The 2013 Mangabe festival was held on 25th May 2013 in Ampahitra, a small village 13km south of Moramanga, on the way to Anosibe An'Ala, and at the edge of Mangabe-Ranomena-Sahasarotra, a new protected area. Annually, since 2011, this festival is organized by Madagasikara Voakajy and the community-based organizations involved in the management of this new protected area. The festival aims to raise the profile of the golden mantella frog amongst the stakeholders in Mangabe and encourage the communities living within and around this new protected area to engage in the conservation of this emblematic species and its habitat.
The 2013 festival was honored by the presence of the authorities from Alaotra-Mangoro Region and Moramanga district: the Ministry of Environment and Forests, the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Land Management, the District of Moramanga, and the Gendarmerie Nationale.
All 11 community-based organizations (VOI – Vondron'Olona Ifotony) in the new protected area in Mangabe were present. Through songs, dance and poems, they expressed their willingness and engagement to conserve the biodiversity of Mangabe.
VOI Soamiafara, who was hosting the festival, presented the products from their crops, and embroidery done by the local women group. These women received a training in embroidery back in 2011 with supports from Madagasikara Voakajy.
Stars of the day, the two mascots, Lenari and Ralisy animated the day, with the puppets played by people from Ampahitra.
Community organizations were rewarded for the efforts they carried out for the conservation of Mangabe's forests from April 2012 to March 2013. These include regular monitoring of the golden mantella breeding ponds, reporting illegal activities to the relevant authorities and restoring areas degraded by slash-and-burn agriculture or gold mining. VOIs were also evaluated for their compliance to the roles and responsibilities of a VOI: holding regular meetings, recording all decisions and activities carried out by the VOI, managing the materials belonging to the VOI. Evaluation was done by a team composed of Madagasikara Voakajy, the Ministry of Environment and Forests, the district of Moramanga and the mayors of Mangarivotra and Ambohibary communes.
The top three VOIs were: Faniry from Ambodirotra, Soamiafara in Ampahitra and Ezaka Tantsaha from Avolo. They respectively received a reward of 800,000, 600,000 and 400,000 Ariary. All other VOIs received 300,000 Ariary each.
Each VOI will organize a general assembly where they will decide on how the reward will be used, when it will be used and what they expect to achieve from it. Minutes of this meeting will be taken to the office of Madagasikara Voakajy in Moramanga who will organize the payment. How the prize has been used and managed will be among the evaluation criteria for the 2014 festival.
The process of creating Mangabe as a new protected area is underway. It is promoted by Madagasikara Voakajy with the endorsement of the Ministry of Environment and Forests. This initiative is part of a national scheme to protect all elements of Madagascar's unique biodiversity while ensure sustainable economic growth of the population. We are grateful to all partners and donors who contributed to the organization of the 2013 festival, as well as those supporting the creation of Mangabe new protected area.