Madagascar faces natural disasters, usually in the form of cyclones, on an almost annual basis. The frequency and ferocity of these natural phenomena have intensified in recent years due mainly to climate change.
MfM runs appeals from time to time to help communities in Madagascar as a result of these natural disasters. However MfM looks beyond the disaster relief and tries to help local communities to build in disaster resilience so that they are better prepared and do not face total devastation when these events occur.
Chronic hunger and vulnerability to climate change in Madagascar:
In the 2017 Global Hunger Index, Madagascar was ranked 4th poorest country on earth. 92% of the, primarily rural, population live below the poverty line and 47% of children under the age of five face stunting due to chronic malnutrition (World Food Programme 2019). Regular extreme weather events, such as cyclones, droughts and floods worsen the case of hunger in Madagascar damaging or destroying crops, homes and infrastructure. The prevalence of such events is set to increase over time. Madagascar has been identified as one of the 20 nations most vulnerable to climate change (ref). Climate change will disproportionately affect smallholder farmers and make their livelihoods even more precarious. Malagasy farmers are particularly vulnerable to any shocks to their agricultural system owing to their high dependence on agriculture for their livelihoods, chronic food insecurity and lack of access to formal safety nets
MfM’s interventions in Analamanga: from disaster relief to building resilience:
Since 2009 Money for Madagascar (MfM) and their partner WTDM have been working to support the development of vulnerable communities in the Analamanga region, peripheral to the capital city, Antananarivo. Initially, work focused on provision of clean drinking water supplies. However, in April 2017, in the wake of a prolonged drought followed by cyclone ENAWO, MfM felt compelled to provide emergency response and early recovery support. Undertaking this work highlighted the poor food security and on-going vulnerability of households in these communities to natural disaster. Although emergency response is important, MfM’s focus is on helping people develop agency to solve their own problems. For this reason, in December 2017 MfM and WTDM embarked on a pilot project to help 7 communities increase their food security by improving agricultural production and reducing the impacts of climate hazards. Evaluation after 1 year suggests that the approach taken has been beneficial with regards to developing a diverse, sustainable and resilient agricultural base at the household level. However, it has also highlighted the need to:
Ensure farmers have improved access to early warning systems and disaster preparation techniques
Further develop and strengthen farmer organisational structures, access to credit, access to markets
Further develop alternative income generating activities
Ensure that the farmer to farmer approach to spreading technological innovation will effectively cascade benefits to significant numbers of new households each year
Ensure sustainability of the improvements by developing linkages with other key actors (government bodies, NGOs and Business) at a regional and national level who are working to strengthen climate resilience.