Solange Uwera

From the Land of Thousand Hillls to the Country of Thousand Lemurs

It is true Rwanda and Madagascar have much in common, but I thought .. I can learn a lot from there. I was about to submit my thesis, thinking about the next step, so I browsed through the WWF website, and I saw Youth Volunteer Program, I said yes... this is the next right thing to do, I'll try! and it was really a kick I leaned more than I thought I could.

Solange Uwera, from Rwanda. I am 25 years old. I studied botany and conservation at University. I care about the environment and believe in the power of collaboration in the creation of the world where people live in harmony with nature, which is why I joined the WWF program for young volunteers.

What we did?

We were a good team of six volunteers working on the project of Holistic Conservation Programme of Forests in Madagascar, with the objective of improving the living conditions of local communities and the preservation of biodiversity in Madagascar. Our daily work was to collaborate closely with local communities in forest protection activities including, the identification of slash and burn alternatives such as the establishment of vegetable gardens, helping people in agricultural activities including, the improved rice cultivation system and give important advice on animal breeding .
reforestation and restoration was also another objective of our project, in this case , we have prepared nurseries for further planting activities. Raising awareness on forest protection had been our priority, we held group discussions and video sessions in villages to discuss the wise use and conservation of forest resources. Besides that, we had special activities in each village with the children and women about education, family planning and cooking.

What I learned

My participation in the WWF Explore program gave me a lot of experience. It opened my understanding of how I see the conservation and effort that is used internationally to protect the fragile environment. I learned how community conservation works, such as the transfer of forest management to local communities to strengthen the management of forests in Madagascar. With guidance and assistance of WWF.

There are absolutely three things you will learn from WWF program Explore. teamwork Spirit, which involves the exchange of ideas on methods to be used during activities where everyone need to accept that his suggestion is sometimes not enough and you accept ideas of your fellow volunteers to be sufficient. This is actually what makes a good team. I enjoyed being in a good team, taking care of each other…

Secondly, one of the best experiences is how we were able to integrate into the local community, living with the local people. They helped us in everything, we have become good friends and neighbors, the exchange of culture, play with children,... it was amazing.

Exploring the biodiversity of Madagascar was another good thing I appreciated during my volunteer time with WWF. Thanks to the staff of WWF Madagascar who include field visits to the program to allow volunteers to explore different areas of ​​Madagascar. Who can't enjoy watching lemurs jump in the jungle? This is a dream come true.

Do You Want to Give it a Try?

This is a great opportunity WWF is giving us that most organisations can’t provide. Do you want a fresh start after your graduation? Do you want experience from real field activities or do you want to gain knowledge about conservation? This is exactly you good chance. Apply to be a volunteer with WWF EXPLORE PROGRAM, you will learn more than you can imagine. 
© © WWF/Solange Uwera © © WWF/ Tsiory © WWF/ Solange Uwera © WWF/ Solange Uwera © WWF/ John Paul De Quay

My special thanks to WWF staff in Madagascar and Switzerland who made our stay in Madagascar possible and enjoyable, WWF Madagascar field agents who helped us in every day activities. I would like to express my sincere appreciation to WWF Youth Volunteer Program Donors who supported my stay and helped me to gain new experience working with WWF Internationl.

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