Fernando is from a remote farming village about five hours walking distance from Maroantsetra and is the first Madagasi student to study at EARTH. Fernando grew up working with his parents planting rice, cassava and cloves, but at age 14 he left his village to pursue an education in the city.
After graduating high school he was accepted to the African Leadership Academy (ALA) in South Africa. There, he was inspired to create a women’s empowerment and leadership organization to implement back home. He pitched the idea to a friend working at UNICEF, who wrote a proposal and got funding for the project, and in 2014, Fernando become the co-founder of Youth First Mada, an NGO in Madagascar that promises to “take action, advocate and inspire” a new generation in Madagascar.
Fernando sees his education at EARTH University as yet another tool that will help him to achieve his ultimate goal of a more sustainable Madagascar. “I am passionate about agricultural sustainability and environmental protection. We are so rich in biodiversity but poor in knowledge about how to protect our resources.”