Conservation through Poverty Alleviation, Int

Conservation through Poverty Alleviation, International, a US-based 501(c)3 organization, helps subsistence farmers displaced by the formation of national parks establish new livelihoods that restore and sustain protected habitats.
Mar 3, 2015

Location, location, location - still gathering chickens

SEPALI demonstration farm - talandoa and vanilla
SEPALI demonstration farm - talandoa and vanilla

In our last report on the training center we told you about our chicken and egg conundrums . . . lack of electricity and lack of bamboo - unfortunately the electricity problem has not gone away although the bamboo problem may be solved.

The sustainable source of bamboo we had hoped to use to build the training center is not available.  To supply it, we would need to build a bamboo processing plant in Maroantsetra.  Alternatively, if we harvested the bamboo locally (and sustainably) we could ship it to the capital to be treated. But then the bamboo has to be shipped it back to the site.  That is not feasible due to our isolated location.  Nevertheless, the ever patient Boston Architects for Humanity have answered our clarion call and is designing a modified center to be made from bamboo - they never stop assisting us - thank goodness.  

A second problem and one that is also related to location, is a lack of electricity.  The demonstration site the team has devoted so much time to developing for faming does not yet have access to the town's electrical cable. Will we now need to find a new site that is on the electric line? (Likely to be out of our price range), lay a new cable? (Definitely out of our price range) or design a combination of wind, solar and generator power? If we simply buy a generator then we will be greatly increasing our program costs over the long term and will become slaves to fuel shortages and fluctuating prices. If we try to install solar panels, we will need many, as well as employ full-time, 'round the clock, on-site guards to prevent their theft. The biggest headache, however, is a budget for long-term maintenance. We are told that a maintenance officer will need to visit the site, at a minimum, once a year. Given that we are isolated, that air transportation is expensive and that hurricanes and storms that rack Maroantsetra every year, it is unlikely that we can get away with just one service trip a year.  What to do?  We will let you know . . .

Recent workshop on the porch
Recent workshop on the porch
The dream
The dream
Sorting cocoons
Sorting cocoons

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Feb 20, 2015

Weaving, Dyeing, Spinning: An Update from SEPALI

Table cloths, orchids, decorative silk trees
Table cloths, orchids, decorative silk trees

SEPALI, Madagascar - 2/19/2015

When processing the raw cocoons into non-spun textile, there are many pieces of cocoons left over, so the SEPALI team decided to use those pieces to make a new design such as orchid flowers inspired by the Malagasy Orchids. Also, we are gluing and sewing some pieces to design flowers to illustrate the table cloth that you can see in the picture attached.

This year in 2015, SEPALI and the women’s cooperative have decided to extend our research of new product designs. So we are doing lots of experiments about spinning silk from Ceranchia, suraka and Hypsoides cocoons. The women will use more manual techniques to process silk without electricity.  Spinning cocoons into yarn can be done by the women locally so they will save time by staying in their villages instead of coming to the training center to sew.

In addition to spinning, SEPALI is exploring dyes in order to make varieties of color for the non-spun textile. Now, the team members are working on it and will teach the women artisans about the dyeing process. The study is based on how the women villagers dye their rafia products. Hopefully, by June 2015, the SEPALI women’s groups will be able to produce colored textile.  

Our third and most recent activity is weaving. We know that weaving is complicated, but we have a couple of women who already weave raffia and they will help us. Weaving activities are beginning to disappear in the Maroantsetra communities so we are thinking that it is time to revitalize this process. SEPALI is partnering with another local NGO to exchange knowledge about how to weave wild silk. 

L to R: Hysoides, Ceranchia, and suraka yarn
L to R: Hysoides, Ceranchia, and suraka yarn
Color samples of SEPALI wild silk
Color samples of SEPALI wild silk
Dec 29, 2014

A new insect treat for the New Year!

Fenozara Justin, teaching us to rear  Fulgoridae
Fenozara Justin, teaching us to rear Fulgoridae

"The family Fulgoridae is a large group of hemipteran insects, especially abundant and diverse in the tropics, containing over 125 genera worldwide. They are mostly of moderate to large size, many with a superficial resemblance to Lepidoptera due to their brilliant and varied coloration. Various genera and species (especially the genera Fulgora and Pyrops) are sometimes referred to as lanternflies or lanthorn flies, though they do not emit light." - Wikipedia

But what Wiki doesn't tell you is that SEPALI Madagascar farmers find them a tasty treat that they are planning to raise in 2015! Last team meeting the farmers finally 'fessed-up' to eating insects since they were kids. Our most ardent denier, Fenozaro Justing, is now our most ardent rearer! Fenozaro is starting off the New Year teaching the SEPALI Madagascar team how to rear these pretty, little insects that apparently are quite tasty.  In the picture below you can see them in a few of their growth stages.  The Fulgoridae are in the group of insects that are called hemimetabolous.  Unlike the Holometabolous insects like the silk moths (who have a caterpillar, pupa and adult stage) each life stage of the hemimetabolous insects looks like a tiny adult.  While SEPALI Madagascar can not yet give you a scientific name for the genus, species and host plant, they will be able to in the future thanks to the help our Fenozaro Justin (who is also a star caterpillar farmer).

To learn more about the biology of the Fulgoridae, Bertrand and Chuli have built a new insect rearing house.  The table in the back holds rhinocerous beetle larvae but there is plenty of room for Fulgoriade as well.

Thank you for all the assistance you have given CPALI and SEPALI Madagascar for helping us to bring our insect rearing program to reality.  We know that with the revealed interest and help of the whole team (farmers, artisans) we will be able to make insects for protein a viable (and tasty) alternative to bushmeat.

Best wishes for 2015!

Lantern bugs - instars and molt skins
Lantern bugs - instars and molt skins
A new insect rearing house for food insects!
A new insect rearing house for food insects!

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