Life in Madagascar

Many people's perceptions about life in Madagascar will have been formed either through visiting it as a tourist destination, through the Madagascar film franchise or by documentaries exploring its unique wildlife and landscape. The reality is, however, often very different.

Chronic political instability has seen organisations like the EU suspending humanitarian aid to one of the world's poorest countries, a country where children are being pulled out of schools, factories are closing, hospitals are struggling and running out of supplies with over half the country's children suffering from malnourishment.

The current crisis had also led to an increase in the numbers of street children in places like the Madagascan capital of Antananarivo, already home to thousands of children begging on the streets.

Life in MadagascarWith 80% of the population living in poverty in rural communities largely etching out a life on small plots of land barely 1.3 hectares in size, and with water a scare resource with more than half of all children under the age of five dying of diarrhoea in the country mainly die to a lack of sanitation.

Just 18% of Madagascar's schools have access to drinking water and only 30% have toilets ~ children are encouraged to bring in bottled water but as one youngster explains "I draw from a river close to our house. I drink it when I am thirsty, even if it is not clean." 40% of all Madagascan children suffer from malnutrition.

About Life in MadagascarThrow into this the fact that the country is regularly battered by cyclones and storms that cause widespread damage to the country's already brittle infrastructure and you can see just how harsh life is in Madagascar. The person who made the short video documentary about village life in Madagascar (below) should be given an Oscar for so beautifully capturing glimpses of life and the amusement and bewilderment on the faces of children who live in the small village of Analila in the northern Mahajanga Province of Madagascar, a village surrounded by rich rainforest where organisations like the WWF are working with locals to ensure the rainforest remains sustainable.


Life in Madagascar

Life in Madagascar

Life in Madagascar

Life in Madagascar



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Life in Madagascar

Analila is relatively small town/village of some 16,000 inhabitants with one primary school and virtually all of the villagers working on small plots of land growing cassava, maize, beans and sugarcane as well as the staple rice. In more rural villages life is even more rudimentary without electricity, running water or sanitation; only 14% of the rural population have access to water and 7.5% have access to sanitation causing health risks particularly to children under the age of five of whom half die of diarrhoea. Its shocking to think that half of the young children shown in the video won't live long enough to attend school and virtually none who survive childhood will reach their 55th birthday.

Houses are built from mud and sticks or hand made wood fired bricks with thatched roofs made of grass and dirt floors. Farming is equally basic with tools often made by hand and fields ploughed by zebu, an ox-like creature. One eight year old describes village life in Madagascar as spending time at primary school learning English, French and 'other things' then returning home to play 'it' before carrying out tasks such as carrying water to the home and helping his herder father grow rice and manage the family zebus.



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