The rising of Rural Menalamba Women for the Conservation of their Wetland

Menalamba is a malagasy word meaning red clothes or red shawls.

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Menalamba women packing handcraft homework after trainings on design organized by FANC in Torotorofotsy, October 2015

Menalamba is the name of a group of small villages (fokontany) located in the North West of Andasibe, District of Moramanga, Region of Alaotra Mangoro, Madagascar. Torotorofotsy Wetland, the 4th Ramsar site of Madagascar is located in Menalamba village (Coordinates: 18° 53´06.32”S, 48° 22´11.51”E). It is a more than 9,700 ha area.

In addition, Menalamba has a very special meaning and it is marked indelibly in the history of independence of Madagascar. In fact, the first things that come to mind when Malagasy hear the word menalamba are nationalism, resistance, rebellion, insurrection, revolt, rising and anti-colonialism.  The same words appear when you type it on Google.

In 1947, the District of Moramanga, where belongs Menalamba village, were at the heart of the rising of 1947. Madagascar revolts history is sometimes fuzzy, mainly due to censure, but as evidence of the insurrection and in memory of those who fought for the liberty, one of the most important commemorative monuments is indeed visible in Moramanga town.

Furthermore, earlier in 1890’s, “The menalamba were those who resisted France in the name of the kingdom of Madagascar or the kingdom of Imerina, a central kingdom on the island” said S.D.K. Ellis in “The rising of the Red Shawls: a revolt in Madagascar, 1895-1899”, Cambridge University Press, 1985.

Actually, rising is still relevant, especially in Menalamba village. Not against colonialism anymore – because Madagascar became independent in 1960 – but against biodiversity loss and its impacts, poverty, vulnerability, unemployment, social and gender inequality, isolation from education and from the rest of the world, exclusion from decision-making processes, unfair and inequitable benefit sharing accruing out of access and utilization of biodiversity resources, etc.

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Menalamba Women making handcraft in Torotorofotsy, October 2015.

We are supporting Menalamba Women on sustainable utilization of plant materials in order to Empower Rural Women and to tackle the conversion of Torotorofotsy wetland into rice field. Together with local communities, we want to preserve the habitat of various highly endemic fauna and flora of this very unique wetland.

said Angela Tarimy, Project Coordinator in Madagascar

Recently, supported by The Finnish Association for Nature Conservation and the Association Mitsinjo AndasibeMenalamba is the new brand label of handicraft made in Torotorofotsy, by the Association of Women Menalamba Torotorofotsy.

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The President of Association of Women Menalamba Torotorofotsy Mrs Tine with Josephine and Arnelle during the first exhibition of Menalamba handcraft at Mitsinjo Shop Andasibe, Madagascar October 2015

We design and produce 100% handmade handcrafts in a sustainable way, in order to combine conservation of wetland, promotion of traditional knowledge on handcraft and improvement of our livelihoods.

We are proud to offer you the possibility to buy unique handcraft souvenirs at our showroom in Torotorofotsy and at Mitsinjo shop, Madagascar.

affirm, the President of Association of Women Menalamba Torotorofotsy, Rasoanatoandro Tine

Text and pictures : Angela Tarimy

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