Meet our new Executive Director: From Madagascar’s national coalition to the PWYP International Secretariat

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I first came across Publish What You Pay in 2019, shortly after joining Transparency International Madagascar (TI-MG) as Executive Director. Just a few months in, I received an invitation to attend PWYP’s Global Assembly in Dakar and I thought it was a mistake! Whilst TI-MG was an active member of PWYP, I wasn’t known in the PWYP network yet. Nonetheless, I decided to go to Dakar, along with two other members of our coalition, and what I discovered there – a welcoming, powerful community of dedicated campaigners aiming at “extracting the truth” – changed my life. 

Let me tell you a little more about how I came to be here. You might know Madagascar from a popular cartoon, but the reality here is far from the fun and adventure depicted on the big screen. Unfortunately, almost 80 percent of our population lives in extreme poverty, on less than two dollars a day. At school, I saw firsthand how my classmates who had more were treated differently. At home, I witnessed how my mother was struggling to offer me and my brother a decent education. These early experiences shaped my pursuit of equity. 

I lost my father when I was just 11, in tragic circumstances, and my mother became the pillar of our family. She taught us about integrity, the sense of justice, humility and hard work and, despite many hardships, she remained the embodiment of joy and happiness. What a strong woman! When she passed away, also in awful circumstances, in 2016, I thought my world was going to collapse again, but her words kept me going. “Always do what is good”, she said. Her courage and wisdom have constantly guided my life and career, and I am grateful for that. 

Driven by these values which are ingrained in my personal history, I have spent over twenty years engaged in volunteer work within civil society. I started in high-school, with the dream of contributing to the democratisation of my country. After years of investing myself in citizens’ political empowerment, and attempts of building nonviolent civil resistance, along with my professional career in the energy sector, I found all these efforts ruined by a recurrent obstacle: corruption. 

Corruption is a pervasive issue in Madagascar, affecting every sector of society, and in particular our natural resources. Madagascar is not only rich in forests and biodiversity, it is also rich in minerals with mining prospects not necessarily designed to answer the needs of local populations. This led me first to TI-MG, and then to my election as the (volunteer) Vice-Chair of the Transparency International global movement, in November 2023. 

But, ultimately, this situation and my experience led me to renew PWYP Madagascar in 2020 to build the collective power of civil society in my country to stand up to corruption, mismanagement and abuse in the extractive industries. 

Since then, I have worked with the PWYP network to fight for justice for local communities around Rio Tinto’s QMM mine, secure more contract transparency in Madagascar through the #DiscloseTheDeal campaign, bring our voice to global advocacy spaces like the UNFCCC COP, and build a regional collective campaign for #JustAfricaMinerals. And in 2022, when I faced legal threats for blowing the whistle against corruption, the PWYP network stood with me and called for the judicial harassment to end. I know the heavy price corrupt people want us to pay for standing against injustice, and this is unacceptable to me. This is the reason why I am fiercely involved in the #FreeGubad campaign. Exposing the truth is not a crime, and defending the defenders is crucial in our collective engagement towards a cleaner and fairer world. 

As I step into another leadership role in PWYP,  this time as the Executive Director of the PWYP International Secretariat, I continue to be in awe of our remarkable PWYP members in every region of the world, fighting for equity, justice and accountability in the most challenging contexts. And I commit to use my experience in a national coalition to strengthen our collective impact as a global network. 

I am thankful to all those – individuals, organisations and think tanks – who helped me grow and shaped who I am today. The high-school teenager who once dreamt about democracy is still there, somewhere inside me; but she has sparkled into a fighter whose best weapons are her passion for social justice, her belief in people power and her academic background, coupled with the magic of collective action. 

Lend me a hand, good people! Together, we will make a difference!

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