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p4ges - Can Paying 4 Global Ecosystem Services reduce poverty?

A blog on the recent training meet for Malagasy new staff

Rina Mandimbiniaina - an assistant working on the socio-economic work package of the p4ges project - and Alexandra Rasoamanana, agricultural engineer on the project, reflect on the training which was run for new assistants on the 10th January at l'Ecole Supérieure des Sciences Agronomiques in Antananarivo.

The meeting on the 10th January was  our first meeting with p4ges Madagascar team. We already knew about p4ges' objectives from the project’s website but the meeting helped us understand more about the research challenges and the interaction between all the different work packages in the project.

We started off with the p4ges challenges and its specific objectives. p4ges will be looking not only into scientific aspects but also into social issues and the central focus which runs through everything is ensuring that the research can have real impact for poverty alleviation. We were so happy about the enthusiasm and the interests of all the researchers involved to reach this very big challenge. We were trained in research ethics which was very interesting and gave us new insights.  Such training has not always been common practices in social sciences research in Madagascar.

One of the aims of the workshop was to get to know each other and their roles in the project. It was fantastic to meet new colleagues with whom we will learn and share experiences. Also, we are very proud of the leadership which Malagasy institutions are playing in this big international research project.

Another aim of the workshop was to think about field work and the best way to approach communities.  We had very fruitful discussions on how we can compensate respondents for their participation in surveys and interviews, the importance of communicating with other partners, and the need to avoid raising unrealistic expectations. A very useful discussion which will help us reduce misunderstandings across all levels!