Respecting life and diversity – clubs Vintsy for a sustainable society

Posted on 22 October 2012
Club Vintsy of the Fianarantsoa and Tulear area in Antananarivo, October 2012, Maddagascar
© Tony Rakoto
131 students from 33 Clubs Vintsy visited Fianarantsoa, Antsirabe and Antananarivo last week. They come from WWF MWIOPO’s priority landscapes COFFAV (the forest corridor close to Fianarantsoa) and Manombo – Fiherenana close to Toliara.

These exchange visits are part of the educational programme for sustainable development. The two objectives were to strengthen the students' knowledge of biodiversity, cultural diversity, richness and value of Malagasy biodiversity and also to broaden their horizons through contacts with the community and civic life of young people outside their home town.

Youths of 10 clubs from WWF’s priority landscape of Manombo - Fiherenana first went to Toliara to visit a museum on arts and traditions of the South of Madagascar. The visit of the community managed park of Anja and the zoological garden of Tsimbazaza enabled them to discover the rich biodiversity of their country.
After a long journey through Toliara and Fianarantsoa, and after their friends from COFFAV joined them, the children arrived in Antsirabe. They discovered the nursery of Ambatolahy which produces and sells fruit and ornamental trees, but also plants for landscaping gardens and parks. On the same day the club Vintsy members learnt about irrigation techniques and how these can be used to improve their crops and cope with drought.

In Antananarivo the 131 youths visited Tsimbazaza zoological garden, Ivato airport, the Rovas of Manjakamiadana and Ambohimanga and the University of Antananarivo.

Phideraliss from Vondrozo, who saw planes taking off for the first time in her life, realized that the possibilities of life are not confined to his village and work in the fields.

For Damson, 18, from the Vintsy Club “Maromiandra”, this trip was mainly an opportunity to make new friends in other clubs Vintsy such as Fina from Fianarantsoa or Fidy from Fort Dauphin. For him, this week was an opportunity for cultural exchange with peers.

This was also the first time that Lenna, who is in the 4th class in Besoa (COFFAV), was visiting Antananarivo. She met children from Manombo - Fiherenana, and this trip allowed her to go beyond the barriers of dialects. During this week she shared her impressions with her new friends and got to know some dialects of the southern regions of Madagascar.

“These young people aged 13 to 20 are on the verge of adulthood, at an age where they take control of their future and the choices they make are crucial for their personal development and for the future of our entire country” says Rachel Senn-Harifetra, WWF’s Head of Education in Madagascar.

“We must give these young people the knowledge and skills they need to improve their living conditions and succeed independently and responsibly, while respecting the environment and nature. The scope of our education programme is no longer limited to the environment, but expands the concept of sustainable development by introducing other themes and values such as health, democracy, equity, governance, citizenship, solidarity and respect for life in all its forms”.

At the end of their stay, despite the tears and the sadness to be separated from their new friends, all of the youngsters realized that everyone has the opportunity to change the world that the future belongs to the ambitious youth. Active young people will change the world; they are the masters of their future.
Club Vintsy of the Fianarantsoa and Tulear area in Antananarivo, October 2012, Maddagascar
© Tony Rakoto Enlarge
Philippine 16 from the Vintsy Club "Ravinala" in Fandriana: "we grow vegetables with our own compost and we clean the marketplace. We are 77 at our local Vintsy club and we all help each other. It's the first time I met Vintsy club members from Tulear/Ranobe, they also plant veggies and trees,but differenct species. They also try to convince their parents not to burn the forest any more. It's great to exchange ideas!"
© WWF Madagascar / Martina Lippuner Enlarge
Limbiraza, 16, Ankilimalinike: I am from the Magnary Vinsty Club in Ankilimalinike next to Ranobe protected area. It's the first time I am in Tana and I am amazed, there is so much to see!! The trees are soo high compared to where I am from! But it's too cold...Me and my friends at Vintsy club try to raise awareness for the protection of the environment. I want to be a university teacher later and still protect nature but at a higher level. My new friends from CoFAV (Fandriana, Vondrozo..) told me that they also tell their parents to plant one tree at least for every tree they cut! We tell our parents the same thing!"
© WWF Madagascar / Martina Lippuner Enlarge
Club Vintsy members learn about growing crops and irrigation techniques, Antsirabe 2012, Madagascar
© WWF Madagascar / Tony Rakoto Enlarge
The pupils from COFFAV and Manombo-Fiherenana in front of the Queen's Palace in Antananarivo
© WWF Madagascar / Tony Rakoto Enlarge