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Under the Mauritian tropical sun, it was a real pleasure to see the six Malagasy women with notebook and pen in hand, ready and eager to start the day!

Today provided us with a good overview of IFAD and partner operations in Mauritius. A lot has been done to develop women’s micro-entrepreneurial skills, in which transformation of agricultural products is a major activity. The highlight was a visit to a farmer’s school set-up by the IFAD Rural Diversification programme. The school offers small farmers especially women and young people training with professional certificates recognized at the international level. The Malagasy ladies were particularly interested in the agro-processing unit, where products such as bananas, papaya, tomatoes, were being transformed into chips, sugar preserves, juice, etc. Even though such technology may not be presently economically feasible in Madagascar, it helps create a vision of what could be achieved in the near future. The women took an active role is carefully questioning the Mauritian technical experts and exchanging contact information.

Mauritians were also eager to know more about the various products that rural women in Madagascar produce, and were especially curious about the essential oils as large hotels and Spas in Mauritius use a lot of aromatherapy oils. The smart Malagasy women brought a sample of their products which will be tested by the quality control offices here in Mauritius. Let us hope that they are approved and that the women may, for the first time, export their clove based essential oils!
At the end of the day, when we all got together to share our thoughts, we all agreed that Mauritius was not so very different from Madagascar as development projects take similar approaches, but that the women in Mauritius have a more professional entrepreneurial way of thinking. Malagasy women have a great potential to achieve likewise. This is why it is so important to sustain knowledge-sharing and allow potentials to be fully developed.
Yasmina Oodally
IFAD APO Madagascar Portfolio
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Les Femmes Entrepreneurs de l'Océan Indien s'échangent leurs Expériences – 1er Jour
Premier jour d’échange, une journée ensoleillée s’annonçait en laissant s’évanouir la fatigue de la veille. 9 heures tapantes, tous les participants malgaches se retrouvèrent dans le hall de l’hôtel où le responsable du projet RDP FIDA Maurice et la Jeune Professionel de Madagascar au FIDA Rome les rejoignirent.

Avec 3 rencontres prévues dans l’agenda, les esprits se libéraient pour laisser place à la découverte et à l’enrichissement :
- Accueil chaleureux au RDP, le Coordinateur n’a pas manqué de bien orienter les participants en expliquant aussi bien le cadrage général que les aspects très pratiques du projet FIDA à Maurice. Accent particulier mis sur les femmes par l’encouragement à la diversification et à l’ajout de valeur aux produits primaires ;
- Echange avec une femme à responsabilités, le point focal PNUD-IFAD/FAO a orienté la rencontre sur le partage des bonnes pratiques inter-projets ;
- En dernier mais pas le moindre, l’Agricultural Research and Extension Unit a permis aux femmes malgaches d’enrichir leurs connaissances en matière de technologie moderne aussi bien dans la production que la transformation. Le système hydroponique a sidéré plus d’un…

Les femmes malgaches ont eu l’honneur de paraître à la télévision nationale mauricienne pour mieux faire connaître leur pays et leurs activités, et pouvoir exprimer leur satisfaction,
Hélas, la fin de la journée approche, on n’a pas manqué de s’échanger les coordonnées pour pouvoir continuer incessamment ces partages si enrichissants. En tout cas, puisse chacun retenir la bonne impression sur la motivation accrue des femmes mauriciennes et leur audace à se lancer dans l’entrepreneuriat…

Sonia Mboahangy ANDRIANARIVELO
Assistante du Programme FIDA PROSPERER

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