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‘Installing Forest Ownership Spirit in Our Community.’
With help from private donors, UBoC originally set out to fund 15,640 Terrific Tropical Trees at this remarkable project in Madagascar, via the International Tree Foundation. But that target has been smashed – with around 24,500 trees being planted!
The EDENa (Education, Développement, Environnement Naturel) project tackles key issues in Madagascar: loss of forests and biodiversity, unsustainable land use, and declining livelihoods. EDENa Women and Youth group helps the community protect the forest by planting a carefully chosen range of native and economically valuable trees for their own benefit around it. The project arises from local aspirations: people see that deforestation is having a negative impact on farming and beekeeping.
The team have worked hard with villagers from two villages in Anjozorobe, Antanifotsy and Andreba, to plan plantations in the forest.
First, they developed a community tree nursery which raised more than 18,000 tree seedlings, and a fruit tree nursery which raised orange, coffee and Uapaca trees. Then they carried out training, and involved local authorities – including the assistant mayor, the school headmaster and the president of Antanifotsy village.
Tree planting finally took place during the February 2018 rains.
Two community sites were established in Ambohidava commune, linking the forest corridor of Anjozorobe Angavo. (The sites and coordinates are: Ambohimaranitra : S 18º16’19.7’’/E 047º 58’34.9” and Mahatazana : S 18º15’31.0’’/E 047 º 58’58.1”). Fast-growing trees and fruits were also planted on farms.
Nearly 12,000 young trees of four indigenous species are surviving in the forest corridor. More than 7,000 trees (fruits and fast growing /soil improving species) are surviving around the forest edge, at schools and on the farms, where farmers also planted 5,500 coffee trees.
Key factors for success were the involvement of the local community and authorities. While the planted trees are still young, the main change observed is in the behaviour and attitudes of participants. They are more aware of the importance of the forest, and don’t accept tree cutting and charcoal making. Previously people used to strip the forest without concern. Now they have accepted to restore the damaged areas and some of the women have started to become interested in beekeeping in the forest.
In the long run, the project expects forest recovery in the areas that have been planted, and restoration of the forest corridor.
Reports to date are most encouraging:
Zeline has three children, is not married, and comes from a very poor family. She does casual work to cater for her family needs. She is one of the women who has participated actively in the project. As well as the equipment, fruit trees and coffee trees she she’s received, she speaks up during training sessions – which is not easy, given her situation and local traditions. Now she’s aware of the importance of the forest, and wants to protect it. She she’s keen to continue this activity, and to direct a women’s association to work in this field so that she can share what she has learned. She says: ‘Women, especially young single mothers, are marginalized in our community because of our situation. Thanks to this project, I have gained more knowledge and I am playing a more active role within our community: when people listen to me it raises my confidence and pride.’
Mr Serge is director of the school at Ankerambe and one of the three teachers there. He says: ‘We get our living from the forest. We get what we need from the small to the large (medicines, coffins, building materials and furniture for the school…) from this forest. It is very important to explain this to children from their earliest years so that they understand its importance, and respect and conserve it for their future. Protecting it provides a lasting source of sustainable income for young people.’
And Ms. Soazara Ranivoarivelo, President Fundraiser adds ‘I hope that you will visit us. This would be a great motivation, not only for us but also for the beneficiaries.’
Paul Laird of the International Tree Foundation, our partner in this project, is outspoken in his praise; ‘This is a really impressive project – in fact outstanding, and there’s a real need for continuation. It would be wonderful if UBoC could continue to support both this and the ‘SAFE’ Terrific Tropical Trees in Uganda – another outstanding project that’s equally worthy of future funding.
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