I also wanted to have an insight into an NGO that works for nature preservation and see if such an working environment would please me.
How can we change minds? Ask the children.
The WWF project in the area of Ranobe in southern Madagascar seemed to me to be a good attempt of how to implant conservation in local communities. Simultaneously working on a political level to make the area officially a protected area and organising in the communities local political tools, so people can protect the forest on their own. A forest police, a law court which applies also traditional rules and different councils are introduced so a self-management of the conservation area can take place.
Also the WWF introduces new agro-ecological ways of farming, so people give up the very destructive slash and burn practice. Only few farmers implement the agro-ecological techniques and even though they do have a lot of success with it, it is very hard to convince people.
This is were the frustration kicks in. Motivation, money, a good system, new ideas and hard conservation work seems sometimes to shatter at the obstacle of minds, routines, political problems, corruption and poverty. So the most rewarding thing was to work with the children, who seemed to understand how important it is to protect the environment, also for their proper future. The young people showed a lot of interest and hopefully they will keep their opinion and change their way of living and start working towards the conservation of nature.