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An Interview with the Regional WIO EAGL Chair, Vola Ramahery

Posted Friday 28 July 2023
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What were your motivations to join as Regional Western Indian Ocean EAGL member?

I took part in an information session, organized by Madagascar National Parks in Antananarivo, where I learned about the Green List. Later, they asked if I would be willing to be part of the Regional EAGL. My motivation was really to contribute to raise MPA managers’ awareness about reaching their conservation objectives. Sometimes, when we are a site manager, we tend to do things routinely. An initiative like the Green List allows them to bring new perspectives into their work and contribute to increase the visibility of their Marine Protected or Conserved Area. This is important for ecotourism / tourism purposes.

In June, you participated in the first training session for the WIO EAGL members. What were the highlights?

The training has been very useful. It was important for the EAGL members to meet and know each other, exchange about their experiences in different countries. The training was well balanced with two days in the room and one day site visit. I have been involved in the establishment of MPAs, within projects, but not really on the aspects of evaluation. So, evaluation and auditing aspects were new to me. I hope that I will be able to apply this new knowledge soon! The site visit was another highlight of the training. We were able to apply the site evaluation techniques, that we learned about, such as asking open questions and avoid suggesting the answers while discussing with the Park’s managers and rangers.

After the training, how do you now perceive the importance of the EAGL’s role?

I think of two things: an ambassador’s role and an evaluation role. It is about raising awareness and informing people about the Green List. Of course, there are the Green List country focal points, but for a big country like Madagascar, one person cannot cover everything. The EAGL member can contribute to inform. Regarding the evaluation aspect, it is really about providing a just evaluation, that can encourage the managers and generate an interest in making their work more visible and more efficient. We need to implement actions in order to support MPAs to be managed effectively and efficiently. The Green List contributes to that. And so does the evaluation by the EAGL members. MPA managers can also understand how they are doing. We can also make them proud if they become Greenlisted.

What is your preferred Protected or Conserved Areas? And how do you relate to it?

Oh there are so many beautiful and important PCAs, but I will say that my favourite one is the Nosy Hara National Park, North of Madagascar. It is a very unique park, with Tsingy islets in the middle of the blue sea and with magnificent beaches. I have had the opportunity to work there for three four years with WWF, on a climate change adaptation project. I would love to go back and camp there with my children!

 


About Vola:

Volanirina Ramahery is a Madagascan marine biologist and coastal zone manager with more than 15 years’ experience in Madagascar, and Eastern Africa (Mozambique, Kenya and Tanzania). Through her work with NGOs in the region, she has established Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMAs). Vola currently works with a social enterprise, Bôndy International, in Corporate Social Responsibility and carbon projects, including forests and mangrove restoration.

 


Photo: © Madagascar National Parks

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