In February 2016, Madagasikara Voakajy officially joined IUCN as a member. For the past ten years, members of our team have been part of the IUCN/SSC. This opportunity will allow us to engage more in IUCN’s vision and mission, and network with other IUCN members. We are grateful to Rainforest Trust and Fauna and Flora International for supporting our membership application.
La Jeunesse de Madagasikara Voakajy a répondu présente à la célébration de la Journée Internationale de la Jeunesse dans le district de Moramanga. Notre équipe, dirigée par Eddie Rakotondrasoa, a profité de cette opportunité pour faire connaître aux jeunes de Moramanga, ainsi qu'au Premier Ministre de Madagascar, la création récente de la Nouvelle Aire Protégée Mangabe-Ranomena-Sasarotra dans ce district, ainsi que nos autres priorités et activités.
Efforts to halt the slaughter of lemurs continue in Lakato in the Zahamena-Ankeniheny corridor
We participated in the International Wetlands Day festival in the town of Andasibe in eastern Madagascar. Marionettes were used to deliver conservation messages about golden frogs and our mascot, Lenari, kepy lemur conservation on everyones' minds!
|Education and Awareness|
We devote considerable effort and resources to raising peoples' knowledge about the environment and integrating these messages into the national curriculum.
In the sites where our community program is based we work with the education authorities, teachers, parents and pupils to improve the learning environment in rural primary schools for the benefit of people and biodiversity. We use a varied approach that is tailored to individual sites as well as the resources that we have available at the time. Some of the education activities that we have used include:
These are themed events held in primary schools and organsied by Madagasikara Voakajy and the education authorities. The are designed around messages about the local biodiversity and environment and we develop booklets in the Malagasy language to support the lessons.
The children are then provided with paints and coloring pencils and invited to create a face mask of an animal of their choice. These are then judged by the organisers and prizes awarded.
An example of this was our Darwin Initiative project in Bemaraha National Park where we worked with schools in Bekopaka and Antsalova. Face masks were made by the children and paraded in the towns as part of World Environment Day celebrations.
Theses are also themed events held in primary schools and organsied by Madagasikara Voakajy and the education authorities, but we use these mainly when we have less resources or can only make short visits to a given school.
The children are provided with and coloring pencils paper and are invited to draw a picture based on the lesson they have had from Madagasikara Voakajy and the teachers. These are then judged by the organisers and prizes awarded.
Song and Poem Competitions
There is a great oral tradition in Madagasacr for making speeches, passing on folk tales and news. Using a similar approach to the drawing and face-mask competitions we have a developed an initiative that sees the children compose a song (and dance) or poem about the information they received in the lesson.
An example of this was our Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund project in Anosibe An'ala. We visited primary schools around around key roosts sites for a small fruit bat species where we are assisting the creation of new protected areas. Each school held internal competitions before the winners travelled to the district capital where the final was held. The final was judged by professional singers and attended by the authorities. Each final participant received a t-shirt and the winners were awarded additional prizes.
Even though we focus our work in rural primary schools the children frequently have little first-hand experience of the animals that we feature. We therefore organise trips with the teachers to give the children experience of seeing new animals and places.
An example of this was when we took children from primary schools in the Tolagnaro (Fort Dauphin) area to observe a colony of the Madagascar flying fox.
School biodiversity clubs
We frequently detect a desire amongst children to maintain activities relating to the environment beyond the activities that we provide. In 2009 we therefore set up a school biodiversity club near the Ambatofotsty provisional protected area. This project is funded by Columbus Zoo and has received formidable support from local authorities, parents, teachers and pupils. The club name, Lovasoa, was chosen by the children.
We strive to make our education initiatives interesting, factual and relevant. We always hold meetings and training days with the teachers and local authorities to ensure that our planned activities compliment the childrens' education, are timed to cause least disruption to classroom activities, are set at the appropriate level for the different ages and are linked to the national curriculum.
Although we devote great energy to working with children we also recognise the importance of engaging adults. Furthermore, eventhough we tend to focus our education and awareness activities in priority sites we also attach great importance in involving the general public.
In the Anosibe An'ala district in the east we used the same Song and Poem Competition for adults and children (in different years). This allows us to develop good relationships with the communities and to ensure that important information is made available to all age groups. In this particular case, the initial rounds of the competition that were held in the villages were attended by hundreds and hundreds of people. It was considered a great success by all.
We also make every effort to particpate in international events, such as World Environment Day, when each region in Madagascar holds its own festival.