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Marie Gorettie; my public commitment to the environment as a youth leader.
This post is the first of a four-part series featuring young leaders in Madagascar who are using their voices to protect their communities and the marine environment.
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.
Marie Gorettie DIGNANASY, 18 years old, Antsahampano village, high school student
When I was a child, mangrove forests around the village were sparse because trees were cut down to make charcoal. The community came together to replant the trees, and now mangrove forests are coming back.
My community puts a lot of effort into planting trees, and I participate whenever I can. Many people still don’t know how important mangroves are to marine life and people’s livelihood. I am lucky to have been trained through the youth group, and so share what I know about the vital importance of these ecosystems with fellow young people and my community.
Two years ago I travelled from my village to the capital of my country Antananarivo to deliver a TEDx presentation where I talked about the state of mangrove forests, how our survival depends on the survival of the forests, and proposed solutions to protect them.
Following this talk, UNICEF asked me to make a video about how my community established its own mangrove and fisheries management association (VOI) to manage mangroves sustainably. Many people have seen this video, and it makes me happy when people still approach me to talk about it and encourage me to keep going with this work. What I like about this work is growing through my experiences and learning to be brave, take on responsibilities, and keep motivated.
By Felantsoa Ainamahafaly, National Technical Advisor for Education