Our next product--a non-spun textile made from raw silk
Dr. Chris Holmes, technical advisor to WCS came by to see the team and our workshop. He was pretty impressed and began snapping pictures. The team smiled obligingly. I had a long talk with Chris about where we are trying to go. We are trying to scale-up the project in support of the Makira Protected Area. However, we need funds. WCS is the recipient of funds from all major donors to support the Makira Area. Their micro-credit center is working well, which is great news for future farmers who want to borrow funds to expand their silk programs. However WCS’s own efforts to create livelihood programs still need work.
We are trying to work towards a collaboration that will combine CPALI’s approach with WCS’s access to funding.
CPALI ‘s goal is to scale up to 500 farmers by the end of 2010. Our problem is that we are small, with a very limited paid staff. Hence CPALI needs to grow to help the project scale. We were hoping to receive funds from USAID but because of the political situation, USAID is still precluded from distributing anything but humanitarian aid. A project costing $500,000 is small for a USAID grant but requires extensive logistical support to process. We are between the proverbial rock and a hard place – we need funds to grow and hire staff but we can’t get funds until we grow and have a larger staff!
We will continue to talk with WCS to find a way to better meld our respective resources and approaches.
We will also be approaching, Tany Meva, a Malagasy foundation that is the recipient of funds from the MacArthur Foundation for livelihood programs in Madagascar. Tany Meva contracts out the work to Malagasy NGO. With our recent success, Chris has kindly agreed to call a meeting in Tana of WCS, CPALI and the director of Tany Meva who has always been quite receptive to us but unable to help us directly.
As an added/alternative approach, would be working to establish a Malagasy CPALI – then we could receive funds directly from Tany Meva. Mamy has started the paperwork to make CPALI Madagascar (or some more appropriate name) a reality. We are trying to think of an appropriate and reverent name – we are thinking of Ny Sabaka (our caterpillars), paralleling the name of Ny Tanintsika, the Malagasy organization who makes the textiles sold on the suraka site. We are open to suggestions!
Closeup of the non-spun textile
Large piece of silk "paper" made by the Maroantsetra team