Famiova Weaving Collective is an association of 15 women from Ranomafana who are experts in creating high-quality woven goods. The collective has three stores in Ranomafana, and two stores double as weaving studios with several looms.
Claire Odette, president of the collective, has been with Famiova since the beginning. In 2004, Centre ValBio sent Odette and 14 other women to the city of Ambalavao for training with weaving experts. Odette had some weaving experience from her youth, but the training gave her the skills to create a successful cooperative.
Although 15 women attended the original training, ten of them left the cooperative because it took too long to make a profit. Today, only four of the women are part of the original 15, and they have trained 11 new hires.
Famiova Weaving Collective’s specialty is cotton and silk scarves, and some of the women do embroidery as well. Odette says that the collective is improving the women’s lives in general, and each member of the collective weaves about two or three scarves a week.
Centre ValBio would not be the renowned research station that it is without its extraordinary staff. Get to know a handful of the CVB staff members by reading below.
Pascal Rabeson-National Director
Before joining CVB staff to research on a medicinal plant project in 2003, Pascal Rabeson received his Master’s in Ichthyology and Fish Farming from the Fishery Technical Institute of Russia, and his Master’s in Ecology from the University of Georgia. After working on the plant project for three years, Rabeson became the Coordinator of Monitoring Partnerships for CVB until he was appointed to National Director in 2015. Now, he is responsible for overseeing all of CVB’s operations and projects. Rabeson’s favorite project that CVB created is Participatory Ecological Monitoring because it involves the community surrounding the center. “Before this place became a protected area, the community was here. Now, there is a protected area and a research station, and the community is still here. And I’m sure for the future, whatever happens to the protected area, the community will still be here,” Rabeson explains. He admires that researchers like Dr. Patricia Wright do not only focus on their projects, but they instead include their research into the community as a whole.
Solo Ramorasata-Head Chef
Solo Ramorasata started in the culinary industry in 2001 as the chef at Hotel Domaine Nature, and became Head Chef at CVB in 2006. Ramorasata is responsible for preparing the daily three-course meals for CVB guests and researchers with his 12-person kitchen staff. Ramorasata’s favorite thing to make is pastries, and he loves to share his cooking with the guests at CVB.
Mariette Razanajoanina- Consultant
Mariette Razanajoanina is from originally Fianarantsoa, but she was a primary school teacher in the nearby village of Ambatolahy from 1974-2011. During her teaching years, she worked closely with UNICEF’s Connecting Classrooms program, which connects students from developing and industrialized countries to discuss global issues. After retiring from teaching, Razanajoanina came to CVB to take care of the plants, including NamanaBe Hall’s green roof. Razanajoanina was upset that she had to leave her plants for the winter holiday, but she quickly nursed them all back to health within the past two weeks.
Raivo Rakotondely-Lab Manager
Raivo Rakotonoely studied Pharmacology at the University of Antananarvio, and became Lab Manager at CVB immediately after finishing her studies in August 2015. On top of managing, monitoring, and cleaning the two research labs at CVB, Rakotonoely is advising four CVB Pharmacology interns, and is writing her final thesis on her research with moisturizer plants.
Desire Randrianarisata- Audio-Visual Manager and Logistic Coordinator
Desire (Dede) Randrianarisata began working with Dr. Patricia Wright in 1995 as her driver. Over the course of seven years, Randrianarisata learned to be a photographer during expeditions with Dr. Wright, and he trained at Stony Brook University and the Rochester Institute of Technology for audio-visual arts. Since 2002, Randrianarisata has been in charge of all AV equipment at CVB, including the professional recording studio. The studio was built in 2013 to encourage local Malagasy artists to make music. Randrianarisata’s next endeavor will be a training program for sound recording.
Julia Rasoarimamonjy- Logistic Assistant
If you have ever or will ever visit CVB, Julia Rasoarimamonjy is one of the first people you will meet. Rasoarimamonjy has been working at CVB for the past eight years managing visitors, inventory, the ValBio Eco Shop, expedition logistics, and the five maids that keep the center beautiful. Make sure you see her for your room key and welcome package (complete with the coveted WiFi password).
Florent Ravoavy- Coordinator of Conservation Education and Outreach
Florent Ravoavy received his Master’s in Paleontology from the University of Antananarivo. His work with Dr. Patricia Wright began when he worked as a mission director for the Institute for the Conservation of the Tropical Environment from 1993-1997, and then moved on to work for Madagascar National Parks for seven years. Since 2004, Ravoavy supervises the Conservation Education Department at CVB and develops communication tools to spread the conservation message throughout the local communities. “Biodiversity is not only for the scientists or educated people,” Ravoavy explains, “conservation is only effective if it answers the real needs of the people.”
Paul Rakotonirina- Head of Research Technicians
Paul Rakotonirina was a farmer before he started working as a field guide for Dr. Patricia Wright in 1990. Now, he manages CVB’s 40 research technicians. Each technician has a specialty such as birds, amphibians, or botany, and Rakotonirina matches each research project with a research technician that best fits the needs of the researcher’s field work.
Rolland Mahavisoa- Agent of Maintenance
Rolland Mahavisoa was a cook at hotel Centre Est for eight years before joining CVB staff in 2008. Mahavisoa is responsible for checking and preparing all camping gear before researchers go out on expeditions. He is also in charge of the center’s gasoline supply, since there are no gas stations nearby. However, a gas station will be built near CVB soon.
Prisca Andriambinintsoa- Administrative Responsible
Prisca Andriambinintsoa has been working at CVB for 10 years. As the head of Administration, she manages and oversees all administrative tasks, human resources, and the kitchen staff. Currently, Andriambinintsoa is busy preparing for the My Rainforest My World Workshop, monitoring conservation projects, and party planning for the center.
Safidimiaina Jaoferalijaona and Georges Anicet Mpanaosoa- Accountants
Safidimiaina Jaoferalijaona and Georges Anicet Mpanaosoa are both from Fianarantsoa, but Jaoferalijaona has been working at CVB for three years while Mpanaosoa has been working for three months. Jaoferalijaona is responsible for managing accounts for the TEAM Project, some researchers, and employee payroll. Mpanaosoa is enjoying his first job managing CVB’s general accounts.
Anyone who visits CVB will see the intelligent, productive, and supportive community that has been created by the unique backgrounds that each staff member brings to the center.