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.
Jun 3, 2015

Small steps: The Women's Guest House is Complete!

Artisan
Artisan's bunk house is complete

We are celebrating the month of June with new on-site living quarters for working artisans! Many of the artisans have to travel a full day to reach the training center and have no family to stay with overnight when working there.  SEPALI Madagascar has just completed a very cute guest house with festive orange trim to welcome the artisan team.

You might notice that the new guest house does not seem to have a foundation - well you would be correct!  The house has been built so it can be moved to the training center site once the training center is completed.  Always vigilant and helpful, Amelia Thrall of the Boston Architects for Humanity has assured us that her team can draw plans to build a foundation at the training site that we can simply "drop" the house into.  It sounds a little tippy, but Ameliahas never let us down - Thank you Amelia.

 So the next question is, how about building that training center?  Current thinking is that the center should be build in an area serviced by Jirama, the local electricity company.  We had hoped to include the training center with the demonstration site - we have put so much work into making the demonstration site a functioning farm that it seems to be a shame NOT to put the training center there as well.  Unfortunately, Jirama does not anticipate extending its lines to our area any time in the near future and we want the training center ASAP.  So, we are back to the drawing board searching for a new site in which to build it. Never fear, we have come this far and will not let something as silly as the lack of a little electricity stop us.

Are you asking, just how well is SEPALI doing making a marketable product and is the training center justified? SEPALI Madagascar is doing very well, thank you very much for asking.  SEPALI Madagascar has produced, and CPALI US has sold over $8,500 worth of silk products just since January 2015 (up from $4000 for the entire year of 2014) and more orders are being processed.  We had set ourselves a $12,000 target for year of 2015 and we may surpass that by the end of July or sooner! Yes, we really need the site to accelerate production and hence support more farmers earnings through the sustainable use of endemic resources

So how do you like them mangoes?  

Just getting started
Just getting started
Siding!
Siding!
Finished at last
Finished at last

Links:

May 7, 2015

A long way to market . . . .

Wild silk chair made by Karen Brown
Wild silk chair made by Karen Brown

A LONG WAY FROM HOME
One of SEPALI's goals is to create new and accessible opportunities so that women can earn money and care for their families - the same problem many women face.  In Madagascar, people that live in rural communities do not have easy public transportation that allows them to travel to jobs and back daily.  In the case of SEPALI farmers, reaching a workshop involves 3 modes of transport - boat, bus and walking!  Therefore, we are building a new training center where women can spend the night while they are away. Nevertheless, even though SEPALI pays transportation, and provides lodging and food, most women are unable to attend more than one or two workshops a year. 

To address women's needs, SEPALI Madagascar is exploring new ways to implement work programs in the villages so women can do a little work every day. They will still travel to the training center for new training but they can  practice  and continue to make textiles close to home.  But what to do when there is no electricity? We are on the search for treadle, sewing machines capable of sewing a zigzag stitch!  So far we have tracked down a machine sold commercially in the US but the cost is prohibitive.  If anyone has a functional machine with a treadle that is gathering dust in the garage, and who would be willing to ship it to Madagascar (we will pay the cost), please contact us!  We will document the machine's journey from your home (with your help!) to Maroantsetra and up river into a selected women's group where it will continue a productive life!

TO THE MARKET
A long way from our women's groups, CPALI US is working hard to develop new markets for our artissan's textiles.  All of the revenue from their sale is returned to the project so that we can continue to expand our training programs. Thanks once again to Amelia Thrall and th Boston Architects for Humanity, we were able to attend the Architectural Digest Home Design Show in New York in March to display our artisan’s work.  In the attached photo you can see the three gorgeous drapes made to tempt new designers - and, in fact, it worked!

We attracted the fabulous Karen Brown! The Karen Brown Design Group is our first partner to develop a line of furniture using our beautiful textiles.  Karen has already made a chair, "Natural Selection", that she has donated to the IFDA 2015 Take a Seat Charity Auction in Boston.  Attached is a sneak peak!  Better than that, not only is Karen designing chairs, but her plan to design a whole collection of furniture using our non-spun textile! 

Also, we are thrilled to announce that ABC Home and Carpet, also contacted at the New York show, will be selling placemats and table runners made by women artisans in their holiday catalogue.  ABC will focus on natural colored textiles but who knows what new colors will emerge from SEPALI Madagascar once they begin experimenting with natural dyes!  Stay Tuned! 

Wild Silk Drapes at ADHD Show, NY
Wild Silk Drapes at ADHD Show, NY
Preparing cocoons to sew into textiles
Preparing cocoons to sew into textiles
Placemats for ABC Home and Carpet
Placemats for ABC Home and Carpet

Links:

Mar 31, 2015

Big, Scary Bugs.

Adult Giant Water Bugs
Adult Giant Water Bugs

The latest trend in western "foodie" culture is old news to most of the rest of world. Across the Americas, Asia and Africa, eating insects has long been an established practice. And for good reason: when examining input and outputs, insects are one of the most cost-effective protein sources in the world. While cows require 8g of food for every 1g of weight gain, many insects require less than 2g of food for the same weight gain.

Rising populations, especially in developing nations, are putting enormous strain on the existing protein-production systems, resulting in protein-deficiency related issues. Madagascar is no exception. With 23 million people and a steady growth rate among the highest in Africa, protein-production systems in Madagascar are already inadequate.

The SEPALI team in Madagascar is working hard to change that. In our particularly isolated region, insect consumption is already present, but it is considered a somewhat desperate measure and lacks a formal market. The SEPALI team is hoping to turn the tide in Maroantsetra by introducing a viable business model for insect protein production.

After discovering the Orychtes beetle in 2014, the team has been actively rearing the beetle larvae in the broken-down Talandoha branches (a by-product of the silk production process). "We must wait for several months before checking the progress of the rearing because the life cycle of the Orychtes beetles is very long," says Director, Mamy Ratsimbazafy.

Our second discovery of edible insects was the Fulgoridae, Hemiptera, featured in the previous report. This species was discovered in November by SEPALI farmer, Fenozara Justin, who was interested in pioneering the project and had eaten the insect as a child. So far in 2015, Fenozara Justin has planted over 200 host plants of for this species and is working closely with the SEPALI staff to define rearing methods. The Fulgoridae feeds on a type of bean vine that many farmers grow on their farm for food. In the future, if SEPALI is able to master the technical rearing methods for this species, farmers will be able to harvest not only the beans, but also the insects for protein resources.

Our biggest, scariest, latest discovery is a species of giant water bug that has graced the SEPALI demonstration site frequently with its presence. The scientific name is Leptocerus, of the family Belostomatidae (order Heteroptera). The giant water bugs are caught during the night with light traps that the SEPALI team frequently uses to monitor native species in the area. Leptocerus are voracious predators, feeding on worms, fish, snails and other insects and are capable of delivering a bite to humans, albeit a non-dangerous one. The large bug, however, is also a temptingly rich protein snack. In fact, these giant water bugs are already a popular food source in Thailand. In the weeks to come, the SEPALI team will be building special rearing equipment to allow them to study the life cycle of this species and mastering the technical rearing methods to pass on to farmers when the time is right.

Fulgoridae Insects
Fulgoridae Insects
Fenozara Justin
Fenozara Justin's Farm
Setting up Rearing Techniques for Water Bugs
Setting up Rearing Techniques for Water Bugs
Fried Water Bug Snacks in Thailand
Fried Water Bug Snacks in Thailand
 
   

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