This February 2015 has seen another special event at Libanona – the
The CEL was the very first project supported by Andrew Lees Trust. Funds, books and equipment were sent by ALT to help develop the Centre in its early years. The CEL was dedicated to Andrew’s memory on the first anniversary of his death in December 1995.
The Centre has trained and supported the development of Malagasy environmental students for almost twenty years and, as a Malagasy NGO and academic institution, became the only accredited university programme in the region.
Sadly the CEL now faces impossible competition from the more recent ISTA initiative supported by the mining company QMM (Rio Tinto), and will have to close.
The Association of Friends of the CEL is a way for those who have been involved– founders, Trustees, Managers, students, teachers and friends to hold their deep affection for the Centre at Libanona and focus on ways to 1) support solidarity and communication between students, alumni and friends; 2) continue supporting students in the Anosy and Androy regions of Southern Madagascar in university level studies; and 3) support environmental/conservation activities.
The ceremony was held on the 14th February and was attended by members of the ALT Mg team, Mme Josee and Msr Martin and one of its Directors, Sosthene Robson, who has also taught many of the CEL students. He presented a Kabary (speech) sent from ALT UK to share with our colleagues at Libanona.
ALT also supported the event by contributing the costs of refreshments for students and participants.
From Barry Ferguson, who has been elected Co-Chair of the Asociation of Friends of CEL:
‘ The classroom courses(at CEL) have been progressing quite a bit faster than usual, with the aim that students will be able to start their fieldwork for final year dissertations in April and May. The intention is that as many students as possible will graduate before the end of 2015, most likely there will be some spillover into early 2016. Once those current final year students who have a realistic chance of completion have graduated the intention of the CEL Direction/Board is for the degree accreditation to be transferred to the QMM supported ISTA (Institut Superieur de Technologie de l’Anosy). While an emotional period, at least this move is a credit to the efforts of the many teachers and staff of CEL, especially Oly and Newton – who deserve considerable thanks for their ongoing efforts during challenging times’.
ALT Bursaries for CEL students
The Trust has been sending student bursaries to the Libanona Ecology Centre for many years in the names of Andrew Lees and Marek Mayer. This year the two students supported by ALT are:
RALAIVELOJAONA Hary Tahiry, RALINONY Fenomanana Salomé