The seascape of North-West Madagascar is one of the most biodiverse regions in the world, and one of the most preserved. Yet various threats are weighting on its fragile ecosystem: petroleum extraction, rare earth exploitation, development of fishing techniques with high environmental impact, mass tourism…
Without change, in a few years, the region will known a profound imbalance, directly threatening its environment and its natural resources. At its center, the island of Nosy Be totally depends on the sea and its generous underwater life to sustain itself. But for how much longer?
A new project aims to educate the people of Nosy Be, particularly the young, about what is at stake in their underwater world. This project has an environmental, social and community reach. In many places in the world, like in Eastern Madagascar, this approach works, it is thus under this angle that we envision to launch this project, with your help, from the beginning of 2019 for a minimum length of 3 years.
Who are we?
5 people, one association, a common project! Tanguy, Arthur and Elina, founders of the association MADA Megafauna, organise since 2013 the Whale Festival. This event, which takes place every year already mobilised more than 800 people: kids, teenagers and adults, from the villages of Madirokely, Ambatoloaka, Dar el Salam, Ambaro, Andilana, Ambodrona. Today the association wishes to grow further by launching a sustainable social and community project based around the protection of marine megafauna.
Stella Diamant, is the founder and leader of the program The Madagascar Whale Shark Project (madagascarwhalesharks.org) in Nosy Be since 2015. This program, assisted by global scientific experts, in collaboration with the association MADA Megafauna, focuses on the population ecology of whale sharks in Madagascar. To this day, more than 300 sharks have been identified by Stella and her team. The project also implemented a code of conduct in 2017 to ensure the longevity of marine tourism in order to protect whale sharks. Thanks to funding from the Clear Reef Social Fund and from the Foundation Vocatio, Stella Diamant initiated a pilot education program in 2018 thanks to support from the Marine Megafauna Foundation.
Check out the Madagascar Whale Shark Project’s work here: https://www.lci.fr/
Bruno, a young local from Nosy Be, is involved in different education projects : the whale festival, the community association Miaraka helping young people’s development, the associative project Tanana’Madio focusing on waste management, and was recently employed by the MWSP to deploy the education program since September 2018. Competent, motivated, involved, sensitive and convinced, it is the animator we want to support to launch our program!
The pilot project
Since the school year 2018, the Madagascar Whale Shark Project launched an education program with a class of 5th, a class of 4th and a class of CM2 for a length of 3 months in partnership with the school La Coline and Les Abeilles of Ambatoloaka and Dar es Salaam. Based on a program first implemented by the Marine Megafauna Foundation (MMF), one of the project partners in Mozambique, it is comprised of lessons, activities, games and movies around the themes of marine megafauna and threats to their survival. This pilot project is delivered by Bruno, assisted by Stella for the theory and by Sophie, school teacher, for the teaching part. The program has three overarching themes (Ecosystems, Giants of the Ocean, Environment) and unrolls over 20 classes of 1h30 each.
For more information about the crowd funding campaign please click here.