Empowering Malagasy Women to Embrace Conservation and Entrepreneurship

Posted on Posted in Africa, Capacity Building, Conservation, Madagascar

“Empowering People” propels LVDI International’s motto. For, if the people are not empowered, “Saving Wildlife”, the second half of our motto will not happen. Our goal is to help end extreme poverty in rural Madagascar by providing people the wherewithal to stimulate vibrant local entrepreneurship and innovation. Our methods are simple and cost-effective. First we invite small groups of women from villages around the Maromizaha Protected Area to brainstorm business ideas. They discuss and agree on the paths that are most likely to succeed, and then we help these novice entrepreneurs with a business plan and seed capital in the form of a micro-grant. We follow up with on-going mentoring and management training, while integrating conservation knowledge to ensure that the new business activities promote environmental best practices. At Maromizaha the local women showed us how they can embrace conservation and their new found entrepreneurial spirit, by producing baskets and aprons featuring embroidered lemurs. Their next venture, using our micro-grant, will be to produce dolls for sale to tourists. Most of the women say they will use the money they earn to pay for schooling for their children. Beyond their ingenuity, the pride in these women’s faces makes our small investment all the more important.


LVDI International provided skeins of embroidery floss for Maromizaha women (photo © LVDI International)


“Voilà!” Florentine wearing her embroidered apron featuring an indri embracing Madagascar (photo © LVDI International)

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