Meet some of our scholars to find out what education means to them - please donate to Blue Ventures' school scholarships programme to help more bright young people in southwest Madagascar pursue their dreams!
Angelitina comes from Andavadoaka and is being supported by Blue Ventures to attend high school (lycee) in the nearby town of Morombe.
Anselme is one of Blue Ventures' first school scholars to attend university. He was a member of the Club AloAlo while at school in Andavadoaka and has been interested in environmental protection from a young age. Anselme is studying Geography at the University of Toliara and hopes to be able to use the skills that he is gaining in order to help his community with conservation in the future. He was recently awarded a Samba-Getty scholarship in support of his higher education.
Miandry comes from Andavadoaka where his family depend on fishing for their livelihood. Blue Ventures has been supporting Miandry to attend school for the past three years. He is now in his final year at the high school (lycee) in Morombe and serves as student association president. Miandry would like to become a teacher so that he can share his knowledge with others.
Clemence is one of 115 girls being supported by Blue Ventures to attend school. She studies at the College Sainte Famille in Andavadoaka where she is in the third class (highest grade in middle school). Her favourite subjects are Earth and Life Sciences, and Malagasy. Clemence would like to be a police officer when she grows up.
Fabien completed his schooling with support from Blue Ventures, and is now studying Earth and Life Sciences at the University of Toliara. His favourite subjects in school were Maths and Physics. Fabien hopes to be able to use the knowledge that he is gaining in order to work for Blue Ventures in Andavadoaka one day and thereby help his community with conservation. He was recently awarded a Samba-Getty scholarship in support of his higher education.
Each year Blue Ventures awards scholarships for community members in the Velondriake area to undertake an intensive six-week training course in marine science and conservation research alongside our international expedition volunteers. The programme focuses on learning how to scuba dive, conduct ecological surveys and identify species. It reflects Blue Ventures' strong committment to investing in people, building local capacity and nurturing marine conservation from the grassroots.
More than a dozen villagers have received scuba certifications to date, including two who have reached the level of dive master and one who has since become Madagascar’s first open water scuba instructor. Our scholars have gone on to assist with a variety of community-based conservation initiatives in Velondriake.
Velondriake community scholar profiles
Dominique Razafisanais 22 years old. He lives in Andavadoaka and was previously a fisherman. Now he helps Blue Ventures with surveys and data entry. His favourite aspect of the course was learning about marine biology.
Joeline Jean-Baptiste is 23 years old. She lives in Andavadoaka and was previously a sea cucumber collector. Joeline is now a sexual health peer educator for Blue Ventures. The aspect she enjoyed most about the course was working with computers.
Edgar Andronic is 25 years old. He lives in Lamboara and was previously a fisherman. Now he helps Blue Ventures with surveys and data entry. The aspect he enjoyed most about the course was working with computers.
Tolotra Tolojanahary is 25 years old. He comes from Antsatsamaroy and was previously a sea cucumber collector. The aspect he enjoyed most about the course was learning about marine biology.
Bridgete Finy is 30 years old. She lives in Andavadoaka and was previously a cook at the Manga Lodge restaurant. Her favourite aspect of the course was the diving.
Samson Albain is 24 years old. He comes from Tampolove and was previously a fisherman. Samson most enjoyed the community development aspect of the course.
Sakira Izidoro is 26 years old. He comes from Vatoavo and was previously a migrant fisherman. Now he helps Blue Ventures with surveys and data entry. The aspect he enjoyed most about the course was the diving.
Mr Roger Samba, President of the Velondriake Association, established the Samba-Getty university scholarships fund with Blue Ventures, after winning the J.Paul Getty Award for outstanding leadership in conservation.
Mr Samba has played a pivotal role in the creation and development of Velondriake, the largest locally managed marine area in the Western Indian Ocean, including community-led temporary fishery closures and aquaculture zones. The leadership demonstrated by Mr Samba has empowered communities in southwest Madagascar to engage in marine resource management, influenced national fisheries legislation and inspired others to replicate this successful model. WWF's prestigious J.Paul Getty Award, described by US president Ronald Reagan as "the Nobel Prize for conservation", carries a $200,000 prize which Mr Samba has used to create the Samba-Getty university scholarships fund for aspiring marine conservationists from the Velondriake area and other parts of Madagascar.
Samba-Getty university scholar profiles
Olivia RAOELIARITIANA is 19 years old. She is doing a bachelor’s degree in Marine Science at the IHSM (Institut Halieutique et des Sciences Marine) in Toliara.
"I applied for a Samba-Getty scholarship because I noticed the increasing effects of climate change which is one of the major factors affecting our environment. I would like to contribute to managing the natural resources upon which human life depends.”
Seraphin RAFARALAHY is 25 years old. Originally from Andavadoaka, southwest Madagascar, he is now studying Geography at the University of Toliara.
“I applied for a Samba-Getty scholarship to allow me to pursue higher education opportunities because I want to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to help manage my community's marine resources. The experiences I've gained from Velondriake are driving my ambition to be a conservationist like my brother, who is a Velondriake Association committee member.”
Norova FARALAHY is 21 years old. Originally from Andavadoaka, southwest Madagascar, he is now studying Geography at the University of Toliara.
“The lessons I've learned while working on Velondriake projects have inspired me to contribute to marine conservation in my community. My father is a fisherman and, as I'm one of seven children, my family isn't able to support my studies. Being awarded a Samba-Getty scholarship is enabling me to attend university, widening my career prospects for my future and the future of my family.”
Livatiana RAMANJEHIMANANA has a bachelor's degree in Marine Science and is now pursuing a master’s at the IHSM (Institut Halieutique et des Sciences Marine) in Toliara.
“I would not have been able to continue my studies without this scholarship because my mother has passed away and my father is already retired. I have always been at the top of my class and I love pursuing my studies at the IHSM because it is giving me lots of knowledge about the coastal and marine environment."
Carole ZAFIMIHARY is doing a bachelor's degree in Marine Science at the IHSM (Institut Halieutique et des Sciences Marine) in Toliara.
“This Samba-Getty university scholarship provides me with the possibility to finance my studies in order to protect the nature which I love.”
Danoary ANDRISOA has a bachelor’s degree in Marine Science and is now pursuing a master’s at the IHSM (Institut Halieutique et des Sciences Marine) in Toliara. He's interested in conducting research into the octopus fisheries in Velondriake.
“I applied for the Samba-Getty scholarship because I couldn’t afford to continue my studies without support. Lack of funding is one of the reasons why many Malagasy students fail to complete their studies.”
Yacinthe RAZAFIMANDIMBY works for Conservation International and is involved in the establishment of the Ambodivahibe Marine Protected Area in northwest Madagascar. He's studying for his PhD in Applied Oceanography, using qualitative and quantitative assessments of climate change, and monitoring their effects on coral reef ecosystems.
"I applied for the Samba-Getty scholarship because of the visible change I have observed in marine ecosystems during ecological assessments carried out around Madagascar, showing a growing indication of impacts related to climate change. At the end of my studies, I would like to establish a global model of change types and the rhythms of their effects on coral reef ecosystems and species in north Madagascar. In the future, I would like to see this approach effectively applied to all marine areas across Madagascar and the entire Western Indian Ocean."
Dr Clare Watkinson was the Expedition Medic/Volunteer in Belize in 2010. She has previously worked in various medical settings in Australia and the UK.