Story by Dan Guerin
Junior ReefDoctors provided an energetic presentation to Ifaty residents this weekend, aiming to address the problems of littering. The event was well attended by the children’s families, village Elders, teachers, fisheries association Fi.Mi.Ha.Ra, villagers and ReefDoctor representatives.
A poor and remote area of Madagascar, Ifaty lacks infrastructure for waste collection and management which inevitably results in the spread of litter across adjacent land and coastline. Through weekly classes at ReefDoctor and active participation in regular beach-cleans, the children learn the negative effects of littering and it’s impact on the marine environment, and are keen to spread awareness throughout the community.
Junior ReefDoctors make a powerful conduit for communicating the message of conservation to their families and wider community, who might otherwise not have time to give it much consideration. Presenting to a large audience also helps the children to gain self-confidence in public speaking and affords them the opportunity to share their beliefs with a wider audience.
The event held at Ifaty’s school, opened with an enthusiastic speech by the school’s Director, followed by songs written by Junior ReefDoctors, individual presentations, performance and dance. Labelling the day a great success, Rinah Rakotondrazaka, ReefDoctor’s Head of Community Education said: “This was a great opportunity to teach the community about the dangers of their actions to the environment, through the Junior ReefDoctors. The children had a great time, as did the audience who’s feedback was universally positive. As a result of the event, there has even been talk of introducing new dina [local law] specifically addressing littering!”