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Speaking up for change in Antsahampano village through mangrove conservation.
This is the final piece in a four-part series on the voices of young community leaders from Madagascar. Joséphine Besonoa, the community mangrove management association (VOI) technician, speaks on how communication is a trigger for her and for community conservation.
Josephine, Landry, Yolande and Gorettie are young leaders who live in Tsimipaika Bay in northwest Madagascar and are part of youth groups that provide training on environmental and community health. They then share what they learn about sustainable management of fisheries and mangroves with other community members, especially fellow youth, women, and small-scale fishers.
Joséphine BESONOA, 23 years old, Antsahampano village, community conservation technician
The most important thing I learned in the youth group was to talk to people and give speeches. I got so used to approaching people that it became easy, and today I enjoy speaking and dealing with people in the community.
I am currently a technician in my village’s community mangrove management association (VOI). I go to meetings where I am keen to share my ideas and do the minutes for decisions made. I am a mediator when differences of opinion arise, and I participate in VOI activities such as mangrove patrols and security missions. I applied for this job because I wanted to do it, but my youth group experiences gave me the courage and skills to carry it out.
I recently travelled two hours from my village to speak about climate change at the chamber of commerce in Nosy Be. It was our first time doing an awareness-raising activity in a town. I spoke in front of all the district, or fokontany chiefs, and it went so well! I felt proud to be able to talk in front of these local authority representatives.
Nowadays, people in our village are catching smaller fish, and their fishing income is no longer enough to support their families. My dream for the community is that the fish return in abundance, the old seaport reopens, and the road is fixed. We need to reforest the mangroves and protect them so that there are as many fish as there were before.
By Felantsoa Ainamahafaly, National Technical Advisor for Education