Login  |  Register  |  Search

Dream Big

Paving the way to a better future.

Susie McGuire - Mon Jul 03, 2017 @ 05:02AM
Comments: 49


"Volunteering with Conservation Fusion in the Kianjavato Commune was a wonderful and exciting experience..." 

"Throughout this opportunity, I had the honor of working with Lalaina.Working with and getting to know Lalaina is truly one of the memories I cherish the most about my time in Madagascar. She always listened to, interacted with, and took care of me, which allowed me to feel comfortable and safe during my time there. Furthermore, she is one of the most hard-working and passionate women I’ve ever been fortunate enough to meet which inspired and motivated me to put the same energy and love into the planned projects/activities during my visit—and there was a lot of activities and projects! " added Thilini

Each day at Kianjavato was unique, but, generally, Lalaina and I would travel to two or more schools doing one of two things: distributing coloring books or evaluating students who had previously received coloring books. The children at these schools were unlike any group of kids I have ever worked with. They were amazing! Walking into the classroom, I could immediately understand one thing—they were here to learn. Everyone was polite, receptive and willing to participate.

During all these school visits and evaluations, a project I designed on the oxygen cycle was incorporated into the lesson. In each class, the lesson would begin with me introducing myself in English and Lalaina translating for me in Malagasy, as she would do for the entirety of the presentation and art project. Afterwards, I would retire from the front and roam around the classroom taking pictures of the enraptured children as Lalaina spoke. My favorite part of this was taking a picture of a child then unwrapping the camera from my neck and handing it to them so they can see the photo of themselves. Whenever I did this, they would undoubtedly scrunch up their shoulders and neck, offer me a shy smile, proceed to burst out in giggles and then peer a little closer for better examination. I found this technique to be a great way connect to the children I was working with. Unfortunately, I do not speak Malagasy and so it is difficult for me to form relationships with the kids and some of the adults that I am working in the way that I so badly wish to do. Throughout my experience, I realized more and more the importance of small act such as these. Enthusiastically shaking people’s hands, making goofy faces, laughing a lot or even just smiling warmly can be powerful because it presents you as someone who is kind, happy, and approachable even if you have nothing to say when they approach you. After a while, the most of the children knew my name and they would wave and smile at me whenever they saw me around. Having those connections made me feel like I was not someone who was taking photos and observing an amazing place, but like I was actually a part of the experience.

Forming connections with people in Kianjavato transcends my work with children. Throughout my time in the field, I was offered plentiful opportunities to speak to and engage with others. Meal times were a consistent and plentiful opportunity to spend time with people. Generally, I ate lunch with Lalaina and the other permanent members of the MBP site and breakfast and dinner with the six other volunteers on the site who worked for MBP. Everyone who worked at MBP was lovely—they were friendly and inclusive. In addition, I had a great time spending time with the other volunteers who were hilarious and super nice. Furthermore, there were always community activities, ceremonies, parties, and other events going on throughout my time there which that I was never lonely nor bored!

Conservation Fusion Team takes this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude and thanks for Thilini Weerakkody for her volunteering time with us making a difference in her own ways in the works we do. A lot of love.






Comments: 49
Conservation Fusion Team - Mon May 29, 2017 @ 09:05AM
Comments: 35


We are excited to announce that Conservation Fusion (CF) is a recent Disney Conservation Fund grant recipient, selected for our work to study wildlife, protect habitats and implement community conservation and education programs in Madagascar. Today, we would like to share some insights on our reforestation efforts in the eastern rainforests of Kianjavato. We are all about partnerships, and therefore, we work with the scientific team initiating the tree planting efforts and the local forest restoration experts through our partnership with the Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership.

The island of Madagascar is big in many ways! First, it is the fourth largest island in the world, and second, it has experienced enormous loss in regards to the original forest cover, with more than 80% of the forest loss in the past 30 years, equating less than 10% of its forests remaining.Madagascar is also famous for it’s unique biodiversity, with 8 of every ten plants and animals found there occurring nowhere else on earth! The most well-known creatures on the island are lemurs, ranging from the mouse lemur, the size of a hamster; all the way to an Indri, about the size of a toddler!Today, there are over 111 different species of lemurs that call the shrinking forests their home. One special place to find lemurs is in the eastern rainforests of Kianjavato. Kianjavato hosts 8 species of lemurs, all of which are facing threats of extinction, according to their classification within the IUCN red list. Sadly, this rapid of loss of fauna and flora is even worsened by the poverty where more than 70% of Madagascar’s population (WorldBank report 2016) lives under the poverty line.


As an environmental educational organization, reversing these threats is challenging and the crucial question is; “how can we ensure protection and conservation of forests and lemurs whileensuring at the same time sustainable livelihoods for the local communities that are at the forefront of facing environmental degradation and can also benefit from well-conserved and restored forest?”

In partnership with the Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership and with support from the Disney Conservation Fund, Conservation Fusion launched an innovative reforestation program to actively engage local communities in the restoration of the forests; everyone takes part, ranging from local women organizations, elders, students, teachers, guides, authority representations. Each year, our school partners in the community of Kianjavato (up to now there are 12) participate in tree planting events with more than 3,500 trees planted each day.The follow up and care of the planted seedlings are ensured by Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership’s staff, who are all from the local Kianjavato community.



For years now, thereforestation program has become a famous phraseused by the local Kianjavato community. They are becoming more and more aware of the importance of planting trees, restoring the environment and protecting local wildlife and plants. The people are learning that their participation in tree planting events is highly linked, not only to save and protect lemurs’ habitats, but importantly benefitting themselves, their children, and future generations. With key environmental messages printed on brochures designed by the Conservation Fusion communication team, students become our voices for conservation. They are expanding what they have learned and gained during our various school education programs within their own networks on the importance of reforestation. They shared joyfully and proudly what they learn and what they did during tree planting events. Those kids, even as little as they are in the community chain, are the most impactful agents that lead tangible changes for themselves and the forests. They learn that lemurs are seeds dispersers meaning that helping to save and protect lemurs habitats also means providing a greener future, providing more clean air, providing more medicines, providing more foods, protecting soils from erosion... and at the end of the day we all win by planting trees.


Thanks to the Disney Conservation Fund we are helping to reverse the decline of wildlife and also help local communities to thrive in putting at the heart of our actions the roles of young generations.


Comments: 35
Susie McGuire - Wed Apr 26, 2017 @ 03:57AM
Comments: 26



Conservation Fusion has been awarded a grant from the Disney Conservation Fund as a part of the Fund’s focus on reversing the decline of threatened wildlife around the world. The conservation grant recognizes our “Linking Lemurs and Living” program, which focuses on reforestation to increase lemur habitat and provide income and resources to the communities who share the forests with lemurs and other wildlife.

Lemurs are a diverse group of over 111 different species of primates. These unique primates are prosimians, or pre-monkeys, found only on the island of Madagascar and known locally as “Varika” or “Gidro”. The “Linking Lemurs and Living” program benefits both lemurs and people, and also promotes the “One Health” philosophy; that clean, healthy environments create thriving, healthy wildlife and lemur populations resulting in multiple benefits to people, animals and the environment. 

Support from the Disney Conservation Fund allowed us to launch environmental education programs from the ground up, engaging community leaders and children to enhance awareness and behavioral change amongst local communities. Our programs promote action and we encourage people to take on ownership and leadership roles in protecting the forests and therefore ensuring sustainable livelihoods for populations.

 

Among projects funded under the Disney Conservation Fund grant are reforestation, school educational programs, eco-adventures to visit National Parks and conservation camps. With support from Disney, we also initiated a community “One Health” clean up and art project. Stay tuned, in our upcoming blogs we will highlight and share the results of these projects with you.

school educational programs

 


Clean-up projects


Teachers workshops


Movie nights for community mobilization

movie nights

Since its inception in 1995, the Disney Conservation Fund (DCF) has granted more than $65 million to projects that help protect the planet and animals in 115 countries around the world. The DCF is committed to protecting the planet by collaborating with leading nonprofit organizations working to Reverse the Decline of at-risk wildlife and Increase the Time kids spend in nature to inspire a lifelong love of nature in young people.



Learn more about the Disney Conservation Fund and its Reverse the Decline, Increase the Time initiative by visiting disney.com/conservation.

Comments: 26
Conservation Fusion Team - Wed Apr 19, 2017 @ 08:51AM
Comments: 56

We are excited to announce that CONSERVATION FUSION is a recent Disney Conservation Fund grant recipient, selected for our work to study wildlife, protect habitats and implement community conservation and education programs in the rainforest of Kianjavato Madagascar.

This video is about our Trip to Madagascar National Park of Ranomafana connecting kids, teachers, lemurs guides with nature and Madagascar biodiversity.


Comments: 56
Comments: 70

How do we define wealth and poverty? Is it the number of shoes we own? The amount of money in the bank? TEDxUNO speaker Susie Louis shares her experiences in Madagascar, a country where these definitions become complex. 


Susie Louis is the Founder and Director of Conservation Fusion, an international NGO with a mission to: Educate to build and strengthen our World. Her work spans the globe with a focus on the island of Madagascar. Susie has launched multiple community based education programs and at four sites in rural Madagascar and in Senegal. The Conservation Fusion team is exploring new ways to educate, empowering communities through hands on, inquiry-based education resulting in action to promote the balance between people and endangered species and ecosystems.

In 2014, she constructed the Dream School, followed by a teacher’s quarters, school library, lunch program and girls club. Passionate about teamwork and collaborative efforts, her body of work is the result of connections with diverse partners to include zoos, universities, non-profits, schools, engineers and government agencies to promote solutions to conservation challenges.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community .



Comments: 70
Conservation Fusion Team - Wed Mar 08, 2017 @ 08:00AM
Comments: 63

WOMEN

BoldForChange

We do not celebrate only women today we do celebrate them every day because SHE is BOLD FOR CHANGE , SHE inspires changes, SHE leads grassroots movement for change, SHE is permanently the one facing daily challenges and overcomes them, SHE is an everyday HERO....SHE is the one that takes frontline actions for conservation and protection, SHE is the one that sets the path to take charge of her today`s life and her future and mainly the future of the next generation, SHE is kind and passionate and always thrives for the best, SHE stands for what is worthwhile and just and never gives up.... and SHE is SHE... a woman

These are words we put in writing to celebrate a lot of amazing and inspiring women we met in our personal lives and along our change journey for environment protection and conservation. We have great life and change experiences supported by amazing partners which majority is made up by great and BOLD women leaders.

Each one of us - with women, men and non-binary people joining forces - can be a leader within our own spheres of influence by taking bold pragmatic action to accelerate gender parity. Through purposeful collaboration, we can help women advance and unleash the limitless potential offered to economies the world over.

CF team

Pictures of our journey with bold women

Our executive director discussing with local woman leader from Andavakoera



Single mothers` club... they are the ones that participate actively in the reforestation program initiated by our partner Madagascar Biodiversity Program



 A local Women associations in the northern part of Madagascar active in the environment protection


Women association in the region of Vatovavy Fitovinany working alongside with us



our amazing local partners


DSC_0351.JPG


DSC_0279.JPG

DSC_0272.JPG

DSC_0395.JPG

One our local partners leading capacity building presentations on lemurs and conservation


Aimee, Director of primary school Ambohitsara and president of KENDRI a teachers` association awarded the Disney Conservation Hero


Lalaina one of our Conservation team awared a Disney Hero Conservation award 2016

Happy International Women`s day and remember #BeBoldForChange




Comments: 63
Susie McGuire - Mon Mar 06, 2017 @ 07:46AM
Comments: 25

Here is a video made by Blank ParC Zoo in which Conservation Fusion is featured and we are proud to be supported by an amazing partner

THANK YOU

Comments: 25
Susie McGuire - Tue Feb 28, 2017 @ 12:46AM
Comments: 30

All through the year Conservation Fusion joined in force its partner Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership in community mobilization and environmental educational programs in Madagascar. Tree planting events are part of the reforestation program initiated by Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership and they are happening every day in the field and schools are taking active part of it.

 

Madagascar has lost more than 90% of its forests due to a growing population, agricultural practices and resource extraction: land clearing to grow food and cash crops, and to graze cattle, reliance on charcoal and wood as fuel for cooking, harvest of woods for export...this activity is destructive to the long-term environment and leaves behind a lot of fragmented forests that are homes for lemurs, insects, carnivores, flora.... these species cannot be found elsewhere in the world.Deforestation combined with weathering and naturally occurring soil conditions has resulted in catastrophic soil erosion and environmental degradation, and lack of habitat for these indigenous species.

Reforestation is critical to the environment, for our biodiversity and our lives. For years Conservation Fusion has permanently worked in field within the grassroots community, educating and empowering them to inspire the sense of ownership and thus enhancing them to take leadership roles in protecting the forests for common and shared benefits among all people. We believed that education starting from the grassroots level is key to build a sustainable and strong foundation for biodiversity conservation. Every year more than 20 schools are now taking part in the tree planting events - planting more than 3500 trees a day which are tracked with GPS by Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership field team.


Two years ago, students from the primary school of Kianjavato planted trees in Kianjavato hills to restore the forest, but recently in this new year 2017, the area was burnt and trees planted by students there were all gone... hearing this news, the students were saddened because all the efforts they made were gone as well. In February when we started the reforestation program for schools, they decided they want to come back to the same place to plant trees again because they are now aware of the importance of tree planting and what tree planting can benefit both the community and the forest restoration at large scale. They planted more than 5000 trees a day and will again come back for many other tree plantings throughout this year.



This awareness raising and ownership of actions portrayed by those children from primary school is hope itself in the fight against environment destruction and not only does it give hope but those children are HOPE for a better and greener future. They are not dreaming anymore for a healthy and greener environment, they are actually acting for it.


Inspired by hope,

Conservation Fusion Team

Comments: 30
Susie McGuire - Thu Aug 11, 2016 @ 07:40AM
Comments: 157

Empowering local actors through teachers`workshop with the support of SOS - Save Our Species in collaboration with Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership

Our main approach to environmental education prioritizes lemurs protection and conservation which is anchored to the belief that by empowering and engaging local actors (teachers, students, village elders, decision makers, young people... the whole community) we are ensuring effectiveness and impact for the sustainability of our work.It is important because we can see how eager local actors are in developing their skills and capacities. Most of those teachers did not have the required skills, information and resources how to engage themselves, their students, their communities in protecting and saving lemurs in Madagascar from potential extinction without bold action for conservation. Many of them did not have the basic knowledge about lemurs representing one of Madagascar unique biodiversity hotspot. So this event allowed us to determine that local actors want to be involved in the process of environment protection and lemur conservation. Moreover, this is important because it is already a big step in enhancing ownership and commitment from local partners. We invest in local partners such as teachers because they are the ones that are in touch with students. As Madagascar’s future conservation leaders, the students need education and guidance now to develop a passion and skill set for protection of the lemurs. Teachers have the capacity to reach a wider part of their communities and can fill the role to pass along key messages and lead bold actions that promote forest, lemurs and environment protection.

the workshop allowed us to reach more than 100 teachers from different areas in Kianjavato. During the workshop we witnessed their eagerness, activism, dynamism... and importantly the will to fully act as partners for lemurs conservation. As a platform for development, teachers during group works had the opportunity to share with us their future plan once back in their respective communities to apply what they gained during the training. The workshop was just a beginning of unlocking opportunities for them to be better and key actors in saving lemurs of Madagascar. The more we can reach out many local actors the more the impact in saving lemurs are.







Comments: 157
Susie McGuire - Thu Aug 11, 2016 @ 07:15AM
Comments: 43

~Meeting the President of Madagascar~

Thanks to the support of SOS - Save Our Species in collaboration of Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership Conservation Fusion through interactives programs and projects was able to empower, educate and promote local ownership and leadership amongs students, village elders, decisions makers, local communities.... in protecting lemurs, forest, plants, animals... the environment. During the celebration of the World Environment Day , children advocate for the protection and conservation of the environment because they are the voices of the forest, the voices for the future. Madagascar traditionally celebrates World Environment Day annually on June 5th to raise global awareness to take positive environmental action protecting nature and the planet earth. This year, the President of Madagascar, Mr. Hery Rajaonarimampianina celebrated in Manakara with the school mascots from Kianjavato created by Conservation Fusion. Not only local partners were able to advocate on a large scale reaching high numbers of decisions makers as the Ministry of the Environment, the mayors in the region of Vatovavy and senators but importantly the President of Madagascar listened to their aspirations for a healthier Madagascar and planet, moreover the president even joined them in pledging to protect and conserve the environment.

For further information on SOS - Save Our Species visit their website http://www.sospecies.org/

Enjoy the video



Comments: 43