Updates from Madagascar: Voiala project

20 May

Posted in Sustainability Channel

The Voiala project is a long-term project started in 2010 by Favini in Madagascar with triple effects: Environmental, economic and social. On one hand it consists of the reforestation project to part of the rainforest, on the other hand its aim is to raise awareness and train the inhabitants of Sahavondronina village, in the north east of the island and improve their agriculture practices.

Favini chose to operate in Madagascar a place where 80% of its rainforest had been destroyed due to intensive agriculture, deforestation and cattle breeding. Furthermore, 90% of Madagascar’s species can be found nowhere else in the world, so protecting them means protecting the country’s biodiversity.

What has been done to date

The aim of the initiative is to promote the development of a more sustainable agricultural system, promoting the protection of the forest through planting and strategies that promote ecotourism. The community will thus be able to regain control of its territory.

By 2020, 75 hectares of forest have been replanted, corresponding to 150,000 trees; as well as 2,077 hectares of virgin forest adjacent to the village which have also been protected. The reforestation plan requires the villagers to be personally involved in clearing the soil, fertilizing and assisting in planting process.

In addition, local populations have been encouraged to start beekeeping activities through the provision of specific training courses and supply of necessary equipment. The bees have now found their natural habitat in the reforested areas and the proceeds from honey sales have had a positive economic impact for the village.

Every three months Favini receives a detailed report on the progress of the project to verify that the help provided turns into something concrete.

The latest updates

The key results for the first quarter of 2021 include the reforestation program, the New Year celebrations, the 10,000 gardens in Africa project and support for agroforestry.

The goal of the 2020-2021 reforestation campaign, in the Sahavondronina area and in other sites, is to plant 44,000 young plants (of which 13.000 for Favini): so far 14,000 plants of 23 different species have been planted. The sowing and cultivation was carried out in collaboration with local communities so as to educate them on environmental protection.

Currently, a total of 24 hectares have been landed.

Towards the end of January, a party was held to celebrate the New Year and, on this occasion, an up to the moment live review of all activities was analysed and an assessment of future prospects was made. During the International Water Day, the commitment to bring drinking water to all the villages in the area was remembered and on Women’s Day the Flower Route project, created by a collaboration between Voiala, Vozama and Ades, was launched with the aim of further protection for the environment.

In 2011, a project promoted by Slow Food started with the creation of small gardens that allow families to decide what to grow, what to eat and sell whilst protecting African biodiversity. Each small garden may seem just a drop in the ocean in the face of the problems of the country but when put together these gardens can become an irrepressible force. A garden was also created near the Voiala headquarters: training sessions were held and the necessary materials provided.

Since the end of 2020 a new drive has begun to involve more women in the project, encouraging them to create their own associations. Currently there are 8 associations for a total of 600 women. In January 2021, an agroforestry project was launched, this is an agricultural production technique that combines trees and other crops on the same plot to obtain mutually beneficial effects.

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