About Madagascar

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OF SPECIES ARE ENDEMIC

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POPULATION IN MADAGASCAR

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LARGEST ISLAND IN THE WORLD

Facts About Madagascar

Madagascar is located in the Indian Ocean, 400 kms east of the Mozambique coast. Close to 90% of Madagascar’s animals and plants, including its famous lemurs, are endemic, meaning they are only found on the island. 

 

Madagascar is a place where pieces and parts become repurposed tools of innovation. Washing machine motors power homemade rotary carving tools, and eye masks become breathing protection. The Malagasy people are artisans in resourcefulness and ingenuity. A common saying within the Malagasy culture is, “The Chinese make things, but the Malagasy fix them.” The majority of Malagasy people work in the agricultural sector, but there is an emerging ecotourism sector that offers great promise.

Madagascar's Poverty Cycle

LACK OF OPPORTUNITIES & RESOURCES

Madagascar is cut off from most global supply chains and has virtually no public social safety nets.

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

Environmental challenges such as deforestation, soil erosion, and habitat loss are impacting ecosystems across the nation

CLIMATE CHANGE

Rising temperatures, frequent severe droughts, changes in rainfall patterns, reduced water availability, and more are resulting in damaged infrastructure, displaced people and ruined croplands.

POOR INFRASTRUCTURE

Madagascar has one of the lowest road densities in the world, and public infrastructure remains greatly limited as a result of long-term underinvestment from the national government and foreign NGOs.

AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES

Small-scale yet widespread clearance of habitats (slash-and-burn), primarily tropical forests, has been a necessity for many communities for the purposes of subsistence agriculture and sustenance.

EXTREME POVERTY

According to the World Bank, the 2023 poverty rate in Madagascar was an astounding 80.7%, equaling $2.15 per person per day or less.

Children In Madagascar

According to UNICEF, more than 2/3 of Malagasy children live in “multidimensional poverty,” meaning without access to education, health, housing, nutrition, sanitation & safe water. Moreover, nearly half of all children in Madagascar suffer from stunted growth due to malnutrition. 

 

Further, UNICEF also notes that “children of mothers with no education are almost five times more likely to be in extreme poverty (42%) than children of mothers with secondary or higher education.” With the 2023 national poverty rate estimated at 80.7% by the World Bank, Madagascar is ranked 173rd of 191 in the 2022 Human Development Index.

Clean Water In Madagascar

13 million Malagasy people, nearly half of the population, do not have access to clean water, and only 12.3% of the population has access to basic sanitation services, according to the organization WaterAid. 

 

Water sources are often contaminated, and water quality issues are being further exacerbated by climate change and flooding issues. Deadly diarrhoeal diseases are also common, and many families can’t afford necessary medical care. Tragically, more than 6,500 children under five die a year from diarrhea.

Deforestation & Agricultural Practices In Madagascar

Deforestation is causing mass environmental and extinction concerns across Madagascar. An astounding 60% of the island’s humid primary forests is estimated to have been cleared in the last 45 years, with 25% cleared since 2000 (Global Forest Watch). According to WWF, the primary drivers of deforestation include small-holder farming, fuelwood, and cattle ranching. With roughly 73% of Malagasy people employed in agriculture, it is largely out of necessity for sustaining food security and securing livelihoods that forests are being decimated.

Further, Madagascar also suffers from soil erosion, largely due to deforestation and harsh agricultural activities that degrade the land. “The effects of deforestation have not only been severe on environment, but also on the local people and species. Deforestation impoverishes not only the land, but also the people” (Klein, 2002).

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Climate Change In Madagascar

Though only .01% of the world’s annual carbon dioxide emissions is produced in Madagascar (Green Climate Fund), the country faces countless climate-related threats, including rising temperatures & sea levels, droughts, storms, and human & environmental suffering.

 

Extreme weather from climate change is increasing the threat to food security. In 2021, Madagascar faced the most severe drought in 40+ years. Then in early 2022, Madagascar faced six storms and cyclones within just three months. 

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The Link Between Humans & Animals

Madagascar is one of the most biodiverse countries on earth. More than 89% of Madagascar’s plant and animal life cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Over 80% of Malagasy people live on less than $2 a day and are forced to resort to exploitation of natural resources to find income and support their families.

Talent is global, opportunity is not.

Research has shown that literacy and education are directly linked to attaining better quality of life. Many areas of Madagascar are isolated and have limited or no access to books and education. In order to empower the forest, we must empower the people. 

 

This understanding is key in our approach to effectively supporting sustainable development such that that people and nature can thrive together in harmony.

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