Adrian Rutishauser recently returned from a trip to Madagascar to visit the NEMACO project site south of Tulear and brought exciting news and updates on advancements and small success stories with him. We want to share these with you to give you an idea of our activities and ongoing plans in Madagascar.
The five water stations that we took over from the WWF project are being whipped into shape so that soon all of them are up and running flawlessly again as five proud NEXUS Centers. The technician of Trunz Water Systems is currently visiting all stations to replace malfunctioning and broken parts with new spare parts. In no less than 2 weeks, all stations should be in operation and producing safe drinking water for the local population.
These pictures show impressions from the NEXUS Center in Besambay where the drinking water service enjoys wide popularity.
These five NEXUS Centers and an additional one in Ambohibola have been expanded this past fall with buildings, technologies and equipment to support the small-scale fishing activities that define the lives of the local population. Construction has finished, the fish tubs are ready (that is where the marine goods can be stored and transported in) – now we are only waiting for the ice machines and the truck to arrive. Once the infrastructure and machines are in place, NEMACO has the logistics ready and set up to purchase, cold store, treat and transport the fresh fisheries goods to the market in Tulear.
This is the NEXUS Center in Befasy and the toilet located a few steps away from the main NEXUS building.
We are also excited that our NEMACO team is growing and equipped with increasing expertise. Our management team is now supported by our new CFO, Rahelinirina Harinavalona – short Nirina (more information in the paragraph below). NEMACO further hired drivers to navigate the new truck through the sandy paths of the region and will employ up to 20 operators once all Centers are in operation. Every NEXUS Center creates at least four direct jobs: two people are responsible for the water operations and two for the fish. The fish operator positions are mainly filled by women and all operators are local villagers.
Meet Nirina, NEMACO CFO
“I am from Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, am married and have three children, two girls and a boy. I studied accounting and administration at the Institut National des Sciences Comptables et de l’Administration d’Entreprise (INSCAE).
I worked for Airtel Madagascar for many years. First as an intern for six months, then I was hired as an accountant for three years and then promoted to regional accountant, i.e. administrative and financial manager of the Antananarivo region.
After this long time at Airtel, I needed a break to think about the rest of my professional career. One day I was informed about the open position of Administrative and Financial Manager for NEMACO and applied because my career to date is very strongly reflected in this position. Above all, however, I was inspired by the idea of being able to contribute to the further development of NEMACO with the many years of experience I had previously gained at a large company. I was very happy when I was selected for the position.
What I like most about my new job is that it is a brand new company, so I can put all my experience and skills to work for its success.
My major challenges as well as goals for the company are first and foremost good financial management, which I specialize in and which is the basis for NEMACO’s progress and the improvement of the company’s performance. We are a social enterprise, but we also strive to be in the black. Only then can we reach out triple bottom line aims in the long run.”
Haja, our new driver
His full name is Andriamihaja Rakotomalala – but everyone calls him Haja. Haja’s parents are from the Highlands (Antananarivo area), but he was born and grew up in Tulear. Before, Haja worked for the WWF Tulear staff, that is where he learned about NEMACO. He was interested in applying to become a NEMACO driver because the position promises more security and a stable salary. But most of all, Haja enjoys working in rural villages and he knows the coastal villages and sandy routes of southern Tulear extremely well.
With our NEMACO 4×4 car, Haja transports drinking water filled at the NEXUS Centers to sell to the hotels in Anakao and surrounding villages. The only other drinking water source is Tulear – but our NEXUS Centers are located much closer and easier to reach. For the hotels we can charge higher prices for the drinking water than in the rural villages; this second sales branch is a supportive source of income for us.
Plans for NEMACO
Beyond the progress of our fishing activities, NEMACO is already evaluating certain expansion options for the concept. Adrian visited Ambohimahavelo, a farming village located one hour from Tulear along the river. The land is fertile and the inhabitants grow a diversity of goods, among others a plant typical for the region and used in a lot of local dishes called brède mafane, which (according to Wikipedia) can be translated to leaf good to eat.
The WWF is supporting this village with agricultural know-how. If their crop yield could be increased, the quality secured and a market access established, these products can achieve a higher value on the market in Tulear. If NEMACO can expand its activities to also include developing rural farming villages, this would reduce the migration to the coast, decrease the pressure on the fragile fishing grounds, give families a stable income opportunity and contribute to the protection of forests from being burnt down — if NEMACO manages to educate the inhabitants on harmful farming approaches.
We will continue to explore the different possibilities and share our progress with you. Let us know what you think about our activities and approach to developing rural communities.
Source: nexus ch