Renewable energies in a unique nature reserve

L'Homme & l'Environnement is initiating a plan of access to renewable energies on the Vohibola nature reserve by building a solar powered boat designed to carry passengers and also for site surveillance activities.

Environment and Biodiversity

Vohibola, Madagascar

Hubert Païtard

€28,000 to the Selection Committee at 2011/10/20

Project leader

L'Homme et l'Environnement

"This project has a powerful societal and environmental feature and responds to an urgent need.It benefits from the expertise of Econav, and the assurance of a proper matching of the project with the realities in the field, particularly for the immediate social usefulness that it will offer, and its technically durable aspect. Properly supervised, it will provide an ideal example for other sites."

Hubert Païtard

The NGO l'Homme & l'Environnement, founded in 1993 in Madagascar, has specialized in sustainable development and biodiversity conservation by involving the disadvantaged local populations. It works on specific areas extremely rich in endangered biodiversity, demonstrating that environmental conservation and human development can go hand in hand. The projects are developed as part of a holistic development plan including agricultural, health and educational support, forest regeneration, programs in understanding ecosystems and the conservation of endangered species, and the development of income generating activities.

The Vohibola coastal forest is located on the East Coast of Madagascar, between the Pangalanes Canal and the Indian Ocean, about 270 km east of Antananarivo at 67 km south of Tamatave. On an area of more than 2,000 hectares (4800 acres), it accommodates a unique and endangered fauna and flora biodiversity. Since the Madagascar government lacks the resources to protect it, l'Homme & l'Environnement was asked in 2001, in association with the surrounding communities (1600 persons), to assume the management of the site for conservation and to implicate the local communities through business development (income generating activities: production of essential oils, timber and coal, ecotourism, arts and crafts, sustainable fisheries, etc.).

A vast plan of ecological local development

The project responds to the needs expressed by the local populations and the NGO to implement an access plan to renewable energies in the village of Tampina and the Vohibola reserve. In the first phase, the means of transportation of the guards of the reserve will be replaced: a metal-hulled pirogue in very poor condition, powered by a polluting, noisy internal combustion engine in an area where the biodiversity is vulnerable, will be supplanted by a new solar powered boat. Its fabrication and duplication in more or less different models, in Madagascar, will help create local jobs. To protect the boat, in a second phase, a building/garage is being built, equipped with photovoltaic roof panels. This installation is part of a more comprehensive program of access to renewable energies and for generating Income Producing Activities (AGR - Activités Génératrices de Revenus): ecotourism, electric power supply for the lighting needs of the villagers (leased batteries), operation of incubators for duck breeding, production of refrigeration to preserve the fish in the cooperative, operation of lamps and PCs installed in a common room in the building for literacy courses.

The villagers are the direct beneficiaries of the project, via a Management Committee in charge of the sound technical and financial management of the installations. The parties to the project are mostly members of the Econav network, a Breton specialist in familiarizing users and professionals of the sea in econavigation and the development of cleaner solutions for the future.

Associated with technical and nonprofit partners, the Veolia Foundation is backing this ambitious project "Energie", led by a renowned NGO which has been successfully conducting sustainable projects for several years in fighting poverty and protecting the biodiversity of Madagascar.