Green Skills Award Finalist 2024 - Madagascar Don Bosco

Don Bosco Green from Madagascar - Green Skills Award 2024 Finalist

Further education colleges in Madagascar are doing their bit to combat climate change through ‘green clubs’ set up to advocate for and work on environmental conservation. 

The Green Clubs at the four Don Bosco Colleges on the large island off the coast of East Africa, involve hundreds of students in organising awareness raising events, promoting green practices and creating eco-friendly jobs in their communities. 

Part of a large network of Don Bosco colleges across Sub-Saharan Africa, the Madagascar project is one of ten finalists in the European Training Foundation’s Green Skills Awards 2024. 

The award is a global initiative, first introduced in 2021. It provides ideas and inspiration from all over the world about innovation happening thanks to individuals and institutions. The initiative has become a source of good practices that can inspire people everywhere to make real change happen in creating circular and carbon-neutral economies and societies. 

Don Bosco Madagascar says that by focusing on ‘Green TVET’ (Technical Vocational Education and Training), it has been able to come up with “cost-effective, high-impact interventions to mitigate global warming, climate change and socio-economic challenges, through promoting best green practices and the creation and strengthening” of green jobs on the island. 

“The ripple effect of our project is great and inspiring,” says Matthews Wafula, one of the organisers of the Green Clubs. 

The four college-based Green Clubs – each with around 40 young members – has reached out to over 9,000 people through activities that include: 

  • Organising roundtables with stakeholders to influence policy change and create awareness of environmental conservation 

  • Taking part in the in the installation of water storage facilities to manager water more effectively 

  • Installing waste sorting bins and hosting community clean-up drives to encourage waste sorting and segregation 

  • Developing tree nurseries to produce a reliable supply of seedlings to help afforestation and re-forestation projects 

  • Hosting open days 

  • Cooperating with government on reviewing and updating the college building and construction curriculum to reflect green values. 

“Since 2021, we have reached over 3,000 students and more than 6,000 community members,” says Matthews Wafula, one of the organisers of the Green Clubs. 

“Through their involvement, we have installed wasted recycle facilities, water  tanks to collect rain and planted thousands of trees.” 

Thanks to the advocacy of the Green Clubs on biogas and solar energy, nearly a third of local people living near the colleges have switched from burning wood to using renewable sources of energy. 

One project of which organisers are particularly proud is the afforestation and reforestation scheme. 

“Madagascar is home to diverse and rare wildlife that sees its habitat shrinking due to population growth and agriculture,” Matthews says. 

The Clubs have planted 50,000 trees in the Marohogo forest – 20,000 of which have already reached maturity – and are working with around 18,500 people, including officials from national and regional forest departments. 

“In the long run and with proper and sustainable management practices, this forest will help the community have access to vital forest services,” Matthews says. 

Those will include access to a pristine environment, improved habitat for wild animals, improved tourism activities, better livelihood, improved forest cover, soil erosion control, improved water catchment area and a watershed, honey from beehives, medicine, timber extracts and resins, building materials among other benefits.  

“We can see the change people’s everyday habits and, through our activities, the improvement on the landscape. The ripple effect of our project is truly  inspiring,” Matthews concludes.