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.
Nov 20, 2015

Actions and words from SEPALI artisans, 2015

Anita, SEPALI artisan 2015
Anita, SEPALI artisan 2015

Friends and Supporters,

As we approach the end of 2015, we have much to reflect on. On one hand, SEPALI artisans made more than they ever have before, resulting in a 45% increase in earnings from last year to this year. Our artisans are very happy! We thought you’d like to hear some of the things they have to say:

“I started with SEPALI last year, and we were working a week here and a week there. Starting this year, we were able to work more consistently and we started working together really well. I like working with the other artisans and I hope that the project continues to grow.” – Anita, SEPALI Artisan 2015

"I hope that the work of SEPALI continues because I can see that it is changing my life. Before, I did not even have money to buy rice, and now it is not a problem. With SEPALI, I learned sewing skills and handicrafts that are helping me save money. If the project continues, I hope to one day buy land and build a house of my own." - Francine, SEPALI Artisan 2015

"Before I started working with SEPALI, I was a bread-baker and I had to teach my own children because I could not afford to send them to a good school. Now that I am working with SEPALI, I can send my kids to private school where they will get a real education. I'm saving money now and I am hoping to build a concrete house with the money that I earn." - Meline, SEPALI Artisan 2015

We are, of course, thrilled with the positive feedback from our artisans. The trend was reflected in earnings for artisans (~45% increase), silk production (>40% increase) and sales (5-fold increase). Our silk products won certification by Wildlife Friendly this year and are now carried by a number of major retailers. The dyeing experiments by our team caught the eye of our partner, dConstruct, and they released two new lines of wild silk jewelry this fall. These successes would never have been possible without the support of our donors and we are so proud of what we have accomplished together!

Reflections, however, must also include what we can improve on. Although the number of workshop opportunities increased dramatically this year and the artisans who were able to participate were very happy, overall artisan participation fell by 25%. In speaking with the artisans who did not participate, we realized that the cocoon targets, which determine participation in workshops, were exclusively high this year for our most vulnerable farmers and the time requirements for the workshops continue to be challenging for artisans who live far from our training facility.

We listened. In an effort to address these challenges, SEPALI will launch a new program next year. In addition to the design workshops held weekly at our training center in Maroantsetra, the SEPALI team will develop satellite silk centers in the surrounding rural communities. The project will include the installation of manual sewing machines and new product designs that will make silk production more accessible to our most vulnerable farmers. We expect the project to double artisan participation in silk production over the next couple of years.

In addition, CPALI will be sending two design consultants from the US to work with the team in Madagascar to develop new product lines for the silk. The team will also continue to work on natural dyes in partnership with CITE, a Malagasy NGO focused on livelihood development.

We would love your help to expand our silk programs! For 2016, we are hoping to invest in new sewing machines to expand access to the rural communities, fund expert training from international design consultants, send the Director of Women’s Programs, Lalaina, to a partnership symposium with CITE, and finish the moth garden on the SEPALI demonstration site. 

Thank you again for everything you have done and we hope that you will continue to support us in 2016!

Best,

Kerry O’Neill and the CPALI/SEPALI team

Artisan Textile Workshop
Artisan Textile Workshop
Experimenting with Natural Dyes
Experimenting with Natural Dyes
Table Runner, Photo by M. McFadden
Table Runner, Photo by M. McFadden
Wild Blue Dyes by Docey Lewis
Wild Blue Dyes by Docey Lewis
Dyed Silk for dConstruct
Dyed Silk for dConstruct's Jewelry Line
Nov 11, 2015

A Change in the Tides

Training Center Design by Boston A4H
Training Center Design by Boston A4H

Each year, CPALI takes a good, healthy look at where we stand in relation to our goals. We evaluate each project's successes and shortcomings and revisit long-term targets. At our annual review this year, we decided that is time to make a minor strategy change in relation to the Wild Silk Training Center. 

For the past two years, the CPALI staff and a team of consultants have been hard at work designing and preparing for the Wild Silk Training Center. A plot of land was purchased in Maroantsetra, Architecture for Humanity volunteers drew up the designs for the training center, and SEPALI staff transformed the land into a functional demonstration site including planting native silkworm host trees, building a moth garden, an artisan house, a watchman's house and a bathroom. Today the site stands ready for construction with one hurtle left to overcome: electricity. 

The electrical grid in Maroantsetra, powered by a local hydroelectric dam, is currently limited to a small section of Maroantsetra and falls about 2km short of our proposed training center site. Investing in the expansion of the grid as a solo endeavor will be extremely expensive. After extensive research into alternative energy sources by the team and consultants in both the US and Madagascar, we finally decided that the smartest and most cost-effective option is to wait for electricity to come to us. Natural pressure from the community is causing the grid to expand at a steady rate and we expect it to reach our demonstration site, or come within a reasonable distance of it, within the next three years. If the expected expansion does not occur by that time, we will again consider purchasing land in an area that is already on the grid.

For this reason, we are planning to put this project on hold until 2018. In the meantime, the demonstration site will remain active and training workshops will continue in the facilities that we already have at our office. This coming year, we will bring national and international design consultants to our artisans, education and outreach opportunities and many other exciting developments. In response to requests from our farmers and artisans, there will also be a new push for designs and equipment that will allow home-bound artisans to make silk products and earn a living without having to travel to the demonstration site as often. 

We sincerely hope that you will continue to support these efforts as we move forward with the communities in Madagascar. If you wish to discuss this change or offer alternative solutions, please feel free to contact us anytime. Thank you for your patience and ongoing support! We are thrilled to have you with us!

Inside the Moth Garden
Inside the Moth Garden
Wild Silk Textile Workshop
Wild Silk Textile Workshop
Demonstration Site Trail through Host Trees
Demonstration Site Trail through Host Trees
Sep 24, 2015

An Insect Sanctuary and a Tiny Golden Cocoon

Matthew and Richard With Wood for the Moth Garden
Matthew and Richard With Wood for the Moth Garden

It’s that time of year! With the expected emergence of the adult Oryctes beetles and Fulgoridae looming near, the SEPALI team is breaking ground on a new enclosure. Led by volunteer, Matthew, the structure will be built on the SEPALI demonstration site and will serve as an insectary and moth rearing house for the project.

Wait, don’t you already have a moth garden? Yes, we did. You may have seen pictures of the previous moth garden in our newsletters: a basketball court-sized enclosure with native plants, insects and a small pond. Unfortunately, the garden was damaged in a cyclone last winter and eventually fell victim to thievery due to the highly coveted fishing nets that were used in construction. Many of the plants are still there, but the enclosure has since been removed.

Learning from our mistakes, the new garden will include upgrades to ensure longevity. First, treated lumber will be used for construction instead of bamboo, which quickly degrades in Maroantsetra due to weather conditions and native bamboo-boring insects. The walls and ceiling of the new garden will be made of industrial-grade agricultural netting, which should be more resistant to sun damage than the previous fishing nets. Finally, the nets will be removable so that they can be safely stored during cyclone season (December through March) and returned to the structure each spring. This will also allow a period when natural pollinators and animals typically too large for the pore-size will be able to enter the enclosure and access the plants.

Matthew and SEPALI team members Lava and Richard, are hoping to have the project completed by late October. Once constructed, a care-taker and his family will move into the new SEPALI watchman’s house to help keep the demonstration site safe and productive.

A Tiny Golden Cocoon

One of the many goals of the new enclosure is to give the SEPALI team a place to rear silk moths and other insects including water bugs, dragon flies and rhinoceros beetles. Rhinoceros beetles (Oryctes) in particular have been a source of curiosity for the SEPALI staff in recent months. While the team was investigating their potential as a protein source, a recent survey revealed instead the secret life of parasitic wasp larvae.

The cycle begins when a small, female wasp with a black body and dark, shiny wings lays a single egg on the abdomen of an Oryctes beetle larva. When the egg hatches, the wasp larva emerges and feeds on the beetle larva for a period of about two weeks. By the time the Oryctes larva dies, the wasp larva is mature enough to spin a cocoon. (Wasps too can spin cocoons!) The result is a tiny, golden, four-layered cocoon where the wasp will complete its transformation into an adult.

While the cocoon is likely too small to do anything productive with, it is a source of fascination for a team that studies all-things-silk. Hopefully the new enclosure will help us answer more questions about the lifecycles, predators, and protection of our insect friends.

Beginnings: Building the Moth Garden
Beginnings: Building the Moth Garden
Predatory Wasps
Predatory Wasps
Wasp Larva Feeding on Beetle Larva
Wasp Larva Feeding on Beetle Larva
Golden Wasp Cocoons
Golden Wasp Cocoons
Separated Four-Layer Cocoon
Separated Four-Layer Cocoon
 
   

donate now:

An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $20
    give
  • $40
    give
  • $60
    give
  • $100
    give
  • $200
    give
  • $500
    give
  • $1,000
    give
  • $3,000
    give
  • $20
    each month
    give
  • $40
    each month
    give
  • $60
    each month
    give
  • $100
    each month
    give
  • $200
    each month
    give
  • $500
    each month
    give
  • $1,000
    each month
    give
  • $3,000
    each month
    give
  • $
    give
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?

Reviews of Conservation through Poverty Alleviation, Int

Great Nonprofits
Read and write reviews about Conservation through Poverty Alleviation, Int on GreatNonProfits.org.
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.