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Excerpt from Mongabay

A community association charged with managing Lake Andranobe in central Madagascar has won this year’s Equator Prize from the UNDP in the category “Nature for Water.”

For centuries, Lake Andranobe in Madagascar’s central highlands has nourished the surrounding communities. Over the past 16 years, its dependents have come together to restore the ailing lake. Now, that community-led initiative, the organization Tatamo Miray an’Andranobe (TAMIA), has won the United Nations Development Programme’s Equator Prize this year in the “Nature for Water” category.

“I am happy that the efforts of the community have been recognized,” Henri Rakotoson, a fisher and president of TAMIA, said about the award. “The prize gives us hope to go on.”

While the accolade has buoyed villagers, what has sustained their campaign are rewards from the lake itself. Fish catches more than doubled, from 8 tons in 2014 to 20 tons in 2019, according to data TAMIA collected. That has allowed Rakotoson, like many in nearby villages, to send their children to bigger towns for higher education. “One of my sons is pursuing a degree in environmental studies,” the 48-year-old told Mongabay.

Anchoring the future hasn’t been easy. When the association was formed in 2004, Lake Andranobe was in dire straits. Fish stocks were falling, the lake’s watershed had shrunk dramatically, and vanishing green cover meant water levels never recovered.

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