A new ecovillage built with sustainable and locally sourced material in Madagascar hopes to inspire other local initiatives to preserve and recreate the biodiversity of the country. Sharon Reich reports.
This small village could become a model for environmental living. Located just 26 kilometers from Madagascar's capital, Talata Volonondry is being transformed into an eco village. The idea is that by using local, natural resources to build dwellings and help with energy and farming, the community will also preserve and recreate biodiversity in the region. Behind the initiative is Malagasy entrepreneur Andry Andrianjafy. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ANDRY ANDRIANJAFY, FOUNDER OF TALATA VOLONONDRY ECO VILLAGE SAYING: "We have some families that we have here, we train and we try to improve their livelihood their future by helping them to envision something different from what they usually do." Most of the villagers are farmers. So as part of the initiative, they are being trained in new methods to help increase their agriculture and livestock output. They are also able to harvest food all year around now thanks to a new irrigation system that uses pipes to pull water from the source directly into the village. (SOUNDBITE) (Malagasy) RACELESTIN, A FARMER, SAYING: "I farm prawns because it's less demanding now, I have water here, so I don't need to put too much work in it. We get water from the source through the pipe, which is shared by the community." In an effort to help preserve water, the community also introduced dry toilets. Built with local materials, these are easy to put up, while improving sanitation and providing organic fertilizer for land where livestock feed. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ANDRY ANDRIANJAFY, FOUNDER OF TALATA VOLONONDRY ECO VILLAGE SAYING: "This system, manure is free, it is just human waste mixed with some wood parts and there is no bad smell in the surrounding. These are the advantages of this dry toilet." In the future, Andrianjafy and the rest of the community hope to establish an eco-tourism initiative to fund schools and health clinics. And take Madagascar one step closer to achieving its Sustainable Development Goals.