Since October of 2017, Vola Ramahery is an essential member of the Madagascar Project Team. The benefits of being on-site, knowing the local conditions and important contacts ensure a more targeted project progress and Vola’s sunny spirit boost the credibility and reputation of NEMACO.
Vola, where are you from in Madagascar, what language do you speak and what is your family structure like?
I am from Antananarivo, the capital city of Madagascar. I speak Malagasy, our native language, and use French and English for work. I am the mother of two boys: Harantsoa, meaning nice corals, is 7 and Riaka, meaning ocean, is 3 and a half.
What do you cherish about your country?
I am passionate about nature conservation and particularly the sustainable use of marine and coastal resources. I love living on an island (a quite big one), which is home to a multitude of natural wonders. I love the people in the countryside, so generous with their smiles and the little things that they have. I love the wisdom of our ancestors that will never age.
What is the life like in the fishing villages where the NEXUS Centers are located?
The majority of people, that is about 90%, are fishers. Often, they only rely on fishing for their livelihoods. In many villages, it is difficult or even impossible to access basic amenities such as drinking water, electricity, health and education. The local population is highly vulnerable to natural disasters such as droughts and cyclones as they have only one source of income that can be badly affected by the weather. Most of the time, the local population in southwestern Madagascar relies on humanitarian aid for food.
What was your path to become Local Project Coordinator for the NEMACO Project in Madagascar?
I studied Biology and Coastal Zone Management. I have been working in marine conservation and fisheries management for 11 years, mainly managing and implementing conservation projects. I worked with WWF Madagascar in Toliara from 2007 until 2012, setting up a marine protected area and locally managed marine areas. I was informed by a colleague from WWF Switzerland about the NEMACO Project. I was very keen to get involved to pursue my interest to work on sustainable business models linked to conservation.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Working to make the living conditions of the local population better while at the same time encouraging sustainable fishing.
What do you want to achieve and what challenges do you want to overcome working for NEMACO?
I am pushing to establish NEMACO as a reliable business partner for fishers, NGOs and private companies, providing basic services to rural areas in a sustainable way and contributing to local and regional development. Another aim is to work directly with the fishers, support their training and build their capacity in rural entrepreneurship.
NEMACO is a pioneering concept in Madagascar and the biggest challenge is to make it profitable in an area where the community has quite low purchasing power.
Source: nexus ch