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p4ges - Can Paying 4 Global Ecosystem Services reduce poverty?

Sharing p4ges results with local communities in western CAZ

The p4ges team are working hard to return results to all communities where we worked. Here Alain Rakotondrina writes about the trip to Didy commune on the west of CAZ to share results there.

Alain writes

As planned on the start of the p4ges project, results must be shared with different stakeholders at all level. After the regional event in Moramanga held in July, a team from Madagasikara Voakajy went to Didy to share results with local communities from the 13th-29th September 2016. The team was composed by Raphali (biodiversity and wild harvested product team), Alain (biodiversity team) and Victor (wild harvested product team). We needed to get to these sites before the rain came as accessibility is difficult. First we visited the local authorities (Mayor and the head of the Gendarme); they are all very happy with this because they said that it is probably the first time that researcher back just for sharing result and they also encourage the team to continue work on conservation.

We adopted a small standard plan. We started by giving a general presentation of the p4ges overall project. After, the team emphasized the impact of different land use change on biodiversity (the community of reptiles; amphibians and insects); hydrology (infiltration) and carbon storage. All of the results indicate that forest is very important. We gave people some minutes for question and we continued with the social results (we fed back the results we had from our indepth sites on the costs of conservation locally and the distribution of benefits).

We started sharing result with the village of Betsingita the farthest site. The timing of our visit there was bad as there was an accident with two people killed in the village. We were so sorry about this especially as one of the people helped our team during the field season. Despite this tragedy, we were invited to share some results with the chiefs and old men (Tangalamena). Most of people were of course distracted by the accident but they are very interested with our subject and we had about 50 adults attend our feedback session. The people were pleased to see us in their village and said that they are the real local community around CAZ and conservationist should take them in consideration for ensuring good conservation but not only people from big village like Ambohijanahary.

After, we continued with fokontany Sahafasenina combining people around Sahafasenina and Ampanataovana villages. The participants were very happy to meet the team because most of them remember us very well. Participants were 64 people and they composed by different categories such as farmer, teacher, head of the village, Oldman (Tangalamena), youth leader and the football team. They were very interested on the result especially from the social survey and they confirmed that “if we need a good conservation; we should focus to help local people in their life”. They said also that the problem of conservation is the corruption; the big boss in the state can do everything prohibited but not be sanctioned.

We distributed the project booklet which summarizes the whole project, reminds people of our objectives and what we did, and presents our conclusions.

All people in this area are poor and the infrastructure in the area ais weak. As in other community feedback sessions were were often asked if we or those conserving the forest can help by building schools. We explained that unfortunately this isn’t something we can do as are researchers. We were also told often that local people need more help with livelihoods and that conservationist should ask the local people on the choice of micro-project to be run in their village as this isn’t always done.

The community feedback was very useful because discussing our results locally is the starting point to turn on research into use which can eventually lead to development impact. The whole team is extremely grateful to all the participants, the Didy authority and the p4ges project.

Author: Alain Rakotondrina