This week we took part in an activity which is very familiar to us Norwegians - "dugnad" (Norwegian word). A “dugnad” is when several people in a community work together, on a voluntary basis and often unpaid, towards a common goal or something of importance for the community. We got to experience the malagasy "dugnad"-spirit and it was inspiring to see what community members can accomplish when working together.
Deforestation in Madagascar is a great environmental threat to the island's biodiversity and it has negative impact on people's livelihoods. On Tuesday, Bongolava Red Cross volunteers and we contributed in the annual effort to protect the environment by planting trees. This activity was organized by the Ministry of the Environment, Ecology and Forestry in all 22 regions in Madagascar. In Tsiroanomandidy, the activity was led by the prefect, head of the region and the local authorities. Hundreds of representatives from all ministries in the region, major economic operators, chain shops and non-governmental organizations partook with great enthusiasm to restore the forest. After 20 minutes of solid effort we had planted 4000 (!) acacia trees.