treatment of faecal sludge.
Nary's favourite part of the conference was the opportunity to learn about case studies from other FSM practitioners working in the field! Kathy loved attending the workshop on city-wide sanitation and planning.
We're happy to have them back and to learn more about effective FSM from their experiences!
This Saturday, ultra cyclist Chris 'Hoppo' Hopkinson is embarking on a mammoth 6-day ride to raise money for our school construction projects in Madagascar! Over 144 gruelling hours he'll be aiming to beat the current world record of 1931.9 miles. Check out his page for more info about the event, or donate online here! http://madagascar.charitycheckout.co.uk/Hoppo
Mother's Day is coming up, and what better to get her than a beautiful embroidered gift from Stitch Sainte Luce? Order by the 22nd for guaranteed UK delivery, plus the warm fuzzy feeling of making a real difference to an impoverished community right here in southeast Madagascar.
We're on the hunt for a Project Development and Administration Intern to commit to several days a week at our London office near Queen's Park. If you're interested in getting some introductory international development experience and working with senior members of an INGO at head office, then please apply today! You can check out the role description here: http://madagascar.co.uk/jobs
We're battening down the hatches as Cyclone Enawo heads southwards, predicted to reach us this evening, so apologies if we're a little quiet over the next few days. Our thoughts go out to the hundreds of families already affected by the damaging winds and flooding rains. To our friends in Fort Dauphin and elsewhere, stay safe this weekend!
Happy International Women's Day from Madagascar! Dating all the way back to 1909 in its first iteration, this year's UN theme for the day is "Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030" which highlights the goal for achieving global gender equality within employment within the next 13 years.
Madagascar is one of 28 countries where the day is a national holiday, women are free to celebrate the day across the country by holding parades, singing, dancing, playing music and discussing important topics.
In the 2012 pilot Women's Economic Opportunity index, Madagascar came in at 120 of 128 countries. Although constitutionally women have equal rights here, there still exist informal inequalities in certain areas of the country with regard to employment rights, property ownership and access to services and resources. The day is an opportunity to celebrate womanhood, women's empowerment and working towards a more fair and equitable standing for women within Madagascar and across the world.
Learn more about International Women's Day on the official site, and #BeBoldForChange wherever you are today.
Yvon has been a mainstay of SEED’s Pioneer volunteer programme for many years, having worked as a guide for the scheme since 2005. As a Pioneer guide, Yvon meets many people from different countries across the globe. Yvon has always loved to share stories with others, hence why his favourite part of his job is not only learning about other cultures, but also teaching incoming volunteers about life in Madagascar. He particularly enjoys teaching volunteers the Malagasy language and showing them what the stunning Anosy region has to offer.
Over the 12 years he’s worked for SEED, Yvon is especially grateful for how far his English language skills have come. He told us: “At the very beginning when I first started my job, I wasn’t easily able share my knowledge with volunteers; but now, I can do it and I can answer all of their questions, and share all of the things I know about Madagascar and its culture.”
Our Pioneer programme is an immersive experience that gives you a taste of working with our construction, conservation and community health teams, alongside experienced local guides like Yvon who provide unique insights into Malagasy culture! If this sounds like the opportunity you’ve been looking for consider applying today: http://madagascar.co.uk/pioneer
How much do you know about the Sustainable Development Goals? Take this quiz in the Guardian to find out, and learn more about the successes of the SDGs so far as well as some of the challenges they will face.
The SDG framework guides all of our work here at SEED, and across all of our projects we're proud to be contributing to the realisation of 15 of the 17 SDGs! The SDG framework helps ensure that we are working to secure the same future as other organisations across the globe, guaranteeing best practice, a holistic approach to sustainability, and that no one is left behind!
No matter your score on the quiz today you can always check out the Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform to learn more about the SDGs, and check back on global progress as we move towards 2030! http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/
Two weeks ago our Conservation Programme team got the call that the loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings on Manafiafy beach were finally ready to make their treacherous journey to the sea!
Upon arrival, the team met up with the local family who have been watching and protecting the nests along the beach. The team were thrilled to witness multiple generations of the family gather together to watch the event, with sincere concern about the success and conservation of this incredible species. Four hatchlings decided it was time to brave the harsh world outside their eggshells, and began their journey to the sea. All four hatchlings made it past the breaking waves where they will hopefully overcome predation and food shortages and one day make it back to this beach to nest themselves.
Sadly, three of the five species of sea turtle that are present in the waters around Madagascar are facing extinction. They are often the victims of trafficking for the tourism industry or harvested for their meat.