SOCIAL

Resettlement Villages

To facilitate Construction, Ambatovy had to resettle villagers living in the vicinity of the Tailings and Plant Site to appropriate parcels of land. This was done in strict adherence to the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation Performance Standards (IFC), and guidelines set by Madagascar’s national regulatory body. Ambatovy worked for many years in collaboration with local stakeholders to gain their trust and acceptance for this process.

Vohitrambato health center

Between 2007 and 2008, Ambatovy established two resettlement villages: Vohitrambato and Marovato. Ambatovy built 296 new houses in these villages. Villagers were able to select their preferred housing model and each household received a parcel of land for agriculture and grazing. 150 ha of flat, arable land was also provided for rice production. An additional 47 ha was allocated and prepared for vegetable gardens and fruit trees.

Additionally, Ambatovy constructed infrastructure such as community centers and churches, washing areas and water pumps, irrigation canals, roads and bridges, and a health center.

With the resettlement phase completed in 2008, Ambatovy has since been active in these villages implementing a comprehensive social development plan. This plan was established using participatory processes aimed at sustainably improving the quality of local life.

Land Titles

To increase financial stability and access to credit, Ambatovy is also in the process of securing land titles for all resettled households. In 2012, Ambatovy handed over the land titles to the resettled population in Marovato, representing a key milestone in the resettlement process. In Vohitrambato, Ambatovy continues to work on finalizing land titles for residents.

Food Security and Agricultural Improvement

Ambatovy offers agricultural training, extension services, tools, and seeds as a way of improving livelihoods, which are traditionally based on agriculture. Ambatovy and villagers have already seen noticeable benefits.

Ambatovy’s programs follow a diversified approach to agriculture, working with villagers to implement short-cycle subsistence crops, market gardening, perennial crops, and forest production. As a complement to agricultural activities, Ambatovy works with a local non-governmental organization to improve village nutrition. Cooking demonstrations and nutritional education are given to adults and local fifth-grade students, who are often responsible for cooking while their parents are at work.

Since 2014, Ambatovy has been working with the resettlement communities to identify and support alternative income generating activities, including small l ivestock and poultry breeding and aquaculture.

Community Healthcare

Ambatovy works to make sure that all villagers have access to basic healthcare. The health center constructed in Vohitrambato has a doctor and midwife onsite. Marovato residents have access to healthcare services in Toamasina and also receive bi-weekly onsite visits from a doctor.

More than two dozen village residents have become volunteer health promoters, thanks to training provided by Ambatovy. They now educate community members on common illnesses, reproductive health, general hygiene, HIV/AIDS prevention, and routine vaccinations. Since 2008, the villages have noticed a significant increase of over 100% in the number of children that have finished their vaccines on time. This represents major progress. Prior to resettlement, none of the children had completed their routine vaccinations. In 2015, two community health campaigns were held in collaboration with district hospitals, benefiting nearly 3,000 people.

Working Toward Education for All

Prior to resettlement, school enrollment in both villages was a mere 33%. Since the opening of local schools, one in Marovato and one in Vohitrambato, each location has seen a significant increase in the school enrollment rate. Two pre-schools were established in 2009 and have already proven successful: the director of the Ampasimbola School, where the Marovato children go, noted that first graders who had completed pre-school were more attentive, curious, and participative.

In 2014, Ambatovy offered to support select students from Vohitrambato who expressed an interest to to the University: a relatively rare opportunity for students from rural populations.

Ambatovy also supports adult literacy, French-language training, and other extra-curricular activities at these school facilities.

Institutional Capacity Building

In 2010, Ambatovy began working with the communities to create Villager Associations, which enable a progressive transfer of community management to the villagers themselves.

Sports events have been organized in the villages, with soccer tournaments being the highlight. These events gather large crowds and present opportunities to promote key messages on topics such as eradicating violence against women and the importance of personal hygiene and healthcare.

Promoting Entrepreneurship

Ambatovy has implemented various economic development programs aimed at increasing commercial networks and promoting the sale of local produce. Seventeen Vohitrambato community members have become leading businesspeople by selling their produce to the Purchasing Centers (CA, in French).

In Vohitrambato, women were offered an arts and crafts training program and some of them have since created an artisanal association to market and support their handicrafts. Classes included sewing, embroidery, needlepoint and basketry, production, and sales. This training was aimed at improving the quality of traditional and new handicraft products.

Since 2009, a local microfinance institution has been conducting an education program that covers basic financial management and entrepreneurship. The program teaches residents how to save, invest, and fulfill credit requirements.