SOS MADAGASCAR: SECOND UPDATE – more news

It’s a week since I last posted an update on the crowdfunding campaign to raise money to enable Patrick Andrianantenaina to start producing eco-charcoal and improved stoves as a small-scale commercial business with the exciting potential to grow and spread across Madagascar, providing employment and a cheaper, eco-friendly way of cooking.  This, in turn, will have the knock-on effect of reducing the alarming rate of deforestation (because of the need for firewood and charcoal-making) and slow down the decline of Madagascar’s unique nature and wildlife, much of which is on the brink of extinction.

Meanwhile, Madagascar is waiting for its fifth extreme weather event in just five weeks. Tropical Cyclone Emnati is forecast to reach Madagascar this evening, Tuesday, 22 February. A red alert has been issued and the Associated Press has reported that it is feared that “Cyclone Emnati will be a stronger storm than the three that have left nearly 200 people dead this cyclone season.” Aid workers are exhausted and under-resourced. There hasn’t been any time to recover between the constant onslaught.

The bad news is that “The UN weather agency said 8 to 12 more cyclones are expected in Madagascar and the southern African region by the time the cyclone season ends in May. The agency had previously warned of more intense “high-impact tropical cyclones, coastal flooding and intense rainfall linked to climate change.

The shameful fact is that those of us who live in developed countries are responsible for the majority of emissions causing climate change, whilst Madagascar (and many other African countries) have the lowest emission rates and yet suffer from the worst effects of global climate change, made worse because they don’t have the resources and resilience to cope with major climate disasters.

 

GOOD NEWS
At least there is some good news to share concerning Patrick’s eco-cooking project.
We have now raised over £2,000! In fact, only £408 is still needed to reach the initial target of £2,500. Thank you very much to everyone who has helped by donating and sharing the links.

But it’s so hard to keep up the momentum – we haven’t had any donations for a week now, so I hope we aren’t going to get stuck at £2,092! Please help us by continuing to share the link for the crowdfunding page and/or Sarah’s video.

 

IMPORTANT PROGRESS MADE

Last week, thanks to modern technology, we were able to have a truly international four-way Zoom meeting with Patrick in Antsirabe (Madagascar), me in Loughborough (England), Sarah Fencott in Almere (Netherlands) and Laura Tufis, who is Romanian, in Utrecht (Netherlands)! We were also able to briefly meet and greet Patrick’s wife, Claudia, and his daughter, Vanessa.

 

We are very grateful to Sarah and Laura for giving their professional services and expertise for free to help Patrick set up a successful business. In fact, it was Sarah who initially set up the crowdfunding page for us. I am sure their involvement will give those of you who have donated in good faith both assurance and confidence that your gifts will be used to the best advantage.

 

This is what Sarah has written about her involvement:
This is the kind of project that gives me goosebumps. As a sustainability writer, I learn about all sorts of environmental and social programmes, either through the CSR efforts of companies that I write for, or through the non-profit organisations I work with. Every now and then I have the chance to become much more involved in the projects, working with the people who drive them forward and those directly impacted by them, and this is where I hope to put my experience to the best use to help Patrick.

It’s projects like this, sparked from an idea, a dream of one person to do things differently, to create change from a practical and realistic perspective, based entirely on the needs of the local community and environment, that hold so much potential.

It’s fantastic to be in direct contact with Patrick who has worked so hard to develop his spark of an idea into a viable business, and of course Margaret who has been supporting him with her own ideas for developing the products and driving the fundraising campaign. Now that we also have Laura on board, an experienced marketer for social and environmental causes, and Vanessa, Patrick’s daughter who recently graduated with a Master’s degree in Finance and Marketing, we can really ramp up our efforts, working together to develop a sustainable business strategy and outreach campaign that fits Patrick’s ultimate dream of saving the local habitats to protect some of Madagascar’s critically endangered species. I’m really excited to walk this journey with you all!

Sarah has set up her own business,The Write Impact, to produce “creative copy and precision edits for organisations that put sustainability first”. 

 

And this is what Laura has written about her involvement with Patrick’s project:
I’m thrilled and grateful to start working with Patrick, Vanessa, Margaret and Sarah on Patrick’s brilliant project – a sustainable business aiming to create impact on so many levels: health, livelihoods, climate, environment and wildlife. As an impact-first marketer, I support socially and environmentally-focused organisations in developing marketing strategies that drive action for inclusive, positive change. Having previously been involved in the promotion of several clean cookstove projects for an international NGO, I had the opportunity to gain an insight into the sector and am now excited to help strategize outreach and growth ideas that fit Patrick’s goals.

For this process, we discussed using the Cause Canvas, a strategy framework I have designed as a result of my work with impact-driven organisations over the past 10+ years. The Cause Canvas is aimed at socially and environmentally-focused organisations that are either crafting their strategies from the ground up or re-positioning themselves for the future. It guides social entrepreneurs through a series of questions that are key in growing a cause – all the while ensuring that all actions stay anchored in the higher values-based goal that kick-started the cause in the first place. Looking forward to our work together!

Laura Tufis has also set up her own business, The Marketing Palette. “Let’s paint a different picture: Strategic marketing and digital processes for organisations driving sustainable change.”

 

Supporting Patrick’s project is one way in which those of us living in developed countries can help mitigate the frightening impact our lifestyle over generations is having in countries like Madagascar.

For my friends in Uganda, who are wondering if I have given up on Uganda to focus on Madagascar instead – don’t worry! My first love is still Uganda – but who knows when it will be safe for me to travel to Uganda again to see you all. Two and a half years without visiting is the longest gap for 35 years!

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