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.
Dec 4, 2012

Pupae for Protein (P4P 2013!)

Ambodivoagny women make their first textile
Ambodivoagny women make their first textile

It has been a great year for the CPALI/SEPALIM project despite the continuing turbulent political situation in Madagascar. Our program has grown from 125 farmers in 2011 to 286 in 2012. Thanks to you, we were able to purchase a small piece of land bordering Maroantsetra that will be a permanent demonstration and training site. The team has moved all of the trees from our in-town garden to the new site. Mamy found a great location – it is between the airport and Maroantsetra’s nicest tourist hotel – we hope that you will visit.

 Gathering quantitative data on our farmers remains a slow process but we are making progress. We have started our soil analysis program – one approach to monitor the effect of our program on the environment. Dr. Lydiah Gatare has sampled soils from farms in four different communities. We will be sending them to Cornell for analysis. We are lucky that some farmers have trees that are more than 15 years old; hence we will have some nice control data.

 While cocoon production is still slow, the numbers are growing. So far 14 farmers have “deposited cocoons" in the SEPALIM cocoon bank. Farmers can receive immediate payment or build up an account allowing them to withdraw money any time of the year. Since the accounts are free, all farmers can afford them, and for many the SEPALI bank is their first savings opportunity to build financial assets. Furthermore, farmers can make use of a second stimulus program, the school supplies program.  Merchants in Maroantsetra increase the cost of supplies when school starts and when farmers have just been paid for their clove crops. SEPALIM buys school supplies in the “off” season and stockpiles them until school starts. Any farmer who is a SEPALIM member (meaning they have planted a minimum of 250 surviving trees) can buy school supplies from SEPALIM at low-season prices at the beginning of the school year.

A third stimulus program we hope to develop in 2013 is Pupae for Protein (P4P). In many parts of the world, insects are an important dietary source of protein.  People in the Makira area eat some of the types of silkworms and pupae we are raising.  We hope to capitalize on the fact that once farmers produce 4,000 pupae and select 200 to seed the next crop, there are 3,800 in excess that can be boiled, sautéed, dried, or ground into a calcium-rich protein powder. In fact, 3,800 pupae are approximately equal in weight to one red-ruffed lemur, one of the endangered species that we are trying to protect. We hope to battle the increase in childhood anemia among families that previously depended on wildlife harvests from the Makira Protected Area.

 Finally, I am excited to let you know about CPALI’s new collaboration with the Stanford course “Entrepreneurial Design for Extreme Affordability.” Two graduate design students from two different teams will visit the SEPALIM program during spring break. We submitted a “wish” list of possible projects and the students will survey the site and decide what they would like to do.

CPALI and SEPALIM are extremely grateful to you for helping us to persist - I hope that our accomplishments will lead you to consider making a donation for the coming year.

All the best,

Cay

Ambodivoagny textile transform to NY apt curtains
Ambodivoagny textile transform to NY apt curtains
Mamy shows off new demonstration and training site
Mamy shows off new demonstration and training site

Links:

Nov 7, 2012

286 farmers, 13 communities and a new site

Nirina shows off her product
Nirina shows off her product

I have just returned from a productive visit to SEPLI Madagascar and sending  you this message during my 5 hour lay-over in Paris.  I am pleased to report that we are working in 13 communities with 14 breeders and 268 farmers.  Breeders are distinguished by the fact that they have deposited cocoons into SEPALIM’s bank. 

We have discovered that the new program supported by Global Givers, the women’s textile production program, is the most important tool to date, to convince farmers to rear larvae.  In fact, all of the women who now make textiles recognize the added income advantage of textile production and have decided that the only ones who are “allowed” to make the textile are women, or husbands of women, who have actually contributed cocoons to the cocoon bank.  Therefore, all textile producers are also cocoon producers.  The textile production program promises to drive the cocoon production program. 

In light of this new finding, SEPALIM is hoping to build a women’s training center at its new demonstration site.  The new site is a short walk from Maroantsetra.  Already there are fruit trees, pineapple, papaya and mangos and a small pond on its grounds. Bertrand is extending the existing pond and Mario and Eddie have been building a fence and digging holes to receive 400 trees transplanted from the current demonstration site.  SEPALIM will recoup the cost of the land ($3000) in savings that we will earn from moving to a new office site.  It is definately a win-win.

Let the adventure continue!

Ambinanitelo workshop
Ambinanitelo workshop
Textile made by Ambodivoagny Group
Textile made by Ambodivoagny Group

Links:

Aug 16, 2012

Tango-ing with the Tangalamena

SEPALIM honored by Tangalamena visit
SEPALIM honored by Tangalamena visit

Tango-ing with the Tangalamena In June, SEPALIM met with the traditional village leaders or “Tangalamena” at the Maroantsetra demonstration site. We consider this meeting a historic event as the willingness of the Tangalamena to come together in Maroantsetra gives new credibility to the project in the eyes of the villagers.  Also, meeting at the demonstration site allowed the Tangalamena to brainstorm new strategies for increasing membership and ways to collect more reliable data from each of the lead farmers in their village sites.

Also in June, SEPALIM hired local farmer Eddy Mangamanana who will help SEPALIM both in the field and in the office. Eddie will work with SEPALIM full time to spread awareness about the program, attract new farmers and facilitate the establishment of new farmer groups. Eddie has already begun working in two new SEPALI communities (Ambatofotsy and Mahalevona, check out the attached map) under the supervision of other staff members and will soon be able to visit each community on his own.  

Phase II How does Phase II differ from Phase I?  We are focusing on extending our work to new areas but only with communities that approach SEPALIM for help. Hence we spend less time making "cold" calls to villages to introduce the program. Instead, village representatives arrive at the demonstration site and request a training visit. We are excited as we need to do a lot less convincing - the villagers are already convinced.  

Our second initiative is to build the skills of our textile producers to meet the increased cocoon that we anticipate. We plan to find new ways to make the textile more efficiently.  Currently the textile is made in Maroantsetra where we have electricity.  The farmers have decided, however, that only those producing the cocoons will qualify for making textiles since the fabrication step can be lucrative. This means that the fabricators, who are mostly women, will need to travel to town and will need a place to stay. We would like to relocate our demonstration farm to a new site and build a dormitory where workers can stay for as long as a week to make the fabric. In the future of our future, we hope that the fabricators will be able to use solar-powered sewing machines and set up shop at home in their villages.  We would like to provide loans (based on collateral built at the cocoon bank) to especially industrious women,to allow them to purchase a sewing machine, solar panels and hire others. These women should be able to add the cocoons they produce to cocoons that they purchase in the villages to make textile. Of course our goal is that local women will begin to establish their own enterprises independent from CPALI/SEPALIM.  We will, of course, still continue to provide a market - but who knows, maybe they will come up with their own!

Planning a trip to Madagascar?  We hope so! In response to popular demand, SEPALIM has been hard at work this month preparing the demonstration site and office to host tourists.  The tours can be largely self-guided, which minimizes their impact on the work of the project. But be assured, there will be plenty to see. The site now includes educational signs, a butterfly garden, a tree nursery, demonstrations of rearing techniques, and a display case for our artisans. Please come visit our demonstration site in Maroantsetra and meet the team and larvae up close. The team is looking forward to meeting GGivers up close and personal!

All the best,

Cay

 

Eddie Mangamanana joins the SEPALIM team
Eddie Mangamanana joins the SEPALIM team

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