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EditPhoto Title:Improving Human and Ecosystem Health in Marolambo, Madagascar
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EditPhoto Credit:© Conservation International/photo by AAlain Andriamamonjisoa
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Healthy rivers mean clean water, more resilient ecosystems and healthy human populations.

The Marolambo district, in eastern Madagascar, lies along the Nosivolo River. This 130-kilometer (81-mile) rivulet serves as the source of drinking water for the surrounding communities and is home to several species of fish found nowhere else on Earth.

Unfortunately, the river also serves as a receptacle for human waste, in part because many local people remain unaware of the strong ties between sanitation and human health and in part because local sanitation systems are inadequate. As a result, about 75% of Marolambo’s population is afflicted with schistosomiasis, a chronic parasitic illness.

Our role

Conservation International and our Malagasy partners are working with communities and schools in Marolambo to raise awareness of the connections between human health and ecosystem health — and bring about cleaner water, more resilient ecosystems and healthier human populations.

Our plan

CI is working in Marolambo to expand local communities’ involvement in the management of their natural resources — and foster a belief that a healthy river ecosystem benefits both local communities and wildlife. By doing so, we can link the improved health of the Nosivolo River to needed changes in community behavior regarding water use, personal hygiene and sanitation practices.

Specifically, CI is working with the Loharano Association, a local health organization, and the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust to:

  • Help reduce the severity of waterborne diseases and keep the Nosivolo River clean by encouraging people to use latrines and change other behaviors.
  • Distribute free antibiotics that fight schistosomiasis and other worm parasites.
  • Promote synergy between traditional culture and environmental conservation, such as encouraging communities to continue traditional forest protection practices that keep trees standing, preserve species habitat and maintain a healthy watershed.
  • Improve methods for crop production to reduce exploitation pressure of the river.
  • Work with a diverse range of stakeholders, from park staff to fishermen to local authorities, to ensure they are all involved in advocacy and education.

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EditTitle:By the numbers
EditSubtitle:47 villages reached
EditText:Working in 14 municipalities and 47 villages, CI and partners have:
  • Increased awareness among men, women and children about the links among sanitation, hygiene and conservation.
  • Reduced waterborne illnesses.
  • Promoted traditional forest protection practices.
  • Implemented micro-finance projects focused on improving crop production.
EditPhoto Credit:© CI
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