The recent couple weeks have been extremely productive and encouraging for New Latitude-ho avy:
1. our first Malagasy student Claude finished his M.Sc. program with great sucess, defending his thesis last week, and instantly started an education/information/green classroom program, which is his next independent project to lead. We have a second student Clement, set on working on his thesis in environmental law and policy evaluating sustainable and lawful use of forest resources.
2. We have had a series of very positive, encouraging and supportive meetings, starting with invitation into regional commitie for renewable energies in SW Madagascar. We received great interest and got positive comments on our program during meetings with core environmental and conservation governmental and non-governmental organizations working in the region: DREFT (ministry of water, forest and environment), DDR, (regional development office), SAGE, CI, WWF, GTZ, Andrew Least Trust, Madagascar National Parks and fair-trade social program Hazomanga. All organizations emphatetically agreed on legal, logistial and technical support and mutually beneficial partnerships, which are currently in a process of formalizing.
3. We have had accelerated growing progress during the past few months of rainy season in the planted sanctuary area and have agreement with FIMPAHARA to work together on 5 ha of their crop land to improve food production with integrated food forest systems and effective water harvest and distribution. FIMPAHARA currently focuses on seed collection in a competitive scheme with rigid rules assuring sustainable seed harvest from the forest.
4. FIMPAHARA is greatly interested to take responsibility for tree planting in a proposed forest area of 80 ha. This area will be under FIMPAHARA's management with the major objectives of no distructive logging and charcoal production allowing natural forest regeneration, and additional assisted forest restoration. While the proposal was welcomed by WWF, FIMPAHARA is currently discussing the area in focus with the whole community to set rules of management and roles of all involved actors.
5. For the next 6 months Claude is organizing pilot environmental discussions with FIMPAHARA to evaluate reall community needs and desired for sustainable development.