Stéphanie Mermet

About Me!

Hi!!! I’m Stephanie, I am from France and also from Ecuador. I was born in Ecuador, to my French father and my Ecuadorian mother. After finishing my high school in Ecuador at 18, I came to France to continue my University studies. Currently, I am pursuing my Master in Ecology and Conservation in Lyon, France. As part of my interest with my studies, I wanted to gain hands-on experience and discover a developing country anywhere in the World where I could volunteer. After some research and comparison, I found this fantastic opportunity with the local WWF and after volunteering for an event this opened the doors to my goal of traveling to another country, Madagascar.
I consider myself a person who wants to dedicate her life to trying to make a change, to understand and learn about the spectacular World we live in. I want to protect nature and its biodiversity. I also want to help people and the millions of species depending on that interaction.

This is the reason why I wanted a volunteer program with WWF to confront the reality and the actual problems that conservation has to face. I wanted to take out my eyes from the laboratory and see what this World has to confront every day and how our human actions are accelerating its destruction with every step we take.
 / ©: WWF / Stéphanie Mermet
Moi!
© WWF / Stéphanie Mermet

Want to find out more?

What I Learned

To be honest it is very difficult to express such an experience in a few paragraphs, but what I am absolutely sure is that it really changes your life entirely.
First of all, I was really put face to face with what conservation in action is in Madagascar. The people, the problems and the understanding of how this interaction works. One might have learned all the methods and techniques and have the motivation to help, but at times it is not enough to work with a community. It takes a greater understanding of how they are impacted and how they feel, in this case by how the degradation of the coral reef and it species affects the local population.

Second of all, one must be patient and put yourself in their position all the time. I realized that in our project, sometimes it was not just people’s actions, like different fishing methods or the trash thrown to the sea that degraded the coral reef, but it was also our actions in our developed countries, i.e. all the pollution at sea, atmosphere, and the indiscriminate exploitation of natural resources. So I tried to have this in mind in my interaction with the fishermen and families, and it is in that contact with the people that I began to learn and truly understand. It was difficult for them to comprehend why we were trying to help them and why the different programs we wanted to create with them.

The WWF program with its vast experience facilitates the achievement of the different goals. It’s very fun and comprehensive and in addition, there’s the human part, where you have to work together and find this balance between conservation and the people’s needs.

It was a special opportunity to learn how to work in a group. As part of it you realize the consequences of your actions, your learning from other colleagues with different cultural backgrounds and you are contaged by the same motivation and committement towards this cause. It was just an amazing experience.  At the same time, I learnt a lot of myself. This experience helped me understand which way I’m going to work in my future and continue making a difference.

Finally, it was a unique experience meeting, helping the people in our villages. So different from us yet so close to us. They really opened their arms and hearts to us. They made us feel at home. That’s why now; I miss that home I left in Madagascar. Every single smile from the children, their laugh and happiness with just little things, every detail, their culture.

I must say that you really make a connection with the people and the beautiful country of Madagascar with its amazing landscapes and unique animal species!!!

SMILE, FEEL, HELP, WORK, HAVE FUN! The key words to volunteer.

If you want to go, you have to put all your energy into it, absorb all you can, because opportunities like this cannot always be repeated. Open yourself to everything. Upon your return you have to know that you gave your very best to help make a difference. Everything you do will stay in the memories of the people you touch. You are making a change with everything you do and teach. You don’t even know how much you are going to learn from them!

Our Planet, Our Lives, Our Needs

Dans la grande île de Madagascar, un petit village de bord de mer
 / ©: WWF / Stéphanie Mermet
Volunteering in Salary
© WWF / Stéphanie Mermet
© WWF / Stéphanie Mermet © WWF / Stéphanie Mermet © WWF / Stéphanie Mermet © WWF / Stéphanie Mermet © WWF / Stéphanie Mermet © WWF / Stéphanie Mermet © WWF / Stéphanie Mermet © WWF / Stéphanie Mermet © WWF / Stéphanie Mermet © WWF / Stéphanie Mermet © WWF / Stéphanie Mermet © WWF / Stéphanie Mermet © WWF / Stéphanie Mermet

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