Madagascar is one the world’s poorest and most vulnerable countries to natural disasters. Frequent cyclones and tropical storms batter the island nation, devastating communities and making it hard for families to break the cycle of poverty and constant rebuilding. At the same time, thousands of families are susceptible to droughts and locust invasions.
Madagascar’s geographic isolation is also a struggle, especially for small communities in the northeast of the country. Many communities can only be reached by water or on foot. Illnesses caused by the lack of safe drinking water and poor hygiene are one of the major problems for families.
Communities in the south struggle each day to find water to survive. Since 2015, the region has also been affected by a prolonged drought. The El Niño phenomenon in 2016 exacerbated the situation, leaving more than a million people thirsty and starving. In September 2016, the Government of Madagascar declared a national emergency and requested aid from the international community.
WHAT WE DO
Safe Drinking Water – Medair travels to remote communities to bring solutions to long-standing water issues. In the northeast, we drill wells and install hand-pumps and gravity-fed systems, and we train local residents to maintain the new equipment so they can pass it on to the next generation. Medair is currently studying practical but viable solutions to bring water to communities in the south.
Hygienic Toilets – In the flood-prone town of Maroantsetra, Medair facilitates the construction of environmentally safe toilets that include a dedicated shower area to promote improved hygiene and overall wellbeing. These toilets are available to families at a highly subsidized price to ensure affordability. In remote communities, we also train local craftsman in how to build hygienic toilets.
Promote Hygiene – Medair uses creative methods like puppet shows, cartoons, and open-air movies to teach people about the life-saving importance of hand-washing and other good hygiene practices. We train “Village Volunteers” to carry this kind of crucial information into their communities and to encourage people to adopt healthier hygiene habits.
Emergency Response – Madagascar is very vulnerable to climate change and natural catastrophes. To provide the Malagasy population with lifesaving aid, Medair has set up a national emergency response team that will deploy if needed. Medair is also planning to respond to the humanitarian crisis in the south of the country where people are in desperate need of potable water.