SEATTLE — Located in the Indian Ocean, the country of Madagascar is an island nation in southern Africa. The population is vibrant and youthful. Over 60 percent are under the age of 25, and the overall fertility rate is high, with more than four children per woman. Estimates indicate that the population will continue to see rapid growth over the next several decades. With a population of about 25 million, 92 percent or nearly 23 million live below the poverty line. Most of the population lives in rural and poor communities, in which malnutrition and limited access to education and healthcare are prevalent. While the country is need of tremendous support, several organizations have met their needs via humanitarian aid to Madagascar.
SEED stands for sustainable environment, education and development. The organization has a variety of projects in several key areas including community health and education. SEED Madagascar works in remote parts of the country in which childbirth, diarrhea, coughs, colds and other treatable illnesses prove to be serious health risks. It works to provide mothers and their children with adequate healthcare and educate young adults on sexual health and STIs. SEED also supports local communities by building safe drinking water sources and providing proper sanitation methods.
Not only does it provide healthcare to communities, SEED also works to improve education access. Half of school aged children in Madagascar have never been to primary school, and state funding for education has dropped by 86 percent since 2009. Since the Malagasy government does not have the resources to provide adequate education, SEED Madagascar has worked to meet these needs and provide the necessary resources. Through the building of new schools, repairing existing buildings, providing necessary facilities and training teachers, SEED Madagascar has been able to reach thousands of Malagasy children. Its humanitarian aid to Madagascar has been impactful for communities that live in deep poverty.
Action Against Hunger
Action Against Hunger is a global organization that began working in Madagascar in 2012. Originally, its mission was to provide emergency aid following a cyclone that destroyed the homes of thousands of Malagasy. However, more than half of all children in Madagascar suffer from chronic malnutrition and more than half the country’s population struggles with food insecurity. Therefore, the organization has continued to work throughout Madagascar to fight malnutrition and hunger. In 2016, it assisted nearly 45,000 individuals by providing nutritional support, access to safe water and sanitation and the resources to become economically self-sufficient. By first providing people with basic needs, communities can then become more economically independent. Humanitarian aid to Madagascar through the work of Action Against Hunger has been able to meet the basic needs of thousands of Malagasy.
CARE has been working in Madagascar since 1992. Its mission is to address the root causes of poverty in Madagascar’s poorest communities. One of the root causes is a lack of good governance. The government in Madagascar lacks the capacity to build strong local institutions that can deliver quality public services such as healthcare and education. CARE works to address the issue by training community leaders to participate more effectively in local government. With the help of CARE, more than 100 communities work with authorities to identify the most basic needs and implement projects to improve the community, such as water pumps or community centers.
CARE has a disaster risk reduction program in Madagascar to prepare communities for potential natural disasters such as cyclones. The program put in place is an effective long-term solution that builds up the natural environment by planting trees and mangroves around vulnerable villages to serve as a barrier to cyclones.
Humanitarian aid to Madagascar has improved the livelihoods of countless individuals. The United States has also had a profound impact on Madagascar. In 2016, the U.S provided $91 million to the country, making it one of the largest bilateral donors to Madagascar. However, additional resources are still needed to improve areas such as public health and food security. Continued aid from these programs and other will ensure that these needs are addressed.
– Sarah Jane Fraser