PROJECT OVERVIEW «ANDRAFIABE -‐ MADAGASCAR» This project concerns the life of an entire region, now semi-‐desert, that seems to have been forgotten by all. It is located in the north east of Madagascar, around 120km from the nearest town, Ambanja, a journey of around two and a half hours by car. It is centred in the middle of four villages scattered over an area of five square kilometres. As a result of the rudimentary needs of the people, and the high levels of migration to this normally fertile region, the land has suffered from high levels of deforestation. Trees have been cut to allow people to build their huts, clear land to grow rice and provide fuel wood for cooking. This loss of vegetation cover, in combination with hot tropical sun and high amounts of precipitation has rendered the tropical soil baked solid, and lacking the nutrients necessary to sustain plant life. The AVOTRA foundation, the owner of the land, began to reforest the area located in the “fokontany” of Andrafiabe (the rural community of North Befotaka, in the district of Analalaya) to empower local people to break this vicious cycle. Through a scheme of reforestation, establishing nurseries of Eucalyptus and Acacia, villagers who choose to participate in this project receive a plot of land and learn how to take care of it and cultivate it. In return, recipients do not pay any financial contribution -‐ they would be unable to -‐ but agree to educate their children. The investment required for this project – including the construction of a school, dining room, teachers’ residence and health facilities -‐ are budgeted over three years.
The site of the future school
Children from the surrounding communities
BUDGET Please refer to the attached documents that contain the specifications for the various buildings (schools, toilets, wells, dining rooms, teachers’ residence, home of "passage"). Regarding ‘ongoing commitments’, the salary of a teacher is around 50 euros per month. The five teachers required for this project equate to 250 euros per month or 3,000 euros per year. Ideally, there will be a midday meal offered to the children who attend the school, at a cost of one euro per meal. The number of children is estimated at between 100 and 200. It should be noted that in this region, children suffer from malnutrition. It is therefore important to provide them with one meal a day. On a basis of 150 days of schooling, the annual budget would be 15,000 to 30,000 euros per year. Unfortunately, this expense is not required for the operation of the school and the project, and if this money is not found, the meal will simply not be offered. LONG TERM IMPACT AND SUSTAINABILITY The village in the immediate vicinity of the future school (about 1,000 inhabitants) has only four adults who can read. The notion of school and education is shunned by the inhabitants of these small, agricultural villages. Yet it is only education that will allow these populations to grow in a sustainable way, learning to care for their land by not repeating the mistakes of the past, and in doing so, laying the foundations for a sustainable form of agriculture and a sustainable way of life. As Father Stefano has demonstrated so well, if the Collège Champittet Foundation does not build a school, none of the children of these villages will have the opportunity to have access to education. Without the education on how to manage this land in a sustainable way, the land could quickly return to its current, infertile state. The sustainability of the project is further ensured by the constitution of the AVOTRA foundation (articles attached), whose president is from one of the villages concerned and for whom Father Stefano acts as treasurer. The chiefs of the four villages most affected, as located in a geographical area allowing access to the new school (5 km), are committed to achieving the objectives of the AVOTRA foundation and its reforestation project in the region, the results of which are already visible. It is through this combination of local land ownership, intermediate financial management and, more importantly, education on how to create a sustainable plantation and teach the next generation on how to sustain it, that make this project particularly unique.
HOW THE PROJECT WILL BENEFIT THE LOCAL NORD ANGLIA EDUCATION COMMUNITY A partnership agreement between the Collège Champittet Foundation and the AVOTRA Foundation has already been signed (February 16, 2012) As part of this agreement, students from Collège Champittet will travel to the region and assist in the ongoing implementation of this project. They will be hosted by the organisation based in Ambanja and supported by the network at their disposal. This will not only contribute to the CAS (Creativity, Action, Service) element of our students’ IB Diplomas, but will also have a significant positive impact on their personal development.
The construction of the school has already begun (photo May 4, 2012) In conclusion, here is a video summary of the experience I have had the privilege to perform, accompanied by Matthew Roberts, as part of this project which should, hopefully, eliminate any hesitation you might still have in supporting us.
www.tinyurl.com/champittetmadagascar Valérie Sutter and Matthew Roberts Collège Champittet, Lausanne, Switzerland