Ambinanibe is a fokontany (primary administrative community organisation – a group of hamlets) on the coast, 7 kilometres south of Fort Dauphin. Made up of seven hamlets, it is home to approximately 3,000 people. To the west is an inlet from the sea, which is protected by the coastal landscape and which provides shrimp fishing opportunities to villagers.
To the east is a promontory where QMM have constructed their port. Port and road construction, together with a new quarry, has directly affected the lives of people in Ambinanibe.
New restrictions mean that fishermen can no longer safely land their boats at Somatraha when weather conditions are bad. Bevava, an alternative landing strip, is too exposed to the waves, and the fishermen refuse to use a site built by QMM next to the port, as they consider it too dangerous. The matter is under review with the new regional administration.
Fishing is the principal livelihood and involves all members of the community, including the women, who are responsible for selling fish caught by the men. Some also create income through weaving and catching shrimp and small fish. Approximately 150 villagers were employed by the QMM mine but have been made redundant now that the port construction phase is complete. A new road that connects the quarry to the town means that villagers can now access bus transport into Fort Dauphin more easily to sell their products.
Areas around Ambinanibe have been appropriated by the mining company for road and port construction, which has reduced access to farmland, the collection of shrubs for fuel and privacy for personal sanitation. Many villagers have lost their land and compensation is reported as 100 MGA/square metre, although some say 400 MGA/square metre. The compensation process and accompanying issues are being reviewed with the new regional government.
QMM opened a primary school this year and in 2007 built a health centre in Lohalovoky hamlet. However this centre awaits a new doctor and only one midwife currently supports the community’s health needs. A small number of international and local agencies implement health projects in Ambinanibe, including water and reproductive health initiatives, and QMM supports various social programmes for fishing and literacy.
It appears that the World Bank has promised a number of infrastructure supports to Ambinanibe but these have yet to materialise, as World Bank funding has been halted due to the current political unrest in Madagascar.
The village and beach are visited by tourists and foreign workers, some of whom do not respect the local fady (customary taboos) or the environment.