Thursday, 28 September 2017

Fantastic Flora in Madagascar!

Madagascar boasts one of the most diverse and exciting eco-systems in the world with many species waiting to be found. Many of the species of fauna and flora cannot be found elsewhere, meaning scientists have always got something to look forward to in terms of new discoveries. It is also, however, one of the poorest countries which leaves its people struggling to cope with the problems of the changing modern world.

What is new then for Madagascar? Firstly, to the fantastic flora – Madagascar has added to its already complex family of orchid; – with the discovery of new species of the Cynorkis Thouars orchid (1). The country already has over 170 species of orchid – around 120 of these (1) being indigenous to Madagascar. Due to the destruction of habitat, despite having only been discovered recently, plant specialists have already put the new find on the ‘red list’ of plants which are critically endangered.  

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12225-017-9715-4
Staying on the topic of Madagascar’s fantastic flora, it has made the news elsewhere with the president (Hery Rajaonarimampianina) visiting Kew Gardens for a meeting with scientists, members of Kew’s specialist team that work on Madagascar, representatives of the UK government, members of DEFRA and several others. In this meeting the president explained his vision and plans for Madagascar’s unique environment and also talked on broader topics such as Global Warming. He pointed out how Madagascar is home to 5% of the world’s biodiversity (3) and then went on to highlight his plans to conserve and support it. He highlighted the same approach as that of MFM – the only way that the environment can be maintained is to support the population so that they do not need to exploit it. His words were welcomed as he highlighted the importance of dealing with global warming and extending protected areas to reduce human impact on the natural world.

This is not the only example of Madagascar trying to ‘do its bit’ in the face of world issues. Recently the European Union (EU) has also been working with Madagascar to find sustainable and environmentally friendly ways to meet energy needs. The EU has also helped Madagascar with hydro-electric and solar power projects which form part of the ‘New Energy Policy’ - partly funded by the EU. (2)

If you feel that you could help Madagascar, please do consider making a donation. Anything you give would help to support both the environment and the people of Madagascar. For more information or to make a donation, please see https://moneyformadagascar.org/
  
(4)  WWF

By Matthew Ward

Monday, 11 September 2017

Malagasy Wildlife Exhibition in Dorset

An exhibition about Malagasy Wildlife is taking place at Durlston Country Park, Dorset from 12th – 27th September. There will be displays about wildlife featuring artifacts and photographs from  recent joint expeditions by the Bournemouth Natural Science Society and Bournemouth University.


Money for Madagascar will also be there with an information stand and display plus, on the weekends 16th-17th and 23rd-24th , a stall run by trustees and volunteers. We will have for sale a wide range of Malagasy crafts and photo greetings cards of Madagascar together with this year’s Christmas Cards, with all proceeds going to support the work of MfM. Crafts for sale will include raffia hats, baskets, scarves, jewelry, place mats and gift boxes.

The exhibition will take place from 10.00 to 17.00 every day between 12th - 27th September, at Durlston Castle, Lighthouse Road, Swanage, Dorset, BH19 2JL and promises to be a fascinating showcase of the research carried out in Madagascar.

Here is a link to the website for Durlston castle: http://www.durlston.co.uk/

Please note: the sale of crafts will be on the weekends only, except for a small selection which will be held by the Gallery during weekday. 

We hope to see you there. Thank you for supporting Money for Madagascar (www.moneyformadagascar.org)

Monday, 4 September 2017

Madagascar President visits UK


President of the Republic of Madagascar, Hery Rajaonarimampianina, is to making a landmark visit to the United Kingdom today, as part of a wider effort to develop relations between Madagascar and the UK. During his visit, which starts on Monday, September 4th 2017, President Hery and his delegation will attend events including a trade investment forum and an event at Kew Gardens. He is also expected to formally announce the re-opening of a Malagasy embassy in London.

Image result for anglo-malagasy society
Madagascar’s former embassy in London closed in 2005 with diplomatic responsibilities since being managed by the country’s UK consulate and the British High Commission in Mauritius. As part of efforts to develop UK – Malagasy relations reports have been circulating that Madagascar are planning to reopen an embassy in London, with some reports suggesting that a building has been secured. If this is confirmed as expected during President Hery’s visit on Monday this will represent a major step in establishing further diplomatic and trade partnerships between the two countries.

During his visit President Hery is also scheduled to make a keynote address to the Madagascar Trade and investment forum in London which aims to attract international investment into Madagascar and showcase the opportunities the country has to offer. The President is also expected attend a special event at Kew Gardens, which undertakes vital work to conserve Madagascar’s unique flora and recent held the 2017 ‘State of the World’s Plants’ symposium with a special focus on Madagascar. Finally the community of Malagasy residents in Britain as well as the Anglo-Malagasy Society have been invited to meet the presidential delegation at a service of thanksgiving at Lumen United Reformed Church today.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Stories from Madagascar: Nirina's Story


As part of our ‘Stories from Madagascar’ series of articles where we look at examples of work carried out by Malagasy organisations which we work with, we visit the story of Nirina who was helped by Akany Avoko Faravohitra (AAF), a home for destitute girls which provides them with care, education and support.


Nirina was arrested for marijuana possession when she was 17 and placed at AAF. Before that, she had lived her whole life on the streets. Her mother picked through garbage to make a living, and Nirina dropped out of school when she was seven years old to join her. Nirina was only 13 when she had her first child, and now she lives at AAF with her sons, four-year-old Norbert, and nine-month-old Tsiry.



Thanks to AAF, Nirina feels safe for the first time in her life, and she is proud of the difference in how she parents her children now. The social workers at AAF taught her that it is good for her baby’s development if she talks to and plays with him, something she had never heard before. She learned to weave raffia at AAF and has become an accomplished artisan, but is facing a lot of uncertainty since she is now a legal adult. Her dream is to rent a small house near her older child’s school, and support her family with her handicrafts, but she needs financial support to begin living independently.



Centres such as AAF provide a life-changing experience for some of the poorest and most vulnerable people on the planet. However, AAF have found themselves in a situation where have been left unable to pay their bills or even buy food for the girls living at the centre until their next instalment of funding arrives in mid-August. Money for Madagascar is currently running an emergency appeal on behalf of the centre: please click here if you wish to donate to help Akany Avoko, Faravohitra stating that it is for the ‘AAF Appeal.’ Any donation, big or small, will be gratefully received.