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My name is Angelica Karlsson, I’m from Sweden and I’m 26 years old. As student at the University of Gothenburg, I have done one year of development studies and three years of environmental science with human geography as specialisation.
In the future I hope to find an employment that combines these three topics, ideally working with subjects that are related to land use, conservation and development in tropical forests. With this background and ambition, it was obvious for me to apply to the WWF Explore Programme and I’m unexplainable grateful that I got the chance to participate. It has been as interesting and inspiring as I was hoping for before arrival – and challenging of course.
The group I was part of consisted of six volunteers and we worked in the district of Ivohibe which is located in the moist forest corridor in Madagascar. The local people are poor and do not always have the opportunity to make their activities and decisions sustainable from a long perspective point of view. In this area the pressure on forests is very high since local people need the forest to satisfy their basic needs such as food and wood. This results in deforestation and that plants and animals – many of them endemic – lose their habitat and become threatened. It is very important to make the quality of life for these people better and to preserve this valuable nature, something our work as volunteers aimed to do.
During our stay one main task was working with COBAs (Communauté de Base) which are organisations that WWF has encouraged and which will be responsible for the forest management in the area in the future. Activities that we organised and carried out aimed to reinforce these organizations. We were also working with the communities where the COBAs were located, e.g. empowering women and doing awareness raising with children.
A learning experience
During my experience I have learnt more than I could ever imagine about conservation, development and working in the field. The WWF staff in Ivohibe – as well as the other volunteers – worked with an admirable commitment that has really inspired me. I will appreciate this knowledge, understanding and inspiration for the rest of my life.
WWF Volunteer Angelica Karlsson with the WWF Holistic Forest Conservation Programme in Ivohibe, Madagascar