Madagascar:
Across-the-board support in one of the poorest countries in the world

Helping to alleviate people’s needs in a sustainable way

The perfect travel destination and the struggle for survival

For tourists, the country off the east coast of Africa is a unique natural paradise and a welcoming travel destination. However, most of the island nation’s population in the Indian Ocean is struggling to survive every day. Clean water, healthcare services or educational and employment opportunities are unattainable for many Madagascans. Hunger is an everyday confidant, especially for children. There are many street children, some of them incredibly young, and a breakout of the plague or cholera is common. Infections caused by tuberculosis are also comparatively frequent and difficult to treat with the resources available.

Compared to the rest of the world, the country occupies one of the lowest rankings on the national poverty scale. In 2022, for example, Madagascar was ranked 173rd out of 191 countries in the Human Development Report. Even though living conditions have slowly improved over the past decades, the majority of the population lives on the edge.

Infographic map of Madagascar

Hardship wherever you look

Facts and figures about life as a Madagascan

“The living conditions upset me a great deal”

Susanna Deichmann, Deputy Chairwoman of the DEICHMANN Foundation

I actually thought I’d already seen a lot of hardship and poverty, but the living conditions of Madagascans in the poor districts of the capital Antananarivo and in the rural areas really upset me. Their hopelessness – not the slightest prospect of improving their plight or for the country’s economic recovery exceeded anything I’ve experienced so far. Today, over three quarters of the population live in extreme poverty.

Madagascar is one of the most malnourished countries in the world. The literacy rate is just 65%, and only a few Madegas have access to clean water.

Even today, there are still outbreaks of the plague … These statistics, figures and facts speak for themselves. It may sound clichéd but reading them is easier than seeing what they mean with your own eyes. At the same time, there are beautiful, scenic regions. When flying over the island, the basic conditions for farming and trading seem promising but the island is increasingly afflicted by droughts, vermin and sandstorms and most of the jungle has been cleared. Breathtaking beauty and heartbreaking affliction cohabit here side by side making it hard to comprehend. I’m incredibly grateful that with the Foundation we can support many people in the country, helping them improve their living conditions”.

Susanna Deichmann,

member of the board of the DEICHMANN Foundation, visited the country before the start of the project to gain her own impression about the situation and the the help needed for Madagascans.

Why we’re getting involved in Madagascar

We were looking for a country where we could offer wide-ranging engagement and support. 

The Foundation was looking for a country where it could launch a further mission:

  • Where a large portion of the population lives in extremely challenging conditions.
  • Which was not the focus of the major development cooperation organisations.
  • Which is conflict-free and, therefore, offers a stable fabric for making sustainable investments seem realistically possible.

In 2023, the choice fell on Madagascar. In this island country, the DEICHMANN Foundation has identified trustworthy organisations with which it will cooperate on various projects enabling communities to help themselves quickly. “We only want to give people as much support as needed, enabling them to become self-sufficient again as quickly as possible. “We’ve excellent partners for achieving this goal”, Jakob Adolf, DEICHMANN Foundation project coordinator, says, who lived and worked in the country from 1997 to 2009.

Project partner

Water and Healthcare

Wells for providing clean water again

There are hundreds of malfunctioning wells along a strip on the east coast that is more than a 1,000 km long. Together with a selected partner, the Foundation will restore numerous facilities, ensuring they provide clean water for at least 15 years. An additional important sustainability knock-on effect is that communities will then need far less firewood for boiling water.

Thus, this project will contribute to significantly reducing carbon emissions resulting from combustion. In addition, the risk of people falling ill from drinking contaminated water will be reduced. Today, drinking water contaminated by bacteria leads in many cases – especially in children – to various life-threatening diseases.

Partner

Sanitap supports communities at risk from climate change. The social enterprise helps them build resilience, save lives, and protect the environment. The solutions offered by Sanitap include water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).

Treating the sick

Reaching a doctor is extremely difficult in rural areas of Madagascar. Doctors often lack the necessary equipment for treating patients. With a third partner, the Foundation is tackling this problem covering large districts of the country far away from the capital city. Two off-road vehicles will be outfitted as mobile clinics. They can be quickly set up on site.

The partners coordinate tasks and provide training and further education for the medical professionals who work on a voluntary basis. They are doctors who live in the country and are familiar with the communities, the diseases affecting them and reliable treatment methods.

Partners

HoverAid is a European aid organisation operating in Madagascar. In addition to off-road vehicles, HoverAid uses hovercraft to reach isolated communities which cannot be reached using other means of transport. The organisation is responsible for coordinating tasks in the project and provides the non-medical staff who travel with the clinics.
Mobile Hilfe Madagaskar is an aid organization that offers various medical services in Madagascar. It oversees the training and further education of the doctors in the project.
MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship) offers air transport services to mission associations, churches and humanitarian organisations – including in Madagascar. In the Mobile Clinics project, it supports the transport of people and goods.

Contact

DEICHMANN foundation
Deichmannweg 9
Germany 45359 Essen

Phone: +49 201 8676-15222
e-mail: stiftung@deichmann.com

Account for donations

Deutsche Bank Essen
IBAN DE68 3607 0050 0301 1590 01
BIC:   DEUTDEDEXXX

Responsibility

Through our work, we continuously contribute to achieving the sustainability goals of the globally coordinated 2030 Agenda.

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