April 2014—On a hill amidst unkempt grass and wild vegetation on the outskirts of Madagascar’s capital, Antananarivo, stands a shabby-looking wooden hut surrounded by banana trees and other makeshift shelters.
Almost half of all the children in Madagascar under age 5 are stunted due to poor nutrition. Inadequate nutrition in the first few years of a child’s life will have negative, long term physical and mental consequences. A Catholic Relief Services (CRS) development food assistance program funded by USAID aims to combat malnutrition in 592 different villages in Madagascar.
In Madagascar, the island nation off the east coast of Africa, most farmers cannot grow enough to feed their families for an entire year. Since 2009, a USAID program, implemented by CARE, works in the most rural and poverty stricken regions of Madagascar to teach farmers new farming methods and link them together to improve production.
In a small village in southeastern Madagascar, a group of 20 single women are working together to increase their incomes and their independence. For the past two years, they have benefited from a USAID program to improve food security and nutrition among nearly 100,000 vulnerable households.
When Erline in Madagascar became pregnant with her first child, her family preferred that she give birth at home because it was less expensive than visiting a health center. After all, a traditional birth attendant typically charges $5—about an average week’s pay—while a birth at a facility would require transport, food and medicine costs, and cost three to four times that amount. However, a visit from a USAID-trained community health worker helped Erline and her family understand the risks of giving birth outside a health facility. And ultimately, when they considered the health of Erline and her baby, they chose the safer option.
Last updated: April 09, 2014