Foko Madagascar: It Takes A Village To Raise An Idea

10 years ago


Foko Blog Club, Foko Madagascar Flickr Photo

Joan Razafmaharo is an amazing blogger, social change activist, and woman working in Madagascar and other parts of the world.   Her background is in the field of architecture and urban planning.  She has put her knowledge to work for sustainable development on the ground in Madagascar when interning for the local municipality and focusing on improving the living conditions of the country's poorest neighborhoods.  Currently, she is a project manager (design and architecture) for Foko.

FOKO was created after the TED Global conference: “Africa the next Chapter” , when TED Fellow Andriankoto and his fellow bloggers Mialy, Lova, and Joan combined their talents and never ending activism to start the FOKO project, to help support Madagascar’s development. The eastern forest of Madagascar is populated by not only lemurs and other wildlife creatures, but also by the Malagasy people whose survival has for centuries depended on the forest.

They project has several components, including:

Foko Blog Club is teaching young people in Madagascar blogging skills (See photo above).  The project was funded by Rising Voices, the outreach arm of Global Voices. 

Marketing Women's Craft Skills helps women broaden their skills beyond farming and to take advantage of the crafts that are available in local villages which include embroidery, sewing, and weaving.  The idea is to help them create hand-crafted items that can be sold on the Web.  The project will also include training these rural women to create podcasts, videos, and blog posts.

Environmental program.  The program is lead by blogger, environmental activist, and TED Fellow Andriankoto Ratozamanana.  Madagascar has some of the highest biodiversity in the world and is home to as many 12,000 plant species. As in many parts of the world, fire is an important agricultural tool for farmers on the island, but every year as much as third of Madagascar forest's burn due to slash and burn for survival.  The Foko project is participating in the United Nation Billion Tree Campaign and will plant 1,000 trees a day over a ten-day campaign.  (You can support the effort here)

Beth Kanter, BlogHer CE for Social Change and NGOS, writes Beth's Blog.A

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