Apprentis Solidaires is an association created under the impulse of the Aftec‘s higher training centre for apprentices (association for technological training in Catholic education). For 20 years, she has been carrying out sustainable development projects in France and abroad, promoting the skills of apprentices from various CFAs. In November 2017, ten young apprentices flew away for two weeks in Antsirabe, Madagascar. Their local action led them to collaborate with the association Ceffel, a partner of Fert.

From a first contact with SPV Felana, the action of Apprentices of Solidarity took place in the neighbourhood of Androvakely, on the outskirts of Antsirabe. SPV Felana is a Malagasy association that works to improve the living conditions of the most deprived, and to build with and for the Malagasy people a better society. It is currently operating on two sites, including a plot of land in the Androvakely district. The investment of the solidarity apprentices during this stay concerned three distinct actions:

  • A “Health” action led by apprentice pharmacy technicians,
  • An “Irrigation” project carried out by apprentices BTSA management and control of water and industrial control and automatic regulation,
  • And the establishment of a 1000 m² maraicher garden created by two apprentices in agronomy and crop production at the agricultural high school of Nermont.

At the agricultural high school in Nermont, a member of the Cneap network, Fert’s partner, the project began in the spring with the agronomic study of the potential of the SPV Felana plot in Androvakely, and the search for sponsors. The actions envisaged were the creation of a market garden, the planting of fruit trees and the establishment of a permaculture workshop. Thanks to the partnerships forged, vegetable seeds, 25kg of potato seedlings and 60 kg of raspberry trees were transported to Madagascar; indeed, thanks to the exchanges upstream with the Ceffel association, the solidarity apprentices knew that quality seeds were sorely lacking in Madagascar.

Over the two weeks of their stay, the apprentices were able to work the soil with the producers on the association’s plot, fertilize the land with locally available organic manure (zebu manure), sow, plant, water and mulch, but above all to exchange with farmers and take part in training courses on farming techniques in agroecology.

An unforgettable experience for Chloé and Cyprien, the two apprentices from Nermont who took part in this exchange:“I would never have imagined a country so poor, people with so many needs; I had the impression of bringing, at my humble level, some technical knowledge”, says Chloé. “It will remain an unforgettable experience, of great technical richness, but also human experience” Cyprien added.

This project is expected to continue over the next two years with a new cooperation with the association Électriciens sans frontières; in fact, this French association will install electricity and then drinking water, especially in the nearby school, which will offer agricultural training. Apprentis Solidaires will then take over to install computers. The area of the maraicher garden is expected to double and farmers will continue to be trained; the Ceffel association has been asked to provide training in agroecology, marshland and fruit trees to support producers engaged with SPV Felana.