Over the last year, membership of the MIHARI network has really taken off, due to renewed interest in Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMAs). The network has now welcomed four new partners involved in local management of marine resources in Madagascar, boosting the platform for exchange of expertise and support which MIHARI offers.
MIHARI member agencies are very diverse, from those directly involved in implementation and those who offer support and materials on particular topics. In this blog, we introduce our four new partners by presenting interviews with their representatives.
PAGE / GIZ, a programme of support for environmental management, aims to improve the sustainable use of natural resources in Madagascar by strengthening capacity and support for key stakeholders in the implementation of marine and coastal resources management plans.
Eric Rajaobelina is their technical advisor on sustainable management of natural resources and he gave us this interview:
Q. How did you join MIHARI?
Eric Rajaobelina (ER): I heard about MIHARI through Blue Ventures. In discussions with MIHARI, we examined the role the GIZ could play in expanding the exchange of experience through integrating communities in the network and reinforcing the transfer of information in coastal and marine management best practise.
Q. What was your interest in integrating into the MIHARI network?
ER: It results from examining the various experiences shared by MIHARI members on the internet. We noticed that exchange activities within the network are frequent and effective and we wanted the communities we are involved in to benefit. We now have nine community management associations for the mangrove areas located in Mahajanga, namely Amboanio, Ambatomalama, Ambalatany, Tsararivotra, Boanamary, Morahariva, Tanandava, Mariarano and Ambanjabe.
Q. What benefits has integration into the network brought you?
ER: MIHARI has allowed us to be better informed on the various activities of its members, their problems and challenges, plus updates in legislation. The first participation by GIZ in the regional forum in Mahajanga in September 2015 was a huge opportunity for our communities and staff to learn about the best practices of others, but also to share our experiences with them.
Q. Do you have any recommendations with respect to the network?
ER: We recommend that the experiences shared within the network are collected into a manual or book, and shared with MIHARI members. In addition, one of the biggest challenges for LMMA communities is to improve their low access to markets, which results in lower prices for their products. A database on the producers and exporters of marine based products is available from the Ministry of Trade and worth sharing with fishing communities. And finally, we hope that the strategies and objectives of MIHARI and LMMA can help to integrate the struggle against climate change.
Q And your last word?
ER: Networks are longer lasting and better if their members share and communicate effectively! We are all encouraged to share information, our good and bad practices, our
successes and our problems, so that we work even closer and more productively together.
SAGE's mission is to integrate environmental improvement and economic development. The association’s objectives are to support local activists in terms of their own governance and their sustainable management of natural resources and of marine and terrestrial biodiversity.
We interviewed Tahiana Razafindralambo, technical manager of SAGE.
Q. Tell us, how have you got involved with MIHARI?
Tahiana Razafindralambo (TR): I met the woman who co-ordinates the network when I was working in in Antsiranana, as a technical manager for SAGE, and that’s how found out about the network and its goals. We support the local communities based in Nosy Be which manages coastal sites there (both on- and offshore). They can join the network. And we support the local communities base in Toliara, who have been members since 2013. This interview gave me the opportunity to find out about the network’s principles and issues, and motivated me to integrate the Antanamitarana, Ambatozavavy and Nosy Sakatia groups amongst the new members.
Q. What prompted you to work with MIHARI?
TR: There have been a lot of reasons for SAGE to integrate our communities into the MIHARI network. We wished them to have the chance to share experiences and above all to get help with capacity building, through forging links between different levels of the network. I am also convinced that if we integrate local communities into a network we help them to understand the challenges they face and the goals they set themselves at a more strategic level.
Q. What do you see as the concrete benefits of the network?
TR: The main advantage is sharing experiences between the LMMA’s, and being able to replicate what they have learned in their LMMA.
Q. What do you want to get out of the MIHARI network?
TR: To better meet the expectations of network members, we recommend that they develop practical tools and share Malagasy versions which local communities can use. These tools can describe real problems and experiences, and then show how to solve them and take action. It also helps to facilitate exchange visits between organizations and communities.
Q. To finish the interview, is there a particular message you’d like to send out?
TR: Yes, it’s about the design of manuals and procedures for managing marine and coastal fishing sites, things like sharing fishing calendars for different domains. Especially as we plan to integrate some of our sites as priority for protected areas.
GRET is a french NGO, which for 38 years has worked to address poverty and inequality. Its staff work on a range of projects aiming to bring about sustainable and innovative solutions relevant to inclusive development. In Madagascar, where it has been active since 1999, Gret has set up projects focusing on nutrition, agricultural development, natural resource management and access to clean drinking water and energy.
Aurelie Vogel, Gret's responsible for natural resource management project, shares her experiences with MIHARI.
Q. Why did you join MIHARI?
Aurélie Vogel (AV): We found that the network’s innovative activities and objectives correspond with our work. It allows all LMMA community managers across Madagascar to share their experiences. MIHARI also provides better visibility and strengthens the voice of coastal communities nationwide. GRET joined the network as part of its intervention in the peripheral area of the Biosphere Reserve, North Mananara, which includes the coastal area federation of 12 LMMAs, and whose creation was accompanied by WCS.
Q. In your opinion, what are the concrete benefits of the network?
AV: MIHARI facilitates access to much information on both activities developed by other members, their problems and successes in supporting LMMA managers, and on negotiations and changes in the legislative framework. The establishment of a network encompassing advocacy strengthens the consideration of local views and needs in updating the legislative framework.
Q What suggestions do you have on improvements to make the network level?
AV: We want the network to incorporate strategies which take better account of existing strong links between agriculture and fishing.
- August 2015: Azafady
Operating in several rural communities in the Anosy region, part of the Fort Dauphin area, south east Madagascar, Azafady is working on a broad agenda of project development and conservation. In parallel, their vision is to promote Madagascar’s needs internationally and establish nationwide development partnerships. Here is what Emahala Ellis, environmental project coordinator and rural development for Azafady thinks about the MIHARI network.
Q. How did you become aware of MIHARI?
Emahalala Ellis (EE): Our first collaboration with MIHARI dates from almost 8 months ago when we were invited to participate in the South Regional Forum, from 14 to 16 August 2015 in Morombe.
Q. Why did you join MIHARI?
EE: We supported the integration of the Saint Luce community into the MIHARI network because we believe that by uniting their voices, Malagasy coastal communities will have more weight in terms of technical and legislative support. Through MIHARI, Madagascar can also achieve the sustainable management of marine resources given that successful management depends on the cooperation of everyone. Furthermore, we believe that this integrated approach is an important key to fulfilling the promise of Sydney.
Q. What changes has MIHARI been able to lead on, according to the community that you support?
EE: From the varied experience they have obtained through diverse MIHARI forums, representatives of the Riaky committee of Sainte Luce began introducing a new security system. Transparent financial management has also been prioritized. They also conducted outreach activities to neighboring communities. We can also say that the learning experience for member communities of Sainte Luce encourages fishermen to have a better perception of sustainable management and conservation of their resources.
Q. What should be strengthened in the network?
EE: We think MIHARI should create more pressure and lobby the government for the development of a legislative framework which recognizes LMMA in Madagascar. We also suggest that the location for the national forum is not too far away because LMMA’s with no support from organizations might have difficulties in attending these events.
Q. Do you have any further message or just a final comment?
EE: We are still far from reaching our final objectives and communities need to learn from each other to allow them to improve their self-management. Thank you to the MIHARI network. It's a way of channelling the sharing of messages and experiences between communities of fishermen in Madagascar.
Thank you to our four parties for having shared their views on the MIHARI network. The door of the network is always wide open to welcome supporting organizations involved in the local management of marine resources.
Do not hesitate to contact us.