After spending the past four years gaining an introduction into the international development sector I thought why not try a change of scenery and work in a developing country. I remember reading during my studies ‘A view from the office is never as good as a view from the field’ so I decided before too much time passed I needed to put the wheels in motion for gaining this perspective. I arrived on the indian ocean island of Madagascar in January to volunteer with the organisation Feedback Madagascar.
Feedback Madagascar is exactly the kind of organisation I had hoped I would be working for. Fully accountable and commited to grass roots development, its aim is continuously steered towards sustainable development putting local people’s needs first since their creation in 1993. More recently, this has been largely ensured by working with its local partner Ny Tanintsika (meaning ‘Our Land’ in Malagasy).
Since 1993 Feedback has worked to improve the lives of tens of thousands of Madagascar’s poorest families. It has taken an integrated approach to poverty, environmental degradation and poor health and has built schools and other educational initiatives, set up sustainable college industries, health programmes, and carried out a largely successful reforestation programme in what remains as the last vestege of Madagascar’s highlands.
With Ny Tanintsika’s silk project being featured on David Attenborough’s recent 4 part series ‘Madagascar’ in addition to the start of our Treemad campaign – to plant 1,000,000 trees this year in the endangered forest corridor of the island there is plenty to be done for 2011. And I’m glad to be onboard at this exciting time!