A 05 days national handcraft exhibition is held from November 22 to 27, 2016, in Antananarivo at the National Center for Malagasy Handcraft – CENAM. The big event is initiated by Vasia, the network of Malagasy women associations, in close collaboration with CENAM. All associations of women, members of the network coming from 22 Regions of Madagascar, are represented and are proud to present their handcraft and traditional knowledge at the unprecedented event.
Menalamba women had the great opportunity to be invited by the network to join them. It is the first exhibition of Menalamba women in the Capital, hopefully not the last. In fact, the goal is not only to sell Menalamba’s product but also and overall to get them connected with national wide civil society network and public institutions such as CENAM.
“We are grateful to attend this national event. Now we are in the network and are happy to participate to all future events. I had a fruitful discussion with the President of Vasia who informed us about the closed event: the Christmas exhibition in December in Antananarivo, at the same place. After exchanging our contact, I was happy to tell to Menalamba women members that we have to present our best creation in the Capital again.” explains Mrs Thine, the President of the Women Association for Handcraft Menalamba Torotorofotsy.
“I am positively surprised to exchange with women coming from different Region. I was particularly interested in products from the south of Madagascar, now I know new plant materials growing in dry area used for handcraft.” says Mrs Jeannette, member of Menalamba Women.
The project behind the women association Menalamba, is Torotorofotsy strengthening community-based protection in Torotorofotsy Ramsar wetland, Madagascar.
The project is funded by the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and is implemented by the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation (FANC).
The aim of the project is to develop a sustainable method for the conservation of a unique Ramsar wetland site of Torotorofotsy situated in the Commune of Andasibe, District of Moramanga, Region Alaotra Mangoro, in the rainforest area of Madagascar.
The Ramsar site of 9 776 ha, was initiated by the Association Mitsinjo Andasibe, and was officially inaugurated by the Malagasy Government as the 4th Ramsar site of Madagascar in February 02, 2005.
The Wetland inhabits a significant diversity of endemic and endangered animal and plant species. Unfortunately, a large part of the wetland has been taken over by habitants and converted to rice paddies despite of continuous conservation efforts. Other threats to the wetland include gold mining, rapid population growth and a large nickel and cobalt mine nearby.
Therefore “The vision of Torotorofotsy site is to ensure the viability and the durability of the site, by maintaining its ecological functions, by conserving its biodiversity and by generating benefices for local population within the sustainable utilization of its natural resources” Updated Management Plan of Torotorofotsy site, by CIREF, MITSINJO, VOI TARATRA and AMBATOVY Company in 2009.
So far during two years, the project is supporting local population in improving their livelihood in accordance with the sustainable utilization of natural resources. Together with Association Mitsinjo Andasibe, needs were identified and capacity buildings and trainings were provided for local population in Torotorofotsy. The project capacity building is mainly focused on sustainable farming, on eco-tourism and on handcraft design and marketing. The approach is accompanied by environmental education and public awareness activities.
“Networking is crucial to raise Menalamba women capacity to be more and more independent, and also to expand their local vision to national ambition. It is part of our exit strategy” clarifies Mrs Angela Tarimy, Coordinator of FANC Madagascar
The Finnish Association for Nature Conservation or the Suomen Luonnonsuojeluliittoo (SLL/FANC) is the biggest member-based environmental Non Profit organization in Finland with over 30 000 members. FANC works mainly in Finland, in Russia and started to work in Madagascar in 2011 with 02 projects: the Project Manondroala (2011-2017) and the Project Torotorofotsy wetland Ramsar site (2015-2016). The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland mainly funds both projects. And there is a possibility for continuation until 2020.