C3 Internship Review – Fiona Simmance – Madagascar 2011
I undertook a placement with C3 in order to get more experience of environmental issues in developing countries, gain an understanding of the socio-economic status of communities and develop skills in marine resource management and ecological surveying. Working with C3 enabled me to live within small isolated communities where I experienced and practiced these at first hand.
I learned and followed local cultures and traditions, and practiced the way of life of communities; from waking up before the sun, collecting water from a far river or well, washing in a river to cooking and cleaning. These were all governed by certain traditions or ‘fadys’ which tended to be good hygiene practices; such as collecting water upstream of a river and washing downstream.
The most memorable experience was working and living in the remote islands of the Sahamalaza-Radema archipelago that is a protected area. I learnt the value of socio-economic surveys as a tool to identify the level of threats of the environment, the effectiveness of management strategies and the status of livelihoods. I was particularly touched by the warm and welcoming people of Nosy Valiha and witnessing the issues they faced in regards to water supply and marine resource availability has been the most valuable and moving experience that I will take away with me in my career and life.
C3 is a small NGO which is currently developing in Madagascar. The work in the Madagascar office is run by Field Leaders who are educated in, and have experience in, marine science. They provide training in and conduct the field surveys. C3 Lead Scientists are based in their HQ
, as well as Antananarivo, Madagascar, who governs the projects, the science, publications and the conduct or co-ordination of data analysis.
C3 provided me with the opportunity to work in remote locations and with communities, and provided training in habitat and socio-economic surveying techniques. I was involved with C3’s socio-economic and turtle projects, as well as the Sahamalaza project which included both socio-economic and ecological methods. I was given responsibility for the Sahamalaza project and conducted data analysis and report writing which enabled me to independently strengthen my analytical and ecological skills.
I have put a lot into my work here and have therefore taken a lot out; independently and from C3. My Madagascar work and experience has been worthwhile for me, with the most valuable experience being able to live with the warm Malagasy communities in the Sahamalaza-Radema archipelago and understanding livelihoods and marine resource use in developing countries.