Tetra Tech fosters sustainable and inclusive economic growth in Madagascar by linking biodiversity conservation and natural resource management with sustainable livelihoods development and improved land tenure security.
Madagascar’s unique terrestrial and marine resources are threatened by poor enforcement of laws and regulations, insecure tenure, recurrent climate, and political and economic shocks. In this context, local communities are seeking to defend their traditional land tenure and resource rights to improve their livelihoods. Women and youth are particularly impacted by a lack of access to land and resources. To combat these challenges, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is funding the Mikajy project to foster partnerships with the public and private sector and civil society to advance biodiversity conservation, strengthen natural resource management (NRM) and land tenure security, and promote sustainable economic growth among vulnerable populations and rural communities.
Tetra Tech is leading the implementation of Mikajy with a consortium of partners, including the Wildlife Conservation Society, Multi-Sector Information Service, National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA, and Viamo.
Integrating women and youth across five strategic approaches, Mikajy promotes site-based learning to inform broader government and donor-financed landscape programming. Mikajy works to empower women and youth through participation in community-based NRM associations and promote gender and youth advocates to participate in national and regional dialogues. For example, women make up 77 percent of the 712 members of the Mikajy-supported Village Savings and Loans Associations, training women on the management of mutual funds, accounting, and simplified financial management.
These efforts and approaches of this project are focused in the two landscapes of MaMaBay and Menabe.
The MaMaBay landscape represents the greatest concentration of terrestrial biodiversity in Madagascar and is the refuge of exceptional marine biodiversity. The area includes two of the largest protected areas in Madagascar—Masoala National Park and the Makira Natural Park. MaMaBay also is known for its high-value crops such as vanilla, cacao, and cloves. In 2019, Mikajy partnered with McCormick & Company to support the creation of sustainable vanilla cooperatives, promote forest and biodiversity conservation, and improve livelihoods. Through capacity building and technical and financial support from Mikajy and its partners, more than 1,700 vanilla farmers received Rainforest Alliance certification for sustainably produced vanilla. Promoting high-impact investment through conservation-friendly enterprises across value chains that have opportunities for sustainable growth, Mikajy facilitates connections between communities and private sector investors resulting in nearly $400,000 invested in conservation-friendly enterprises to date.
The Menabe landscape, located in the arid coastal southwest of Madagascar, encompasses coastal areas with high maricultural and tourism potential, including the Avenue of Baobabs and Madagascar’s largest remaining patches of dry forests, which harbor a number of endemic and endangered species.
USAID Mikajy implements activities in 18 communes and 4 protected areas in the Menabe landscape. Achievements include providing training and equipment to support firefighting, restoring mangroves and dry forests, and leading the coordination of stakeholders to develop a participatory fisheries management plan for the Menabe seascape and coastal communities.
Mikajy has made significant strides in improving NRM, including joint patrolling in protected areas, improving resilience to climate change, increasing investment in conservation-friendly enterprises by the private sector, certifying forest-friendly vanilla, and engaging civil society in policy and tenure rights discussions. Mikajy’s activities will improve the NRM of more than 1.3 million hectares of biologically significant areas; engage 55,000 people in planning, management, and enforcement for improved NRM; and train more than 8,000 people in sustainable NRM and/or biodiversity conservation.
Mikajy received positive media coverage for its support in achieving Rainforest Alliance certification for 1,700 sustainable vanilla farmers. The story was covered by national press and was also disseminated by USAID Madagascar and McCormick & Company on various platforms.