New year, new opportunities!
We’re looking for a Project Development and Administration Assistant Intern to work with us at our office in Queen’s Park, London. This opportunity is great for anyone wishing to break into the international development sector. You’ll be able to gain valuable experience working closely with senior operational staff! Check out our website for more details and how to apply!
The Wild Postcard Project comes to Ste Luce
Over the next few weeks, three former SEED staff members are returning to Ste Luce to bring the Wild Postcard project to Club Atsatsaky, SEED’s environmental education programme! The project showcases unique animals and plants through art competitions in locations across the world such as Ireland, the Philippines and British Columbia. The winning artworks are converted into postcards, allowing local nature, as seen by young people in the area, to be enjoyed in all corners of the globe.
Nessa Darcy, Daniel Wood and Conor Friel, will run this competition with Club A, with the winning artwork turned into stunning postcards of Ste Luce’s extraordinary wildlife for volunteers and tourists to buy in support of SEED’s work in the area.
For more information on the Wild Postcard Project
Happy birthday to Wikipedia, also known globally as Wikipedia Day! In places with relatively limited access to books or educational materials, online resources such as Wikipedia are incredibly important for learning, no matter what topic. There are more than 10,000 articles written in Malagasy on the site! Join us in celebrating today, and perhaps check out one of the many articles about the island, from geography, to its cultural history, or even its many special creatures!
We love this video put together by Réseau Mihari - Mihari Network to celebrate last year's National Forum, which brought together fishers from across Madagascar to improve livelihoods and marine conservation! Featured are both our home of Fort Dauphin, as well as the beautiful village Sainte Luce!
Today we would like to give our sincere condolences to the family of Dadah, our senior community liaison officer on Project Safidy, and his wife who both tragically passed away in an car accident. Dadah was a light on our Safidy team, and was passionate about improving sexual health and reproductive rights in his home town of Fort Dauphin and across Madagascar. Dadah was a joy to know, a brilliant dancer and will be very missed by the entire SEED family.
Things are quieting down at the SEED offices as we wind down for the holidays, but rest assured we'll still be sharing our favourite news and articles from across Madagascar! We hope all of our friends and supporters enjoy some well-deserved time off and we hope even more that we've made your Christmas list this year - we promise we've been very good! madagascar.charitycheckout.co.uk/
Watch your step! Can you spot this Madagascar ground boa? Because our conservation team did not! It was only upon returning from a research survey that head guide and all-around hero Hoby spotted this gorgeously camouflaged snake. Ground boas can reach over 2.5 metres in length so even lemurs need to watch out! This particular specimen was only around a metre long so will be doing a great job of keeping the local invasive rat population in check!
Maternal and child health project Votsira has been delivering educational sessions to improve the health and wellbeing of children in Fort Dauphin! This session targeted elders, who are often best placed within their communities to give advice and support to new mothers, with info on the safe preparation of food and water as well as encouraging exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life.
Meet Eulalie! She's delivering a lesson from our sexual health and reproductive rights curriculum which we've developed in conjunction with Madagascar's Ministry of National Education. This particular session focused on advocacy, encouraging the students to identify potential problems within their lives and communities and call for change! With low condom use leading to high rates of STIs, HIV and unintended pregnancies, Project Safidy aims to improve the sexual health, knowledge and services available to students at a national level.
Support our vital work this Christmas - you'd be amazed to see how far £10 can go! madagascar.co.uk/donate
It's hard not to get hooked on Madagascar's fisheries! After 18 months on lobster project Oratsimba, SEED alumnus Steve has been investigating how other marine communities manage their resources on the big island. Check out his open-access paper here!
We're hiring (again)! This time we're looking for an MEL & Research Specialist to work with us on community well management project Fatsaka. You'll be based in our office in sunny Fort Dauphin, regularly visiting rural communities in southeast Madagascar for monitoring and research. Check out our website and apply today!
Last month we had the great pleasure of joining up with Madagascar's Ministry of National Education for our sexual and reproductive health rights project, Safidy. And we're not the only ones who are excited – it was front page news across the country! The Malagasy word for "choice", this partnership will see our education resources piloted across secondary schools all over Madagascar, providing young people across the country with all the info they need to make informed choices about their sexual health.
Check out this blog post from lobster guru Ali on an exciting site visit to Sainte Luce – with not just our team in tow, but also fishers and ministers from all over Madagascar!
By Allison Burtenshaw-deVries
For one sunny week this spring, Fort Dauphin became the temporary home to NGO staff, officials and fishers from all over Madagascar who joined together to discuss marine resource management. Hosted by MIHARI for the 4th time, the forum provided an amazing opportunity for coordination, sharing of lessons learned and the exploration of what benefits locally managed marina areas (LMMAs) brings with them. Considering that it is far more effective for communities to learn about successes and setbacks from one another than to simply take the word of NGOs, the group made a very successful trip to the remote community of Sainte Luce to visit SEED's Project Oratsimba. The group was able to view the LMMA area which was established to help the spiny lobster fishery rejuvenate, while also reducing poverty through improving the sustainability of the fishermen’s livelihoods. We’ll hand you over to Acting Head of Project Development Alli to tell you all about it!
A heavy dose of rain early in the morning didn't dampen the spirits of those gathering at sunrise in Fort Dauphin. Groups of fishers, officials and NGO staff from all over the country congregated with cups of street coffee and local donuts on the headland, with a beautiful view of Pic St Louis as a backdrop. Poignantly, the sea view was dotted with fishers heading out into Shipwreck Bay for their early morning lobster catch.
The crowds piled into buses, 4x4s and trucks to visit the remote fishing community of Sainte Luce for a community site visit, to see the opening days of the periodic No Take Zone (NTZ) for the spiny lobster fishery. No Take Zone opening days are always exciting days for the community, as increased catches are particularly seen on the first few days as a result of the temporary fishing closures. The NTZ in Sainte Luce is run by the fishers themselves and occurs for a total of nine months of the year.
To have guests to share it with made it an even more momentous day for the community. Before we took off for the long journey the skies cleared and within a few bumpy hours the convoy arrived to a buzzing Sainte Luce. The entire community had gathered on the beautiful beach of Manafiafy, with a shaded area for visitors to sit, and many charming food stands, as well as a stall of souvenirs produced by SEED’s sustainable livelihoods project Stitch Sainte Luce.
The crowd was treated to an excellent series of speeches from the local management team, as well as local and national officials and NGO staff. The Chef Quartier (community leader) in particular gave a fantastic speech, with an in-depth history of the NTZ that identified challenges and successes that the village has experienced from both the past and the future.
After speeches, we got to see a delightful series of dances from the women of the village, before a spectacular lunch! This was served in a traditional local manner on the beach, with rice and zebu placed on giant banana leaves, eaten with smaller leaves as scoops, with the platter shared between several people. Not only were the utensils all natural, but with the communal setting and incredibly tasty meal, it was a top dining occasion. And the lunchtime view from Manafiafy beach simply can't be beat!
Site visits always have an aura of excitement and this day was no exception. Fishers who participate in the forums often live in isolated communities and neighbours just down the coast can sometimes be hard to reach. But seeing new places and the way their LMMAs operate is one of, if not the best, way of learning about the positive benefits associated with better stock management and getting in touch with neighbouring communities. The site visit included representatives of two communities to the north and the south that will be working with SEED on fisheries management into the future, as well several communities from the east coast.
The day was an exciting chance to review the major successes of the last three years of the NTZ openings, and celebrated both the sacrifices and successes that the community has had in improving their livelihoods through better managed lobster stocks. For community members as well as NGO staff, it’s admittedly remarkably easy to become bogged down in the details, in particular to make decisions as a fair collective, as you try to make ends meet today but also guarantee a future livelihood for your children tomorrow. The multi-dimensional realities of poverty and conservation challenges are not easy problems to solve and like most challenging problems cannot simply be solved in a day, but over many years of communities and governments cooperating with a plan that works for everyone. But this day was a truly exciting opportunity to step back and share the journey Sainte Luce has been on, and really appreciate a great example of a community driven functional NTZ. Sainte Luce is proud of how far they’ve come, and it was amazing to get to watch them share this pride with so many who had come from so far.
After a great day of food, dancing, and celebration of sustainable fisheries, it was a long and at times difficult ride back into Fort Dauphin; featuring a bus stuck in the mud, repaired headlights, a broken bridge and a rebuilt suspension. But as community based fisheries management had shown that day, sometimes the challenging roads we take together are ultimately the most worthwhile journeys.
Many thanks to ONG Aquatic Service for their leadership on organizing the event, to MIHARI for joining us out in the field where we work, and of course the village of Sainte Luce including the Women’s Association and the Riaky Committee, for being such spectacular hosts!
In Madagascar, children bear the brunt of unsafe drinking water. Almost 4,000 under-fives die here every year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation.
In the village of Vaharinoro, where 8-year old Sambatsy collects water every day for his family, Project Fatsaka has trained the community in how to repair and maintain their own well. Now that they have access to safe drinking water, Sambatsy hopes that he and his siblings won’t get sick as often and can spend more time in school and playing with their friends!
We're reigniting our sustainable lobster fisheries project! Thanks to a little help from Blue Ventures, we're working to boost the conservation efforts of the Sainte Luce community to make sure their fishery remains healthy and plentiful for generations to come. We're then taking those results and repeating the model in two more communities nearby!
Lobster fishing is the backbone of the region's economy, but numbers are falling fast. For the last four years, we've supported local communities to look after their own fisheries, ensuring that the needs of today don't come at the expense of the future.
Last year our research team started a long-term study on the dragonfly and damselfly species found in Sainte Luce. A year of surveys later, they've finally collected enough data to understand the seasonality of these insects for the very first time! The team will also use the data to understand the effects of logging and disturbance on dragonfly diversity. Keep an eye out as we'll be publishing these new findings in the coming months!