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Thoughts from category: Current Affairs

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

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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early morning visitors

Morning pm

We had some special visitors drop by Fruit Towers this morning

Hello

The Prime Minister, his wife and Harriet Harman all came by to have a tour

All ears

They asked some questions

Smooth talk


Answered some questions


Chit chat

Made a smoothie in one kitchen

Fliss

Watched Emilie make toast in the other

Toughtimes

Commiserated with Helen about the perils of playing netball

Broken finger

And had the obligatory photo shoot with IT Sam

Sam and gordon


As it says on our bottles, the door to Fruit Towers is always open so feel free to swing by if you're ever on the Goldhawk Road.

Door

Unless you happen to fall into this category

Signed

In which case, please use this entrance.

Burglars

an innocent guide to Copenhagen

The planet's doomed right? It's time to pack the tinned goods and head north. Well not just yet, but we are definitely in last chance territory to keep our climate in a more friendly condition. World leaders will be gathering in Copenhagen this December to try and secure a crucial international agreement for significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. There's a bit more information from our Sustainability Jess about why this is all so important on our new innocent guide to Copenhagen page.


Jess will be visiting the Department of Energy and Climate Change in November to meet Ed Miliband, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. Ed Miliband will be attending the Copenhagen meeting so we thought we'd ask him some questions about the meeting, the UK position and climate change. If you have a question you'd like Jess to ask Ed then complete the form here and we'll pick the five most popular questions for Ed to answer. This guy is important in getting the deal we need in Copenhagen, so it should be interesting to hear what he has to say.

Want do even more yourself? Then check out this site.