Architects for Humanity have just delivered detailed site plans for the training center where women and men will be able to work any time and increase their earnings even more (see below). We had some problems getting materials for building the center as the bamboo factory we had hoped to purchase from is no longer. But not to be discouraged, Amelia Thrall of AH is in the midst of checking with a bamboo promoter in Madagascar regarding the potential of identifying an alternate source for obtaining the treated bamboo. If she hears from him that he has a source, AH drawings engineered and detailed by a bamboo construction expert in India who has previously worked in Madagascar. He could also potentially be involved in construction oversight.
An added activity for the training center will be cooking classes! The SEPALI team is planning to teach famrers how to prepare and enjoy insect protein. The team is currently wild about Rhinocerous beetle larvae that Mamy is learning to farm and from the picture above you can see Bertrand is contemplating the deliciousness of REALLY BIG beetle pupae and a very "full" future.
I don't know what is more exciting than our current income increases and the fact that, after 5 years we seem to be really getting somewhere! Below are exciting data that how for the first time we have more women then men earning money from the silk project and households are earning an average of $90/year. This is in addition to the mean average income of the area of $145/year (median $55/year). So the bottom line is, these projects would not be possible without you and progress is in the air.
Thank you again for all you have done to help save Madagascar wildlife and better the lives of the farmers with whom we work.
Catherine Craig, PhDPresident, CPALI
Meet Lalaina Raharindimby - Lalaina heads the SEPALI Madagascar women's team. Her work includes organizing workshops for women to make textiles and hats, traveling to their villages to oversee their basket production, encouraging them to strive and thrive. Lalaina is also SEPALI Madagascar's financial officer - and in her spare time, she is raising Ravu, her 2.5 year old son.
Since Lalaina has been working with SEPALI Madagascar, they have developed a presence in the lives of the women who live in the villages. The textile workshops are not only a chance to earn a salary but a time to meet with others from neighboring communities. The women are building new social networks that and artisan groups that may be useful to them when they begin working indepenently.
At the most recent workshop, the women made 60 m of sewed textile that CPALI hopes to sell on their behalf at the Dwell on Design tradeshow, 20-22 June in Los Angeles. In addition they made 6 new hats of unique styles - the hats are from wild silk, embroidered with rafia and decorated with beautiful hand-made flowers. Lalaina and the SEPALI team are planning more workshops to produce another 60m of textile by the end of August. With each workshop the women work a little faster and more effectively under Lalaina's guidance. The new training center, which we hope to break ground on in September, will not only secure a working site for the women's group but will also include facilities for overnight stays. Today, many women are camping out on site becuase travel back and forth to their villages takes one day each way.
Data! Data! - Read all about it!
Sepali is assessing its impact and the results so far are great. Although farmers only started producing cocoons in 2012, farmer numbers trippled between 2012 and 2013
Three hundred farmers from 13 communities have joined SEPALI Madagascar and planted over 30,000 trees on 120 hectares of degraded land or on existing farms.
Farmers have produced 22,765 cocoons and the number of cocoon deposits in SEPALI’s cocoon bank tripled between 2012-2013. A total of thirty-one farmers have made 130 deposits into the cocoon bank and earned between $13-$54.
Twenty-four women have participated in workshop training and earned between $15-$48 and produced 79m2 of textile. SEPALI has recently begun monitoring how textile producers are spending their workshop earnings. Initial results show that 80% of the women spend the majority of their earnings on school uniforms, school supplies, and tuition. Remaining funds are spent on food and household supplies. One woman will use the money to pay a day laborer working her land.
And now let us tell you about Marie Jean - Marie Jean is the first, female leader of a farmer's group. Also, she has become the most skilled among women textile producers. After about 5 trainining workshops she has doubled her speed and can produce 2m of textile in the time it takes other women to produce 1m! We have high hopes that the others will soon catch up and congratulate Marie Jean on her achievements.
The results above bode well for SEPALI's effort to increase cocoon production in time for textile sales in the spring.
We are excited to announce that CPALI will be showing its textiles and representative products at the "Dwell on Design" tradeshow in Los Angeles, June. Please plan to visit. Our booth number is MH42.
To take the next step we are raising funds to build a work space for women to use to make the textile at their convenience. Architects for Humanity, Boston, designed (pro bono) a the perfect space that makes use of local materials and will employ local farmers to build it! We are now raising funds to make if a reality! GG's matching funds campaign for recurring donations starts Friday, 20 December. GlobalGiving's recurring matching campaign will match your initial monthly gift at 100%! This match will be sent to us after your recurring gift has completed 4 months total. So that means, if you choose to make a recurring gift during the campaign this December, you're initial gift will be matched in March!
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