Fighting slash and burn in Madagascar: African bloggers take action

At TEDGlobal2007, blogger Andriankoto Ratozamanana, of Harinjaka, gave a 3-minute talk on a developing environmental crisis: the “crazy slash and burn” of the Madagascar forest.

(To grasp the size of the problem, see this NASA image of burning in Madagascar, taken from the Terra satellite.)

This weekend, he emailed us to update the story:

A few days after TEDG, four Malagasy activists, led by myself, started a project in a remote village of the South-East region of Madagascar that strives to implement a local but comprehensive solution to the problems that the villagers are facing. All based upon the conversations that took place in Arusha.

The project is called Foko, and it is multi-pronged: tackling environmental issues that directly affect the villagers, building sustainable infrastructure, empowering the villagers — especially the women — to seek manageable solutions, and providing an efficient health care program.

We are focusing on battling deforestation and crazy slash and burn in Madagascar. Our actions are taking place in a village inside the Tanala region, in the heart of our most precious eastern forests — freshly (June 2007, just after the conference in Arusha) added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Our commitment to this project is unwavering, because we feel now is the time to put into action in Madagascar the mindframe born from the TEDGlobal conference in Africa.

Foko is a nonprofit organisation funded entirely by grants and donations. As co-founder and Program Director on this project, I will be the one in the field at Madagascar, working with my three friends:

Joan Razafimaharo (blog: The Purple Corner, Montreal, Canada)
Lova Rakotomalala (blog: The Malagasy Dwarf Hippo, Indiana, USA)
Mialy A. (blog: Windows on the new World of SipaKV, Washington, USA)

We plan to drive this project via Internet and blogging.

Another TEDGlobal blogger, White African, explains how this project illustrates the transition from networking to action.

Foko’s first project: Planting 10,000 trees in the village by February 2008, as part of the United Nations’ Billion Tree Campaign.