In Madagascar, children dream of the chance to get an education, but for most, the obstacles are too great. Remote rural schools lack everything from classrooms, water and toilets to teachers and books. Children are often too hungry or sick to study, and parents can barely afford the fees.
MfM aims to bring hope and prosperity to Madagascar’s forgotten children through an integrated programme for rural primary schools. Education for Life (Ed4life) works with communities to provide: new classrooms, clean water and toilets, books, teacher training, environmental education, kitchen gardens, school canteens, solar power, adult literacy and income-generating opportunities for parents.
Why Education for Life?
Over 30 years of working with grass-roots organisations has convinced MfM that access to a decent education is vital if Madagascar is to make the journey from poverty to prosperity. Decades of under-investment exacerbated by recent political instability have left the nation unable to provide even basic education. With households becoming poorer (80% of the population live on less than $1/day) and spending an increasing proportion of their income on food, enrolment has significantly decreased, falling as low as 55% in some areas.
Who does Ed4life help?
We currently support over 100 schools.
- 20 schools currently receive our intensive Education for Life Programme
- 31 schools are receiving daily feeding with our Mary’s Meals partnership
- 10 locations are supported with school feeding and food growing in the wider provinces, such as in the famine-struck area of Betroky in the deep South, where we support famine-feeding in partnership with ALT and Terre des Hommes
The remainder of our schools who have participated in our intensive Education for Life Programme (and previously received support from MfM for building classrooms, toilets and water) now receive light touch support from services offered to all MfM-supported schools.
In 2023, we plan to open new Education Hubs in Itasy and Ambohidratrimo, which will act as focal points to provide a range of new strengthened support services to schools in those regions. Services there will include training and mentoring for teachers, parents and students in academic subjects and vocational skills such as food growing.
The schools are mostly clustered in the Regions of Itasy, Miarinarivo and Analamanga, with a few additional schools supported in the East, West and South. Some of our school locations can be seen on the website map.
How does Ed4life work?
To see Education for Life in action, watch this 30-minute video or read on…
Firstly the basic amenities such as classrooms, latrines and water are installed or renovated. Then Ed4life committees made up of parents and teachers are founded at each school to drive the integrated Ed4life programme. This programme provides the following activities, which strengthen the health and learning of students, teachers and parents at each school:
- Teachers are trained in basic pedagogic methods;
- A school resource library is established in each school –including textbooks and teaching aids;
- A kitchen garden is established in each school to provide nutritious food for new school canteens;
- A canteen is established in each school, offering nutritious food to all pupils;
- Students, parents & teachers are trained in improved organic food production as a long-term investment in nutrition and a potential source of increased income;
- Worm composting units are established in each school to improve yield of fruit and vegetable and to provide a means of generating school income;
- Parents receive agricultural training, join literacy classes and boost their start-up businesses to help them face the challenge of meeting school costs;
- Improved sanitation facilities and training in good hygiene practices are provided to avoid absence due to gastrointestinal illness.
- Solar kits provide lighting and audio-visual learning facilities.
MfM runs the programme in partnership with school staff, parents and students, with the full support of local and regional education authorities and other agencies.
Below you can watch a testimonial from one beneficiary, a mother who had never been to school before and who had the courage to join MfM’s parental literacy course so they could support their children’s education.
What are the benefits of Ed4life?
Communities involved in the programme should benefit from the existence of local schools that are able to provide safe, clean learning environments where village children can all access a decent education from trained, motivated teachers. Enhanced curriculum, combined with improved teaching practices and educational resources, enables schools to produce better-educated children who are capable of continuing to further education and training- ultimately able to choose whether to feed and support themselves through sustainable agricultural practices or through gaining alternative employment beyond the community.
Each school receives support for 3-4 years. At the end of the funding period, we expect the following outcomes to have been achieved:
- A significant improvement in the quality of teaching.
- An increase in parental income and the consequent ability of parents to afford school fees and other school costs.
- An increase in attendance rates and a decrease in dropout rates.
- Improved nutrition due to consumption of school garden produce.
- Improved nutrition contributes to better attendance and performance of pupils.
- A decrease in absenteeism due to sickness as a result of the assimilation of WASH messages.
- A significant increase in pupil attainment.