Investing in people and the environment
Madagascar is an environmental hotspot. Deforestation and ‘slash and burn’ agriculture threaten the very survival of its flora and fauna, 80% of which is found nowhere else in the world. Money for Madagascar has always seen human development as essentially linked to environmental protection. In Madagascar many people depend on the forest for their livelihoods. It is not realistic to expect people to abandon traditional but environmentally damaging practices without promoting alternative methods of producing food, fuel and income.
We work with Malagasy partners who have built trust and understanding with communities that use the forests. By providing agricultural training, environmental education, tools, seeds, livestock, small grants and technical support, we have helped thousands of villagers to improve their quality of life, whilst also protecting the forests.
The next generation
Teaching Malagasy children to respect and nurture their environment is critical to the survival of Madagascar’s biodiversity. Children and young people will one day go on to raise families of their own, passing on their own attitudes – whether good or bad. Money for Madagascar helps schools both inside and outside the rainforest to set up kitchen gardens and tree nurseries, which are accompanied by agricultural training and environmental education.
By working with children we hope to change attitudes and promote environmentally sustainable development for years to come.
Recognition for our work
Our work over 2 decades with 73 villages surrounding the Reserve of Betampona recently gained recognition at an international conference held at the University of East Anglia. Amongst the experts in Madagascar Conservation who attended was Dr Alison Jolly, a renowned primatologist who has conducted extensive fieldwork on lemur biology and even had a new species of mouse lemur, Microcebus Jollyae, named in her honour. After hearing our presentation she offered these words of praise: “I applaud Money for Madagascar’s local level, long term investment and involvement. This is the only real way to help local people conserve their own environment”.
Adding value by adding forests
Often the best way to protect an old forest is to plant a new one. Money for Madagascar has funded village co-operatives and women’s groups to plant wildlife corridors and new buffer forests. In Maintirano local women, concerned about dwindling supplies of forest-sourced craft materials, secured land to plant their own forest. A grant from Money for Madagascar enabled them to set up a plant nursery and start their project.
This new forest now helps to protect the indigenous forest and provides a sustainable supply of materials for their craft production. We also funded public toilets and an extension to the market place to help the women sell their produce.
It is unrealistic to try to banish people from the forest we prefer instead to help them to use it in a sustainable way. By becoming forest stewards our beneficiaries value the flora and fauna as precious commodities to be preserved and nurtured.