Vola joined Blue Ventures as a scholar in September 2006. She went on to work for Blue Ventures as a Research Scientist and is now a Marine Programme Coordinator at WWF Madagascar. In November 2006 Vola sent us this update:
My name is Vola and I’m a Malagasy staff member of Blue Ventures in Andavadoaka, Southwest Madagascar. Before I came here, I lived in Florida, USA for two years where I completed an MSc in Coastal Zone Management.
I’m mainly involved with shark and turtle catch monitoring, the new Marine Protected Areas and Environmental Education. My work includes visits to villages to collect data on shark and turtle catches as well as take pictures for species identification. It’s really exciting!!!
I was really keen to work in Andavadoaka. The conservation projects and pioneering research conducted by Blue Ventures in this part of the world are very much needed for the management of marine resources on which the local population depend greatly. In addition to marine conservation, Blue Ventures also works on developing other activities such as ecotourism (bird watching, baobab forest visits, diving), local arts and crafts and aquaculture. This boosts the economic potential of the region and thus reduces negative impacts on natural habitats.
The experience in Andavadoaka has given me the opportunity to practice what I've learned at school. It has also allowed me to contribute in the marine conservation field in Madagascar. Interacting and exchanging with the volunteers has been great and made me aware of the importance of every person's contribution in conservation efforts.