Building a home for people and biodiversity in Mangabe Reserve, eastern Madagascar

Julie Hanta Razafimanahaka

Mangabe Reserve was created in 2015 primarily to provide an oasis for the Critically Endangered golden mantella frog Mantella aurantiaca and the lemurs Indri indri and Propithecus diadema. The sustainability of the Reserve depends entirely on the capacity of the local communities to manage it. This is made challenging by the poor education level of the population and the difficult access to the villages. Over the past years, we have been bringing technicians from the towns to inform and train community members. It is now time to make this knowledge locally available so that youths who are better educated can access and use them as needed. Our aim is to establish an information centre at each of the ten villages within Mangabe Reserve by 2030. In 2020-21, we will start this initiative in Mangabe village. At the centre, all community members will be able to access documents about the Reserve, the existing regulations, improved farming techniques, financial management, personal development, health, etc. Monthly awareness and training events will be organised there too. This project, funded by the Kate Stokes Memorial Award, will contribute to reducing annual forest cover loss from 555ha in 2015-18 to 250ha by 2030.

Project update: In June 2021, construction of an information centre started for local people to learn about nature and other aspects of life in Mangabe village. The building was completed in September 2021 and the team is now waiting for the equipment for the centre to be delivered in February 2022.
The Kate Stokes Memorial Award helped Madagasikara Voakajy secure additional funding to run educational events at the information centre in 2022, improve the work planned in Mangabe village and build two new centres at two other villages.

Team leader Julie Razafimanahaka also won the Tusk Award for Conservation in Africa 2021.