“C’Est Possible”: a Project Debut in Madagascar

Our project Samy Gasy tackles Madagascar’s political fragility, bringing together young leaders, government officials, media professionals, and others for training on dialogue and conflict transformation.

But, you might wonder, what do those trainings look like? Read on to find out.

Project Samy Gasy is divided into two different training programs: a specialized one and a continuous one, both of which help participants with varying skill sets improve their capacity to deal with conflict. The specialized training is composed of a series of independent 3-day sessions, targeting a different group of people each time, and focusing on identity and perceptions. The continuous training targets a group of about 30 people from different areas and backgrounds, who discuss conflict issues in Madagascar and discover ways of tackling them peacefully.

The first Samy Gasy training session was of the continuous kind. It took place in the capital Antananarivo in April, under the leadership of three Search trainers from our DRC, Myanmar, and Washington offices. A classroom full of leaders from all sectors of society kicked off the session embracing one motto: “C’Est Possible!” (it’s possible), a reminder that, when they work together, overcoming Madagascar’s frequent crises is not an unattainable goal.

trainers helped participants break the ice, meet each other, and build relationships across the barriers that divide them in day-to-day life. Later, they divided them into two groups and helped them brainstorm what they considered to be the most serious threats to Madagascar’s stability. The participants identified a few options, discussed the root causes of each problem, and imagined potential solutions. Then, the two groups reunited and debated each other’s choice, until they agreed on one. In this case, the Malagasy leaders felt that the scarcity of land is the most pressing problem faced by their country.

The other main component of the 3-day session took the shape of a competition. Groups of trainees came up with plans for peacebuilding initiatives on the ground and submitted them to our local team; over the course of the coming months, a panel of judges and ordinary citizens will select a winner, which will receive extensive coverage on our radio broadcasts.

More trainings like this one will follow during Samy Gasy’s planned 18 months of activity, converting the hopes, aspirations, and ideas of local community leaders in Madagascar into concrete, grassroots peacebuilding initiatives.

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