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.
Aug 25, 2016

New grant helps build momentum

SEPALI artisans enjoy new book by Tim Barclay
SEPALI artisans enjoy new book by Tim Barclay

This summer, the SEPALI program was conditionally selected for a small grant award from the Ambassador's Self Help Program in Madagascar! The grant, which is scheduled to be funded from September 2016 to September 2017, will allow the SEPALI team to expand the silk program and increase the accessibility of the project to artisans in rural communities.

Our success with the grant is due, in part, to the exciting momentum that has been building since the design workshop with consultant Docey Lewis this past March. Since the workshop, artisans have been producing colorful silks and filling orders at a staggering pace. The new color line is now officially released and the range of products produced by the team has expanded from our original silk panels to new materials, colorful dyes, intricate patterns and intriguing new uses for the silks. The team recently tapped into some of the training center funds as well to construct a new silk drying house and a dyeing house. Consequently, the workshop model has evolved from an intermittent schedule with a handful of workshops per year into a continuous, year-round production with opportunities for women to earn money every week. 

The unintended consequence of the continuous design workshops is that they favor Maroantsetra-based artisans with the means and luxury of a short commute. In an effort to better engage the surrounding rural communities in the artisan craft again, we have been pursuing means of funding the expansion of the program, including the Ambassador's grant. 

Our responsibility in this grant is a significant one. While the grant promises to help with equipment and resources, it relies on the greater SEPALI community to contribute the expertise, training, transportation and project implementation on the ground. Any donations you can contribute towards this end would be greatly appreciated! Keep your eyes peeled for the exciting new developments this year and thank you for your support.

New silk drying house constructed this summer
New silk drying house constructed this summer
Dyed blue baskets
Dyed blue baskets
"Moon over Makira" dyed tapestry
"Moon over Makira" dyed tapestry
Shibori raffia products
Shibori raffia products
Colorful "Lemur tails" drying in the sun
Colorful "Lemur tails" drying in the sun
Jun 15, 2016

A new/old approach to fight protein deficiency

Belanana farmers
Belanana farmers

We have worked hard to identify new types of edible insects, study their life cycles, analyze protein content, serve insect brochettes and delicious rice and pupae casserole.  Nevertheless, it is still find it difficult to convince farmers to incorporate insects into their diets. That is, however, with the exception of the pupae of Ceranchia apollina, the caterpillar that makes the gorgeous platinum cocoons that are the main focus of SEPALI's textile program. Ceranchia apollina pupae are not eaten by farmers in our immediate Makira area but on the northwestern side of Makira, where the pupae are considered a tasty snack. Therefore, while eastern farmer populations remain recalcitrant, western populations have already developed a pupae-eating culture.

In the western site, communities collected cocoons and pupae long before SEPALI arrived on the scene. Because the pupae are only tasty within the first day of completing their cocoon, many of those harvested were discarded and in all cases the cocoons were left scattered by the edge of the road. Discovering this species and their silk has been a bonanza for the silk program becuase a known but previously discarded resource has become valuable. SEPALI Madagascar's new job is to focus on instructing people in communities where C. apollina is abundant how to harvest the pupae and cocoons sustainably. Hence, our new approach is to try to improve on sustainable use of an already used resource. 

In the future, SEPALI will be directing its efforts to expanding production of C.apollina for food and fiber.  Farmers from the eastern region where SEPALI as been working have been volunteering to travel to the western region where Ceranchia apollina are found to teach new communities.

"You can't always get what you want . . . But if you try sometimes you find . . You get what you need"

Removing pupae from cocoons
Removing pupae from cocoons
Protecting pupae until adult emergence
Protecting pupae until adult emergence
Three cocoons suspended from vine, the hostplant
Three cocoons suspended from vine, the hostplant

Links:

May 26, 2016

Design workshop opens the door to new markets

Product Development with SEPALI Artisans
Product Development with SEPALI Artisans

You may have heard about the design workshop recently completed in Madagascar. We have admittedly been bragging about its smashing success for more than a month now.  What you haven't heard about is the impact that it is already having on our program.

To catch you up, Docey Lewis, an international design and business consultant visited our team in Madagascar along with CPALI director, Catherine Craig. Together they spearheaded a training workshop that invigorated the team and added new designs, skills and techniques to our previous repertoire. 

Among other things, the workshop introduced a line of textile dyes and techniques. The results are stunning. The dyes embellished the silks in ways that we never thought possible, transforming our previous products into a whole new set of possibilities. Pictures of the product development that took place can be found below. 

The workshop also introduced raffia as supplemental product to the silk. Raffia is made from a native palm in Madagascar and is locally grown and processed.  It is inexpensive and highly coveted by design companies around the world. The SEPALI team is already hard at work recruiting local raffia producers and weavers to build a supply chain. Raffia farming is attracting new farmers in the Makira region where we work and hopefully will expand the project impact and farmer participation.

The new dyed silks are attracting the attention of the international community. Color by Amber, a Canadian jewelry company. They have already placed large orders of dyed silks and raffia.  SEPALI's conservation through sustainable livelihoods also recently caught the eye of the Santa Fe Teaching Zoo in Florida.  They are planning to raise funds on behalf of the SEPALI team over the next year through their Quarters for Conservation program. 

Many exciting developments! Wish us luck, send us your commnets and suggestions, check out our new products and most importantly, thank you for your ongoing support of our project! We couldn't do it without you! 

All the best, 

CPALI/SEPALI team

Sewing dyed textile with Mario
Sewing dyed textile with Mario
Banded dyeing techniques on wild silk
Banded dyeing techniques on wild silk
Shibori dyes on raffia textile
Shibori dyes on raffia textile
Shades of blues on silk and raffia
Shades of blues on silk and raffia
Colored product tags
Colored product tags

Links:

 
   

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