who we work with: Feedback Madagascar

The organisation

Feedback Madagascar is a unique organisation that aims to alleviate poverty through an integrated approach, recognising the inter-relationship between poverty, environmental degradation and poor health and also to promote integrated sustainable development and conservation in Madagascar. Their focus encourages local people to identify their problems and needs helping them to create their own solutions. By working in a participatory way, with community consultation at all stages of program design and implementation, they ensure that projects are effective and sustainable. They implement activities which promote the social development of local communities and the improved management of natural resources. Feedback Madagascar promotes simple lifestyle changes that make a lasting difference and encourage participatory approach involving local communities throughout. They work through a local NGO - Ny Tanintsika - to ensure sustainability and local accountability.

The innocent foundation first supported Feedback Madagascar back in 2010 on a yam farming project in the same area and we were really impressed with their work, so we were delighted to continue working with them.

The Project

Madagascar is the ninth hungriest country in the world according to the 2013 Global Hunger Index with 'alarming' levels of hunger. 33% of the population are undernourished and 36% of children under five are underweight. Feedback Madagascar's new agroforestry livelihoods project aims to reduce extreme food insecurity suffered by 800 households in 20 communities bordering the rainforest 'corridor' Ambositra-Vondrozo, which is a new protected area of 5,000 km². Focusing on young, usually landless people - couples and single mothers - who are the poorest and most vulnerable in society, it will work with those who are not yet members of the forest management associations in each zone, beginning by negotiating land rights with local communities so that they can work on their own farms.

Tried and tested techniques used during the yam project will include farmer-to-farmer training and community seed banks to sustainably distribute and recuperate seeds after harvest. A 'Seeds for Work' approach will be adopted to enable repairs of irrigation canals for the most vulnerable. However, the project will diversify agriculture with an agroforestry approach, concentrating on several nutrient-rich crops which also have potential for increased revenue; orange-fleshed sweet potato, corn, soya and vegetables, and will include trials of pluvial rice seed for hillside farming and farming of vanilla and pepper for additional income-generation. As a result, 800 households will have more diversified agricultural production, leading to shorter 'hungry seasons' every year.

Nutrition will improve, leading to improved health and they will be able to sell surplus production locally, increasing income and purchasing power. The young people will be trained on children's rights (e.g. registering births, schooling) and women's rights (e.g. to inherit land). Forests will be more sustainably managed through the integration of project beneficiaries into community forest management associations.