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 8, 2013

The 3Ps - Partners, Pupae and Planning

Stanford Extreme Team
Stanford Extreme Team

In less than two weeks, Rick Zuzow, Rishabh Bhandari, Alicea Cock-Estab and Kristin Mayer, students from Stanford University's course, "Extreme Design for Affordability" will descend on Madagascar to spend two, packed weeks with the SEPALIM team to solve some of our most vexing technical problems. The Extreme Team will visit SEPALIM farmers and textile producers to learn how they make our textile and help us make it more efficiently, or they may work on how to remove caterpillar stains on the cocoons, or how to lighten the cocoons in preparation for dying, or how to make new cocoon designs - or something entirely different . . . Whatever they decide to do,  it will be Extreme.

Just after the Stanford students leave, Maminarina Randrianandrsana from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign will arrive to initiate a survey on entomophagy in Madagascar (insect eating) and spend about 2 months collecting pupae and leaves.  In November/December the team worked with Lydiah Gatare collecting soils with the goal of initiating a long term study to determine on the effect of Talandoa (silkworm host plants) on soil quality at different farm sites. Maminarina will now collect leaf samples from trees grown at these sites to see if leaf nutritional value is correlated with soil type. Maminariana's work will allow us to explore the effect of soil quality on leaf forage, and correlated effect on pupae fat and protein content. Hopefully these data will allow us to determine how many pupae need to be eaten to have a protein impact on local diets as well as the steps we need to take to improve the soils and hence the nutritional quality of the host plants.

 Finally, Mamy just returned from a visit  to farmers who are competing to rear the most pupae on their farms.  So far, our top producers, are Jaonary Jean and Fenozara Justin, both have produced 4000 cocoons in the past year (halfway to the 8000 cocoon target!) and Joanary Jean produced 1000 just in the past month!  Joanary Jean's success is in part due to the fact that he is one of the few farmers who has built a breeding house to the chrysalids that SEPALIM requires.  Hopefully others will copy him instead of keeping the pupae in a basket under the bed . . . 

 In the background, SEPALIM team continues to collect green fertilizer (water hyacinth, an invasive plant in rivers) and improve the fertility of the demonstration site - we hope our farmers will copy our lead.

Decorator Pillow made from non-spun textile
Decorator Pillow made from non-spun textile
Fenozara Justin wins breeder prize - solar panel
Fenozara Justin wins breeder prize - solar panel
Team collects water hyacinth to fertilize land
Team collects water hyacinth to fertilize land
SEPALIM continues to improve demonstration site
SEPALIM continues to improve demonstration site

Links:

Dec 27, 2012

Snowed-in but not snowed .... Running to meet 2013!

Talando trees moved to new site
Talando trees moved to new site

Although some of the team is snowed in, that doesn't stop us from racing to meet 2013!

Three new Madagascar proejcts are being initiated to add value to our current farmers' work that we hope will entice new farmers to take up their shovels.

Insect protein production: We are applying to the TOPS program for funds to analyze the different nutrients in 4 species of silkworms that we are producing agriculturally for silk. Larvae in three saturniid genera, Argema, Antherina, and Ceranchia,  plus Hypsoides (Notodontidae) larvae, spin silk and have been used by some in our area for food.  The fourth Saturniidae moth, Bunaea, does not spin a cocoon, but like the Mopane silkworms that are eaten throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, undergo metamorphosis underground. Bunaea are eatern in the Madagascar highlands. We plan to compare pupae protein content and micro-nutrients such as iron and zinc, and total calories as well as scan for microbes. Knowing the nuitritional contents will allow us to target agricultural production of pupae to those returning the highest value.  We will also be experimenting to determine the best way to process the pupae (dried, smoked, boiled, broiled, fried, fresh) to maintain the highest nutritional return as well as insure palatability. Bertrand and Mario are brushing up on their gourmet recipes.

New Markets, New Products: To date, most of our textile sales have been to artists, individauls who "have to have" the latest in shades and curtains.  In the coming year we are expanding production to include new lamps that are being designed by Rikki Moss (www.studioglow.com).  While still in the works, we visited Rikki at her studio yesterday and the sculptures she is designing are unique for CPALI's textile and show off its best angles.  I do not have pictures at this time - but stay tuned and watch her webpage.  She will be posting updates soon.

Theresa Zent and Gina White are also designing new products for CPALI to post on www.wildsilkmarkets.com.  We hope to add designer pillows (made in Madagascar) to our future line-up for goods made in Madagascar. 

Additional New Partnerships:  Boston Architects for Humanity are partnering with CPALI to design a training center for our new land.  The training center will include large, well-lit working areas, a bunkroom where visitors can spend the night, outdoor areas for working (as are preferred by the women) and solar power facilities to enhance the value of our program.  

Monitoring: Finally, the soils project has commenced.  The samples arrived at Cornell University before Christmas and we will add the silkworm pupae nutritional studies reserach as part of our monitoring program.  In addition to looking at the effect of the trees on soil value, we will look at the effect of tree folliage on insect protein value - a wonderful dovetailing of projects.

Thank you for your very generous donations to CPALI/SEPALIM in 2012. If you haven't had time to donate yet, or if you are impressed with our work and want to give us an extra, tax-free kick, please take a minute to make a new donation through the Global Giving site.

All the best and Happy New Year and let the adventure continue!!



New site before trees transplanted
New site before trees transplanted
Transplanted trees in new site
Transplanted trees in new site
Grinding soils in preparation for shipment
Grinding soils in preparation for shipment
Lydia and Eddie oversee soil preparations
Lydia and Eddie oversee soil preparations

Links:

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

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