Learning from a week in Comoros
To implement the project ‘Transforming civil society’s impact in hotspot conservation’ (funded by CEPF), I have been in Anjouan, Comoros on 03rd – 09th February 2019. This is my first time in Comoros and I learned a lot. These are my key take-home messages:
- Human diversity means cultural diversity: We were all shocked that in Moroni, as we arrived from Madagascar (10am) and while waiting for our flight to Anjouan (4pm), the only food we could get was a sausage sandwich and water!!! I never knew that Sunday is a cleaning day in Comoros. Restaurants are only offering ‘service minimum’ because they are cleaning. The waiter said that although this is not a law, most restaurants all over the country are doing it…
- Comoros and Madagascar are closely linked. As much as there are Comorians in Madagascar, there are also Malagasy in Comoros, and most Comorians speak a bit of Malagasy. Instead of criticizing each other, we should unite our strengths and build a better today and future for ourselves. It is possible and necessary for all conservation actors from the Indian Ocean islands to work together to address similar challenges in our respective countries. Most importantly, we should learn from each other more, and more frequently. I am grateful to the 14 participants of this Master Class for their initiative to create an exchange platform to maintain and nurture the relationship we started;
- Waste management is a problem that should not be allowed to grow. Comoros is a beautiful country with its mountains, forests and beaches. The people are also nice and lovely. This beauty is being damaged by plastic waste that are found along the rivers, in the cities and at the beaches. Participants at the Master Class largely discussed this issue and we were lucky to have one of the leaders tackling it with us. However, a lot still has to be done.
I am grateful to the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund for funding this project, the Tropical Biology Association for including me in the trainers’ team, Dahari for hosting us in Comoros. I also thank all the participants for sharing their knowledge and experience during this week, and wish you all good luck for your respective challenges.
By: Julie Hanta RAZAFIMANAHAKA