Madagascar is located in the Indian Ocean, 400 kms east of Africa. Close to 90% of Madagascar’s animals and plants are only found on the island. Madagascar was isolated for such a long time not only from Africa, but the entire world. This allowed animals and plants to grow and evolve freely. Lemurs are only found on this island for example. 89% of Madagascar’s plant species are found nowhere else in the world also.
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 people work in the agriculture sector, but there is a general feeling that ecotourism is an emerging industry and could work much like it did for Costa Rica.
More than 2/3 of Malagasy children live without access to education, health, housing, nutrition, sanitation & safe water. Nearly half of all children in Madagascar suffer from stunted growth due to malnutrition. “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” – Unicef UNICEF projects The poverty rate is estimated to be above 80%. 4.8 million people will need humanitarian assistance in 2023 Madagascar is ranked 173rd of the 191 in the 2022 Human Development Index.
Deforestation is causing plants animals & fungi to go extinct. 60% of forests are estimated to have been cleared in the last 45 years. Roughly 73% of the population is employed in agriculture for sustaining food security and securing livelihoods. Madagascar also suffers from soil erosion, largely due to deforestation and harsh agricultural activities that degrade the land like slash and burn. “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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.01% of the world’s annual carbon dioxide emissions is produced in Madagascar. -Green Climate Fund Yet the country faces countless climate-related threats, including rising temperates & 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 yrs. Then in early 2022, for the first time, Madagascar faced six storms and cyclones within just three months. The future needs sustainable food and agriculture.
Madagascar is one of the most bio-diverse 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 is directly linked to a better quality of life. Several areas of Madagascar are also 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 so that people and nature can thrive together in harmony.
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