We trembled !

Should the year 2020 simply be forgotten ? One might – at Naturevolution, as in many other organisations – be tempted to believe it, to blame it for all the wrongs and to make the worst of it, as the obstacles have accumulated over the course of the past year.

With the cessation of our eco-volunteer missions, which put us in a critical financial situation, the inability to go into the field, which has been a serious thorn in the foot of the development and follow-up of our projects abroad, the inability – for a good part of the year – to work together, which has greatly complicated the task of management, efficiency and the maintenance of team cohesion, the deaths of three of our forest nursery staff in Madagascar, the exhibition at the Musée des Confluences that we hoped to be a springboard and that was first pushed back and then finally closed with barely opened, and finally to top it all off, the determination of the new Minister of the Environment in Madagascar who – deceived by a few dishonest minds – tried everything to bring us down, and I’m passing by, … I don’t hide from you that we trembled and almost landed on the ground. Others would no doubt have given up.

Personally, I have never experienced such a difficult period psychologically: a roller coaster ride, between the despair and anger of being forced to abandon a life project under threat and defamation, and the immense honour and happiness of being held back and brought back on board by the local communities themselves, eager to write with us the next pages of their history..

So we could quickly forget it, turn our back on 2020 and look for more light in 2021, more serenity, simplicity, etc.

But, that would be unfair because last year also had its good sides. First of all, because it showed us that we could count on you. More than 350 of you have supported us this year, multiplying the number of donations by 5 between 2019 and 2020. Without you, we probably wouldn’t be here anymore, and for that, we can never thank you enough.

Second, because it showed that we can be proud of ourselves, of having been able to resist, adapt and, better still, of having been able to move forward and progress in a context that gave us little chance of survival.

We were able to show solidarity and keep the whole team in place. We were able to rethink our business model, find new partners and successfully run two fundraising campaigns. We have been able to improve our communication and in particular redesign our website and the presentation of our projects. We have been able to change our habits of working remotely and maintain remote communications with the field teams in Madagascar and Indonesia in order to take our projects ever higher, projects useful for people living in conditions far worse than ours. Yes , it helps to put things in perspective !

Thus, in Madagascar in particular, despite a prolonged confinement of 6 months that prevented our project managers from going to the field, we were able to sustain all our activities and even recruit new teachers, forest nurseries and local managers, set up 2 new nurseries that will produce by 2021 almost 30,000 additional plants each, install 1 new apiary, complete the restoration and equipping of a school and a health clinic. During the COVID emergency campaign (to which many of you contributed), we were able to distribute basic necessities to nearly 4,000 households and organise free medical consultations for more than 1,000 patients. In total, almost €100,000 of funds were sent to Madagascar throughout the year.

In Indonesia, we have also been able to continue our waste collection and recycling activities as well as monitoring and protecting coral reefs in Sulawesi, notably thanks to a new boat. And this is just the tip of the iceberg !

So let’s not lie to ourselves, let’s not look back on last year with nostalgia. But we are not going to turn our backs on it either. We prefer to rely on it to take off in 2021 as we planned for 2020.

We are ready to fight tirelessly against the degradation of natural spaces and the erosion of biodiversity in our intervention areas, but also to support their inhabitants. There is no shortage of plans and our determination remains unchanged!

And I am counting on you so that together, in 2021, we can sow the seeds of change. I take the opportunity of this letter to invite you to join us by becoming monthly donors. Why would you do that ?

Because in these troubled economic times, the regularity of monthly donations gives us greater financial visibility and allows us, among other things, to better allocate and forecast our expenses and thus ensure better follow-up of projects. They also help to consolidate the association’s cash flow and partly finance the salaries of our 60 employees in France, Madagascar and Indonesia, which are essential elements for the success of the projects. On the other hand, one-off donations are very attractive for carrying out one-off projects but make it more difficult to commit to long-term actions.

For your part, your donation is withdrawn every month, on the date of your choice. You are free to change the amount of your support or discontinue it at any time. Finally, monthly donations are also tax-deductible up to 66%. For example, a donation of €30 per month equals €10 after tax deduction.

As the popular wisdom says, it is the small streams that make the big rivers. And today our beautiful planet needs oceans more than ever !

I wish you a beautiful and happy New Year.
Very friendly,

Evrard WENDENBAUM and the whole Naturevolution team

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