Mileine Ollivier’s mission in Manakara - Madagascar

Claude and Mileine OLLIVIER, International Solidarity Volunteers (VSI) with the Catholic Delegation for Cooperation (DCC) went to Manakara in south east Madagascar on a one-year mission.

Both retired, Claude worked as a management consultant and business advisor and Mileine taught in a vocational high school and later became a marriage guidance and family counsellor. They both felt ready and in shape to take part in this great VSI project which is the culmination of their involvement in various international solidarity associations and movements.

Mileine & Claude OLLIVIER

Passionate about plants and in particular Artemisia, Mileine contacted La Maison de l’Artemisia in Paris in early 2020 and together we decided to entrust her with the mission of opening a House of Artemisia in Manakara, a region in south east Madagascar where malaria is rampant.

After completing the administrative procedures and several postponed departures due to the health crisis, they flew to Madagascar on January 9, 2021.

Mileine explains her approach and the different stages of her work in Manakara and the region

“Mileine, can you explain how you went about conducting your Artemisia mission?”

My retrospective

Starting in March 2020:

  • First contacts:

– I received information from Jean Lichou, President of MICROFEL who had already been in contact with La Maison de l’Artemisia, via Thor, an agricultural worker.

– I contacted Lucile by mail who replied “Do you want to work with us in South-East Madagascar?”

  • I researched information on Artemisia and its uses (Lucile Cornet Vernet’s website and book) in order to build up my knowledge and know-how.
Mileine with Obin & Thor

In the field, in the Manakara region

  • I used information from the mission reports of Gérard Germain (2018) and Diane de Jouvencel (2019). Real databases, crucial for my arrival in January 2021..

  • I teamed up with Thor Ringsbus Randrianambinina, the leading producer of Artemisia annua in the region, and with him I experimented with planting seeds (soil, season, compost, substrate…), and crop management.

  • I met and exchanged ideas with Thor, Raphaël, Luciano, P Luca, Rose… Keys points were: observing the first trials, listening, sitting on the mat, being curious, learning, meeting people, experimenting, organising, anticipating, learning by doing, and staying enthusiastic.

  • I stayed in close contact with Diane, Lucile and Audrey in France and with the international WhatsApp network of La Maison de l’Artemisia.

  • I contacted the first Malagasy House of Artemisia, in Port Bergé and started selling the bags of herbal tea I bought from them.

Mileine & Claude with the team
  • I started to spread information on the benefits of the two Artemisias and experiment with different groups: schools, farmers’ organisations (FOs), dispensaries (Basic Health Centres – BHCs), St-François d’Assise farm, nurseries, parishes, villages, missions…

  1. I organised training and awareness sessions of 2 to 3 hours, called “Family Training” to inform, raise awareness, tell stories (kamashibaï, Powerpoint, conferences…), distribute the pictorial protocol for prevention and care of malaria attacks…
  2. I organised the first 3-day training of Artemisia Ambassadors and Producers.
  • I expanded this tandem to create a multidisciplinary Artemisia team.

  • I identified people to team up, brought them together, dreamed together about an Artemisia project for the region, planned, acted, celebrated… got it wrong, started over.

  • I continued experimenting: picking, drying the first crops…

  • With Thor, we identified, the future Coordinator (Obin Brunel Randretsivaly) and facilitated his arrival and training through an Artemisia course in Port Berge. Together we:

  1. made initial investments in the House of Artemisia in Manakara,
  2. developed the marketing locations,
  3. prepared the first budgets and accounting tools.

“Being together, working together … being on site, then further away (I returned to France from late November 2021 to mid-March 2022) and trusting, summarise this exciting mission in which I have been able to use skills that life has allowed me to develop… I am immensely grateful! “

Obin Brunel RANDRETSIVALY took over as the Coordinator of the Manakara House of Artemisia in October.

Obin & Thor

Obin, Thor and the Artemisia team will carry out all the necessary actions to fulfil the objectives of the project:

  1. Participate in the fight against malaria in Madagascar and more particularly in the Great South East Region, by organising an Artemisia chain “From the nursery to the cup” according to the principles of the Social and Solidarity Economy;
  2. Organise Outreach sessions (3 hrs), Training (3 days) of “ARTEMISIA AMBASSADORS” and producers, in order to change behaviour;
  3. Introduce the population to the uses and benefits of Artemisia;
  4. Organise advocacy with local and national authorities.

A big THANK YOU to Mileine and Claude and good luck to Obin for the future!

To find out more about Mileine and Claude’s mission click here: