The Final Countdown
The students from Fettes College have just enjoyed their last day with us here in Fort Dauphin. It’s been a busy two weeks for the school group and today was no different! After a morning at the museum, the students and teachers headed down to Ankoba beach for an afternoon of swimming and music. With two local musicians, they were taught some basic drumming beats and in no time were getting into the swing of things – even gathering a small audience!
A big Thank you from all of us here to Fettes and POD, and we wish Fettes College a safe onward journey and hope that the students have loved their time here as much as we have enjoyed hosting.
Lanirano Primary school - Supporting our neighbours
The Project Development team are hard at work raising money for the primary school at Lanirano. Many of our volunteers will remember this from their camping days as the school next to the site, but as our picture shows only too well, it is in desperate need to repair.
Children from 4 to 11 years old attend the school - but with the roof falling in, walls rotting and not enough benches, the head mistress is working with SEED to try to find money for two new classrooms so that the children can study in a warm, safe and dry environment.
If you would like to donate to SEED and help with this work, please visit us at madagascar.charitycheckout.co.uk/
Singing for Ste Luce.
This weekend students from Fettes College, Scotland, joined with SEED's conservation research volunteers in hosting an English singing competition in Ste Luce.
Learning English has become more and more important in the village, not only as part of the students education but also as an important tool to finding jobs within the tourism industry. SEED's English programme is always looking for fun ways to teach - and this proved a popular way of learning some different vocab.
The American pop song “Shake it Off”, became the English text book for the afternoon as this video shows.
Interested in joining the English Teaching Programme at SEED Madagascar? Check out our website for more information madagascar.co.uk/volunteer/english-programme
Beehive broken and nothing to fix it with?
This was the position of some of the rural beekeepers working with SEED - but Jevago and Jack came up with an answer by trying 'sugru'.
Sugru is the extraordinary new mouldable glue and the only glue on the planet that sticks to almost anything, moulds like play-dough, then cures overnight into a durable silicone rubber.
Sugru have picked up this story of how SEED are using their glue in Rural Madagascar.
Remembering the oceans - but not forgetting the people
Did you know that around 44% of the world’s population live within 150km of the coast and three out of every seven people depend on seafood as their main source of protein.
So, marine conservation can not be just about conserving our oceans - it has to be about safeguarding the resources of people who rely on the sea and live in coastal communities. This is no news to us at SEED- and our work with the Fishing community of Ste Luce and their lobster fishery is proof that working together really does work. Already fishermen have seen a rise of 30% in the price they can sell their lobsters - making a huge impact on the ability of the family to buy food, medicine and send their kids to school.
So, mindful of the impact of conservation efforts on the 50 million small scale fisheries throughout the world, we are going to be stepping up our efforts to fund a 3 year partnership in Ste Luce, Itapera and Elondrato providing support to communities in managing their fisheries in to the future.
If you want to be a part of helping to fund this work, do consider making a donation at this madagascar.charitycheckout.co.uk
Trial, error and Success - water on tap for Tatirano
For many of us turning on the tap and having clean drinking water whenever we need it is a given. Yet in the areas where SEED Madagascar work this is a luxury even in the town - and unheard of in the bush.
Over the past six months, the Tatirano project team have been hard at work using their learning from the school rain water harvesting system, and turning this into a household rainwater system. The Ste Luce campsite was the trial site and the final outcome is a convenient, affordable system that will provide over 12,000 litres of clean water a year for individual households.
A significant challenge for the team was designing a system that could be built locally and installed without the need of technical expertise. Basically we wanted a system that anyone could fit and maintain. This new easy-to use prototype will mean that families can, without trouble, harvest rainwater long into the future - and solve the problems of having clean, safe water on tap for all the family.
Want to change your commute for a while?
Commutes into work can be stressful - traffic queues,crowded tubes or standing room only on trains. Not so for SEED Madagascar's conservation programme volunteers.
For our work in some of the outlying forest fragments, it's a magical canoe journey that wets the appetite for an unforgettable experience in the Jurassic Park-like jungle landscape before getting to work with some of the most beautiful flora found in South Madagascar.
This could be your commute to for a while.
Sign up for our Conservation Programme and experience the unique flora and fauna of our littoral forests and contribute to the ongoing research and conservation of the forest! Join us for 2-10 weeks for an unforgettable experience. http://madagascar.co.uk/conservation
All hands-on deck in Manambaro!
12 students from Fettes College have just returned from helping with the construction of two new classrooms at the high school in Manambaro. Working alongside SEED’s Construction team, the students and teachers have been busy digging foundations, mixing cement, hauling granite stones and laying the groundworks for the school building, which will house up to 100 extra students. In just four days, the group made impressive progress, completing all the foundations ready for the new pioneer group to begin work on the floor and walls.
In-between the digging and the brick-laying, the students also got a chance to explore the rural market town, meeting with the chief of the region, headmistress of the school and the medical director of the local hospital. After an active and enjoyable first week, the group are now preparing to join the Conservation team in Ste Luce.
"We want to help new Mums....This is what this project is all about"
These were the words of Dr Mamy, but probably reflect people's thoughts all over the world. However elsewhere new Mums have access to good health information and services, but here in Fort Dauphin, this isn't necessarily the case.
Dr Mamy has developed SEEDs new Child Health project to address this and support new Mum's to spot and treat common childhood illnesses effectively in the own homes - and to spot the danger signs when they need specialist help from a health care professional
"We want to give new Mum's in Fort Dauphin the same information and skills that others in the world have and in the absence of wide reaching services , we want to give them the ability to keep their babies healthy"
This is a two year project, and we now have just over 50% of funding - enough for us to start whilst we fund raise for the remaining funds. If you want to make a donation to our work on Mother and Child Health consider making a one off or month direct debit at madagascar.charitycheckout.co.uk
Balancing forest use and forest protection
Where the community sources its wood in protected areas has always been cause for debate – both within the community and outside of it. With Cyclone Enawo destroying the bridge that enables the community of Sainte Luce to collect firewood from its dedicated usage sites, this has become even more problematic. Local people have few options, requiring wood for construction, firewood for cooking, and as a source of much-needed income. In response, the conservation programme will be mapping areas in six of the Sainte Luce forest fragments to better understand the impact of deforestation in these different areas. Conducting research within these forest fragments highlights the species most at risk of deforestation, which can then inform community logging and conservation practices in the area!
Pioneers get busy on benches
This week saw the arrival of a new group of Pioneers - volunteers who join SEED for 2-10 weeks and work alongside our team in Madagascar. Their first job - building 20 benches for the Lanirano middle school. Student numbers have been increasing over recent years, and now not every child is able to have a bench on which to sit during lessons. With an additional 20 benches, 60 more students will have somewhere to sit when the school reopens in October
Thank you to our volunteers for making this happen
If you are interested in joining the team for a few weeks, check out our programmes at madagascar.co.uk/volunteer/pioneer
Madagascar is featured in this article in the UK's Daily Telegraph.
Wild Post Card Project
Colouring competitions have been the order of the day recently in Club Atsatsaky as SEED partnered the Wild Postcard Project. Founded in Ireland, the Wild Postcard Project encourages children’s interest and enthusiasm for the natural world through art.
Club Atstasky members entered the spirit of the project with gusto, choosing their favourite animal to draw - from gecko's, to lemurs, to fish - and our two winners are pictured below.
Club Atsatsaky is the community environmental programme, run by the conservation team, based in the rural community of Sainte Luce. It provides weekly, fun filled lessons, concentrating on the importance of the environment and biodiversity specific to the surrounding unique littoral forest and working with the children in growing their eagerness to protect their forest in the future.
A special thanks to Nessa Darcy for setting this up!
To join the volunteers in Club Asatsaky go to madagascar.co.uk/volunteer/conservation-programme
How people are growing their own miracles
Moringa Olifera, aptly known as ‘The Miracle Tree’, is so nutritious that just a handful of its leaves contain more vitamin C than 6 oranges, more calcium than 4 glasses of milk and impressive amounts of protein, iron, and potassium. We think The Miracle Tree more than lives up to its name! Fast-growing and requiring little maintenance, the tree can greatly increase access to nutritious food in places where it is otherwise hard to find, such as the dry and sandy soils of Sainte Luce!
SEED Madagascar has been promoting this tree for a number of years and the fully grown trees can now be seen growing in many family gardens. But there is still more to do. As part of Project Mivoatsy, SEED wants to promote moringa further so that more families can supplement their diet with this nutrient-rich food. Not only will this have significant health benefits, but by selling surplus produce at markets, it will also help to improve the incomes of families by creating a sustainable livelihood!
To help SEED Madagascar continue to find ways of supporting families to better improve their health and well being, please consider making a small direct debit at madagascar.charitycheckout.co.uk
SEED welcomed it's first student group this week from Scottish school, Fettes College and POD. The sixth form students and three teachers are here for two weeks working on SEED's school building and conservation projects. This morning they set off to the market town of Manambaro to work with the SEED team to complete the High School for the town. First stop though - meeting the Mayor and Headmistress, who wanted to meet with the team personally and thank them for travelling all the way to Madagascar to provide a building for the Manambaro students to study in.
Wanting to build a career in International development?
Many International development posts say that you need one to two years experience before you can apply - but how do you get this experience if no one will give you the opportunity to do the post in the first place?
For some of our year long voluntary internship posts, we look more for passion and enthusiasm rather than experience. This is true for the Communication and Logistics role that we currently have on offer. You do need to be organised and be able to manage the role, but this is the perfect post for someone who wants to gain a way into the field rather than someone who already has a lot of experience and who wants to know how an NGO works and be part of that process.
If you are looking to build a career and want to know more, have a look at the role description at madagascar.co.uk/jobs
On a recent trip to some of the smaller and more remote forest fragments, our Conservation Team met some old friends - the critically endangered Antanosy day geckos (Phelsuma antanosy).
Deforestation and land-use change has isolated these smaller forest blocks from the main forest, presenting an enormous barrier to the survival of wildlife, particularly small arboreal species such as these geckos who can not then get back to the main forest.
The SEED Conservation Team are investigating joining these fragmented forest blocks by planting tree 'corridors' and providing much-needed connecting routes for these endangered populations of gecko. Our team are now busy gathering and growing the species for this work, with the hope of reconnecting these divided forest fragments to safeguard the future of species such as the day gecko!
Stitch Sainte Luce – it‘s official!
There has been an exciting development in one of SEED’s longest-running projects: the Stitch embroiderers of Sainte Luce are now registered as an official Cooperative!
Established in 2012, Project Stitch has been training women in embroidery for five years and a lot has changed since the humble beginnings of the project. From an intrepid group of 11 women learning to embroider in a small dark loft, to the fully operational Stitch Cooperative, which has become a thriving enterprise of 21 experienced embroiderers with their own purpose-built studio. And now, after months of paperwork, numerous trips to government ministries, and several Stitch committee meetings, the Cooperative has achieved another milestone in becoming fully registered and licensed, with an official ID card and Certificate of Cooperative Status to show for it!
A big ‘congratulations’ to all the wonderful ladies of the Stitch Cooperative, and to the project staff that have helped them along their journey! Check out our website to find out more about the Stitch story and what we are up to!
It's 10 years for SEED's Mama Tsina
This weekend marks Tsina's 10-year anniversary heading up SEED Madagascar's volunteer programmes. Over this time she has welcomed literally 100's of volunteers to both the country and SEED - making sure that all of us are safe, well fed on rice and beans and working harder then we ever thought possible.
So today, a big thank you from all of us volunteers, to our Mama Tsina!
Raising a glass the Tatirano way
Every single day Project Tatirano’s rainwater harvesting system at the Primary School in Ste. Luce provides clean drinking water to 144 thirsty students. What's more, the system has collected enough water in six months to provide over 500 people in the wider community with clean drinking water every single day!
And this is just the start! Through Project Tatirano, SEED Madagascar now aims to provide even more people with clean water by equipping households with an individual harvesting system.
The new household rainwater harvesting systems will provide clean drinking water helping to improve families health, and also saving precious time out of their days spent walking and queuing at the local wells. This blend of improved health and added time can change the lives of people here in southeast Madagascar reducing diseases from drinking dirty water and giving valuable time back to people to farm, fish or weave.
We would like to thank the Travers Cox Charitable Foundation for their continued support of Project Tatirano