Irene’s story: Taking control in Tampolove, Madagascar

Photo credit: @Blue Ventures

This article is reposted courtesy of Panorama Solutions. Explore this nature solution and read Irene’s full story here.

Irene was in her final year of secondary school when she had her son, now four years old. She didn’t manage to take her school leaving certificate then, and was left feeling like her efforts in primary school had been quite futile.

She decided to start using family planning after the birth of her son, choosing three-monthly depo-provera injections offered by the community-based distributor of contraceptives in her village. Once Irene took control of her reproductive health, she found that her business ideas thrived, her confidence grew, and she became able to provide for her son. To earn money, Irene grows seaweed and sea cucumbers through an initiative supported by marine conservation organisation Blue Ventures.

She describes how their private sector partner, a company called Indian Ocean Trepang, provides juvenile sea cucumbers for local farming teams to grow out to adult size in community-managed pens. Irene also has a small business selling products that she sources from outside of the village, with her mother looking after her son while she’s away. Thanks to these efforts, she’s been able to build a large house with four rooms, buy several goats and pay for her son’s school fees.


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