The isolated Maintirano district is one of the ecologically richest but economically poorest regions in Western Madagascar. From dry deciduous forest, to palm forest, and savannah; from swamp to pristine coral coastline, the area is teeming with endemic animal and plant life. However, with an ever-growing population, the need for timber, charcoal and agricultural land are threatening to convert these rich varied habitats into a uniform degraded landscape. To combat this, MfM supports women’s cooperatives to develop sustainable ways of making a living, restore the degraded landscape, and educate the next generation to protect their natural environment.
The majority of families living around Maintirano support themselves with subsistence agriculture and fishing. Over the past few decades, spiralling population growth has put extreme pressure on local natural resources resulting in increased deforestation, severe soil erosion, and the silting up of water sources. With climate change making weather patterns less predictable, crop yields have been decreasing and families have been pushed to clear more land to meet their basic needs. Urgent action is needed to protect the remaining areas of pristine habitat.
Maintirano is extremely isolated, taking up to four days to reach by road! As a result, few development organisations invest in the region. This makes MfM’s support for Maintirano’s communities all the more important. With our partner SAF, we support dynamic women’s cooperatives, such as FIVEMI, who are proactively developing local solutions to the problems of poverty, food insecurity and environmental degradation.
• 60,000 trees have been planted and maintained
• 4 schools have developed sustainable kitchen gardens and environmental education programmes
• 228 loans have been made, helping women establish their own businesses
Key activities include:
As a single mother, Madame Rollande struggled to support her family. Thanks to FIVEMI’s micro credit scheme, she is able to buy charcoal, produced from sustainable MfM supported plantations and sell it for a profit. Since joining the scheme, she has been able to earn enough to afford her children’s school fees, provide them with nutritious daily meals and afford the rent increase this year. She even has enough to save a little in case of illness
Madame Vololona’s 4 children were often absent from school due to illness and the shame they felt at not being able to afford their school equipment or pay their fees on time. Thanks to a small loan from SAF Maintirano’s microcredit scheme, all this has changed. Mme Vololona has used her credit to set up a fish selling business. She buys her fish from the seashore and sells them at Filonga Market in Maintirano. Her children’s health has improved now that they are able to eat 3 nutritious meals a day and they have all got the necessary school equipment. Even with her monthly loan repayments, Mme Volona is able to put money aside to save up for her own fishing boat.