“It’s a great feeling when you find solutions to problems!”

	© Olivier van Bogaert
Joël Raveloson with tree samplings
© Olivier van Bogaert
Interview with Joël Raveloson, Head of project in Ivohibe-Andringitra
Joel Raveloson was born in 1979 in Antananarivo and spent his early years in Soavinandriana, a rural area. But he really discovered the natural wonders by watching wildlife documentaries on TV, especially those from Commandant Cousteau.

“When I was watching big animals in Kenya’s savanna, it was like in a dream,” he recalls.  “I’d like to go there one day.”

At least, he has definitely moved towards conservation. He studied agronomy in Antananarivo and specialized in forestry. For his memoir, he went to Fort Dauphin to work with WWF on forest restoration. 

What subjects did you like most at school?

Natural history, maths, physics.

As a teenager, what did you want to do later?

Initially, I wanted to be a lawyer or a physician, probably because there are many of them in my family. I chose agronomy after high school.

How did you end up working with WWF?

I had completed some forest restoration work for WWF during my studies. But after that, I worked as a consultant on many different issues such as socio-economic studies, management of natural resources, monitoring of lemurs. I finally joined WWF after applying for a forest restoration job in Fandriana, which was eventually moved to Andapa but with no funding. At the end, they sent me to Ivohibe to close a previous project, and I’m still there.

What do you like most about your job?

I like to plan and coordinate activities and, above all, to find solutions to problems. It’s a great feeling when you manage to do this successfully.

What do you like least about your job?

Tasks linked to administration and finance are time-consuming. The fact that I don’t have an accountant in Ivohibe makes it even more complicated. 

What are the prerequisite qualities to do your job?

You need to be passionate and strongly believe in what you do, you also have to like challenges.

What are the assets of this project? And the main challenges to come?

I believe the project is progressing well and I’m generally optimistic. Here in Ivohibé, local communities are motivated to plant trees and be involved in transfers of natural resources management because they know it will help them fulfill their needs. They also understand that climate change is a serious issue, although it will take some time before they really see the link with – and impact on – their daily life. The creation of new protected areas and associated management procedures will take some time, too. 

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