New Alice Rowan Swanson Fellow to Establish a Community Garden and Seed Bank in Madagascar


CONTACT: Kathryn Schoenberger in Washington DC, 202 464-6979

Washington, DC (August 25, 2014)

World Learning congratulates Corey Tondreau, the newest recipient of the Alice Rowan Swanson Fellowship, which returns alumni of its undergraduate study abroad programs to their host countries to conduct human rights projects.

Tondreau, of Rochester, N.H., is a senior at the University of Vermont majoring in wildlife biology, and a spring 2013 alumna of SIT Study Abroad’s Madagascar: Biodiversity and Natural Resource Management program. She plans to use her fellowship to establish a community garden and seed bank for the Ampasy-Nahampoana commune in Mandena, Madagascar. During her SIT program, Tondreau interviewed community members of the Ampasy-Nahampoana commune and learned about their displacement from their historically held land by a mining company. As a result, the community has faced economic and physical difficulties gathering resources to sustain the community. Tondreau had a deep desire to assist the Ampasy-Nahampoana by developing a sustainable, community-run solution to relieve the effects of being displaced. During her fellowship, she will work with members of the Ampasy-Nahampoana commune to create a community garden to help feed individuals, bring the community together on their new land, and provide supplementary income for families. The project will also establish a seed bank to restore the genetic diversity of plants that were lost through deforestation from mining. Tondreau will collaborate with Azafady, a local nongovernmental organization, to train community members to manage the garden and seed bank so that these projects remain community-run and sustainable.

The family of Alice Rowan Swanson created the fellowship as a living tribute to Alice, an Amherst College alumna who died in a 2008 bicycle accident in Washington, D.C. Rowan Swanson was inspired to work in international development and human rights following her SIT Study Abroad experience in Nicaragua in 2006.