Since 2004, Nathalie Raharilaza works for the tree planting project “Ny Tanintsika” as its Programme Manager, in S.E Madagascar. Between 2018 and 2019, she and her team managed to restore over 47 ha of forest and plant 35,000 trees. Today she shares her thoughts on the important role women play in community development and nature conservation.
Can you tell us a bit about your background and why you started planting trees?
I studied Natural Sciences at university and I got the diploma of advanced study in Applied Biological Sciences from the University of Antananarivo Madagascar in 2003. Since my childhood, I have been passionate about the protection of nature and when I was 10 years old, me and my sister planted fruit trees (orange, peach, guava) in our small courtyard in the city and after five years, we started collecting the fruits and we are proud, I always use this testimony when I do sensitizations for the plantation of trees at the level of our beneficiary community.
You have been working with Ny Tanintsika since 2004, how do you think this project has empowered you and other women?
Working with Ny Tanintsika has given me the chance to interact with many people and experts in the field of community development and nature conservation. It has given me the the opportunity to develop partnerships and helped me a lot in my professional as well as in my personal development. Through field missions, I have been able to share with women in remote rural areas. When we work together, it gives them self-confidence and realize their role is very important when it comes to community development.
What achievements with Ny Tanintsika are you the most proud of?
Ny Tanintsika’s activities have not stopped growing, we have gained the trust of the donors, some communities are now beginning to take responsibility for their own development. I am particularly proud of the results achieved in the village of Ambondro where the majority of the households are managed by women. They have shown courage for the development of their household and their community.
As the Programme Manager of Ny Tanintsika, what is your approach to leadership and management?
I use strategic leadership with a results-based management approach. When it comes to having a more “global”approach, we always try to reinforce the leadership skills of our beneficiaries we give them training. Providing this type of training is one of my favourite activities.
Who has inspired you the most regarding environmental commitment?
Nicolas Hulot inspires me a lot. He is a French environmental reporter and writer and produced a documentary about the environment crisis that I really find interesting.
What are your hopes for the future?
I hope to edit a short documentary showing the evolution of women taking responsibility regarding environmental protection and biodiversity conservation.
What is your favorite tree?
The Baobab Tree is my favorite one because it comes from Madagascar.