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p4ges - Can Paying 4 Global Ecosystem Services reduce poverty?

Sharing p4ges results with local communities in eastern CAZ

A team of p4ges researchers from Madagasikara Voakajy have just returned from the communes of Anjahamana and Ambalarondra on the eastern side of the CAZ corridor where they have been sharing results with local communities.

Jacyntha AMBININTSOA writes

"Thanks a lot for sharing the result of your research because we saw you working in the forest day and night. So, we wondered what you managed there. Now we know”. Participant from Ambatovelona fokontany

The p4ges teams have worked all over the Ankaniheny-Zahamena Corridor (CAZ). As we promised during the fieldwork our team has returned to all the sites for sharing the results of the research that we have done in their territory with the local people. See here and here for previous blogs about this. Our most recent field trip for sharing results was in two communes on the eastern side of the forest corridor: Anjahamana and Ambalarondra. The team was composed by Josué (biodiversity team), Victor (wild harvested product team), I (Jacyntha, who has been managing the wild harvested product data) and Rado our driver. We spent 21 days in the field from 5th to 23rd October 2016.

We often could not arrange the date of the community feedback meetings before arriving in a village because of the poor communications in the area so we depended on the local presidents of the Fokontany and villages chiefs to help us arrange the events and inform people about them. It was great to have Victor in the team because he knows so many people in the area. This helped us a lot during the days of preparation in each new place we arrived.

We begun with the fokontany of Ambatohambana which is located in the rural commune of Anjahamana. It is in this Fokontany that we had the most people attend our feedback event of any fokontany in the area (about 80). Victor facilitated the presentations, while Josué and I presented the main results. We shared copies of our booklet which summarises p4ges research with everyone who attended. We then went on to the fokontanys of Ambodimangaroa then Mankaranana in the rural commune of Ambalarondra. We held a community meeting attended by nearly 70 people in Ambatovelona fokontany for people from Antavindambo, Ambodimangaroa and Antokotelo villages. We were afraid people would not come but they were just late, as some villages are quite a distance from where the meeting was held. We then went to the fokontany of Mankaranana and we invited people from Mankaranana, Ambodimanga and Betainkankana villages to attend our community meeting. Over 70 people attended. They appreciated the return of results and the leaflets. After each presentation in the fokontany, we also distributed the photos taken by the team who have done the research previously. The villagers were really happy to have received them. In addition, we shared snacks with all participats as “Vodimaritra” (kind of like an acknowledgement).

While participants in all sites were interested in the results they also emphasised their need for development. Comments such as “There should be an industry which can give us a job” and “there should be a project to help us planting cloves and coffee tree” were common. We also often heard that poverty leads to pressure on the forest. “We do not have enough for our livelihood, so that is the way we use forest because we have to eat”. These issues were of more concern than some of the results we presented.

In general, the communication of results went well apart the big problem was communicating about what is Carbon exactly. So, we simplified as we could the presentation about the carbon research result.

It was my first time in the CAZ as I was hired by p4ges to work on data management and analysis after the field work was finished. I was personally touched by the fact that; most of those population living close the forest are informed about the forest conservation but most of them are farmers who so they practice Tavy as they need land to support their families. I really hope that project like our p4ges project will help policy and decision makers to make an efficient solution which can achieve conservation while also ensuring local livelihoods can improve.

I am very thankful to the team who made this community feedback with me and all p4ges team for their support during the preparation time and all the communities for welcoming us.

Author: Jacyntha AMBININTSOA