Martina Lippuner – Media Officer, WWF-Switzerland (formerly Communications Manager at WWF-Madagascar)
When I first had the chance to go to rural Madagascar on a volunteer assignment for WWF, a whole new world opened up to me. Experiencing the realities of local people who depend heavily on natural resources, holding a dialogue about the unique biodiversity surrounding them and trying to find ways to improve their lives by promoting more efficient agricultural alternativesÂ was a once in a lifetime experience.
Myself and my fellow volunteers slept in tents or tiny huts for weeks and most meals consisted of rice and beans. I made friends for life, both with my Malagasy WWF-coworkers and the other volunteer. I fell in love with Madagascar and wanted to go back there as soon as possible.
Two years later I got a job as WWF Madagascarâ€™s Communications Manager. My plan was to stay for a year but I ended up staying four.
I loved living in Madagascarâ€™s bustling capital Antananarivo, making new Malagasy friends, getting to know their culture, and share mine with them while contributing to a great cause and amazing projects I truly believe in.
One of the projects I am most proud of is the launch of the Earth Hour campaign Â in Madagascar and that we found an African answer to this international campaign Â by promoting wood-saving stoves instead of asking people to switch off lights they donâ€™t have. The stoves we distributed during Earth Hour 2013 will have saved over 1600 hectares of unique spiny forest by the time we celebrate Earth Hour 2014!
Three weeks ago I came back to my old home, Switzerland. I am very lucky to have found a great job in the media unit at WWF Switzerland working on Swiss biodiversity (especially bear and wolves and international projects.
After all these years working for the panda, WWF is still the employer of my choice and I am convinced that the panda and all the dedicated people behind it will play an important part in bringing the change our planet desperately needs.