We are currently working with a team of seven field agents. Their main work is to apply sustainable projects and strategies that aim to enhance and capitalize the villagers work. This way they don´t have to burn the remaining forest in order to either get their wood, food, or land for their cattle. Forests we all need to remain alive if we want to breathe clean air.
After 4 years, here in Ivohibe, the WWF has managed to establish about eleven small groups of communities. These communities are to be given proper instruction in agroforestry and ecological techniques to improve their lifestyle without any aggression to the environment. This also benefits the communities since it makes it possible for them not to rely on the seasons anymore, which are drastically changing due to the climate change phenomenon.
This approach implies years of work, years spent meeting the leaders of each small village to convince them that what WWF has to offer is rentable and profitable for them. This is in combination with huge awareness campaigns, negotiating and exchange strategies that aim to bring the communities and the conservation agencies closer together.
What does all of this actually means? It means that you have a 7 people team that spend their life in a small town far away from anywhere, sometimes even far from anyone, with very little (if that!) accommodations or communication facilities. They spend their time traveling into the most remote coins of the countryside and deep inside the jungle, to talk to the poorest villagers and try to explain them why they have to adapt some of their production techniques.
Four years: just for organizing and bringing together eleven communities to the common objective of a better management of the land, for themselves but also so that our planet´s resources don’t get over exploited any more. And it is just the first step.
After, there are years and years to come in which their products need to get into the market to generate income, proper and responsible consumption habits will have to be incorporated so that the profits don´t go to waste. It’s a project that aims to have, in fifty years, communities in Madagascar living and producing sustainably and in harmony with the nature.
These projects have to be thought in a scale of fifty years, the amount of commitment that this requires from the staff is almost beyond my capacity of imagination. Fifty years! I, who am in my twenties, will be retired by then! What kind of motivation makes that a team of people dedicate their life to such goals?
I don’t know for each individual’s motivation but I can clearly see that there is a commitment that goes beyond what they may see in their lifetime. It carries intrinsically within it the faith, that we, the next generation are worth all that hard work. Their commitment has the power to open a window of opportunity for our Planet too, if they succeed we can all have a better, healthier world, environmentally and socially so. I can only be humbled by these professionals, and only hope to someday become one of them.