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Thoughts from author: craig jones

yam must read this

Feedback Madagascar is one of the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that we support.The project we support promotes yam farming with training on yam cultivation techniques, the creation of demonstration plots and household plantations. Working with twelve community forest management associations, over 250 people are already producing and yams are taking off.

Famous for providing the fuel for Usain Bolt’s sprinting successes, the yam is commonly confused as a sweet potato (they are un-related), they are similar in properties.

“Anyone for yams?”

Yams

The project is based around the Malagasy rainforest, where people are reliant on inadequate rice and cassava harvests; the cultivation of yams reduces the impact of the annual famine and dramatically ups people’s nutritional intake.

And yams are fun. To raise awareness of yams and their benefits, alongside rainforest conservation, there are now yam festivals. Associations take stands, organise competitions, cook offs, speeches and full-on carnival singing and dancing.

Feedback madagascar

As part of the project, training on culinary techniques is included to make the most of the yam.

Here are 6 of their suggested recipes:

  1. Yam Pudding
  2. Yam Crisps
  3. Yam Pizza
  4. Yam Soup
  5. Yam salad
  6. Baked Yam.

Here in Fruit Towers, we think they all sound delicious and the soup sounds like a great defence against winter.

If you fancy trying your hand at Yam Pudding, here is an embellished Western version:

Ingredients:

800g grated uncooked yams

300g milk

120g golden syrup

3 eggs

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

120g brown sugar

1tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp salt

½ tsp ground nutmeg

  • Preheat oven to 160˚c
  • Grease baking dish (approx 8”x8”x2”)
  • Combine all ingredients
  • Bake until a knife comes out of mixture clean, approx 1 hour.
  • Serve warm with cream or ice cream

For more information on Feedback Madagascar, please visit our foundations page: www.innocentfoundation.org/ or their own website: www.feedbackmadagascar.org

walking for water...

Did you know 80% of the Indian population live on less than $2 a day?

Jeevika Trust (http://www.jeevika.org.uk/) is one of the amazing charities the innocent foundation supports to fight poverty in rural India. Jeevika Trust has touched more than 100,000 lives over the last decade and continues to work with people on the margins of rural society – low-caste and tribal people, especially women – to help them build and sustain their individual, family and community livelihoods.

Last week, Jeevika Trust organised a sponsored walk to raise money to support their water projects. This is the event Geraldine and her boyfriend took part in. The route is roughly 6 miles (10 km) long, which was harder than she thought it would be. Incredibly, millions of women and children walk this distance every single day, sometimes twice a day, to find and carry back water for their family.

To start the walk, they were warmly welcomed by Rosemary and her boyfriend Matt in Hampton Wick. Rosemary discovered India during her gap year, teaching English and drama classes to children and fell in love with the country. She is now Jeevika Trust’s Communications and Fundraising Officer.

Rosemary and Matt - Jeevika Trust

After a quick chat with Rosemary and Matt, they were off to Bushy Park. It lies North of Hampton court Palace and is full of stags and deers roaming freely so they made friends on the way…

Stag in Bushy park - Jeevika Trust
The route itself offered diverse landscapes, lovely paths, bubbling steams, and kept them entertained watching old and young alike on sport pitches and cycle paths. The last part of the walk was along the Thames…

Walking along the Thames - Jeevika Trust
Ending in a private garden on the river, where they over-indulged with tea and lemon drizzle cakes. They enjoyed meeting with Andrew (on the picture below with Rosemary), Jeevika Trust Director, to learn more about their projects in India: http://www.jeevika.org.uk/whatwedo/CurrentProjects.htm.

Andrew and Rosemary - Jeevika Trust
So a big thanks to Jeevika Trust for organising such a great event. May they continue the fantastic work they do in India.

madgascar 3: the preview (not really)

I have recently come back from an incredible couple of weeks in Madagascar. It's a land full of contrasts with unique wildlife and beautiful landscape, but it's also home to some of the poorest people in the world.

During my time there I visited Project Lanirano run by Azafady on behalf of the Innocent Foundation. Azafady are a small NGO based in the south east of Madagascar and they do some fantastic work to alleviate poverty in the area and create more sustainable livelihoods for the local people.

Project Lanirano is an initiative that has two main aspects: an urban side, and a rural side. The urban element of the project assists women in making their small businesses more profitable, and the rural side teaches farmers new agricultural methods.

I think the best way to tell the story of my visit is to talk you through some good ol' pics:

Day 1

Here are some women receiving small business training. Many of the group were illiterate before they started so their progression has been immense.

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I met a number of women who had already benefited from the small grants for their business. They told me their stories and it was incredible to hear how such a small amount of money can have such an enormous impact on their lives. The lady on the right gave me a zebu statue as a gift, which I clearly seem happy about but not sure she was quite so pleased by the look on her face.

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This woman told me that because of the business grant she was now able to afford to feed her family 3 meals-a-day.

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I spent the afternoon looking at a flash spreadsheet that held some frightening data about the women's income & expenditure. The average member of the group is living on 4p per day.

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Day 2

This is me and Latena (Head of Sustainable Livelihoods for Azafady), just before we embarked on a bumpy mission out to the bush. Despite my smile I was feeling rather ill, having been up all night being sick. Not ideal.

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This didn't deter me from visiting the rural side of the project where I watched a lesson in how to compost.

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The locals have also started to grow their vegetable patch to get more variety in their diet.

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After chatting to some of the locals about the new methods, my illness had finally caught up with me and I needed to go back to the Jeep to crash out.

The work Azafady are doing is making a huge impact on people's lives in Madagascar. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to see their efforts first-hand.

I recommend checking out their range of volunteering programs, including the community conservation I undertook prior to visiting the foundation project.

I would also like to take the opportunity to say a massive thanks to Samm & Latena and everyone at Azafady - you were amazing.

P.S I couldn't write a blog about Madagascar without including some pictures of Lemurs. So I bid you farewell with a few new friends of mine.

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And this happy chap.
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