“A society that cuts itself off from its youth severs its lifeline; it is condemned to bleed to death”
Kofi Annan, former United Nations Secretary-General
Caught between childhood and adulthood, adolescents’ rights are often overlooked. These rights include access to information; access to services, such as education, health, recreation and justice; a safe and supportive environment in which to develop; and opportunities to participate in society and to have their voices heard.
Many of the world’s adolescents will make the transition to adulthood in societies that are unable or unwilling to meet these basic needs. This leaves young people vulnerable at a critical stage in their development.
In Madagascar, most adolescents have poor access to life and vocational skills, limited economic prospects and little exposure to media and other sources of information. This leaves them vulnerable to exploitation as they are often unaware of their rights, and have limited means through which they can speak out about abuse and injustice.
Among females, 28 percent of 15 to 19 year olds have already given birth, forcing them to become adults before they may be ready to take on the responsibilities that motherhood entails. The minimum marriage age for females has recently been raised from 14 years to 18 years – but law enforcement to support this law remains weak.
Only four out of 100 young people in Madagascar have access to higher secondary education. Just 17 percent of males and 18 percent of females of secondary school age are enrolled, and the average Malagasy adult has completed only 4.4 years of school.
Yet it is not just adequate schooling that adolescents need to support them in the transition from childhood to adulthood. Young people also need to develop life skills to help them to overcome the challenges they face and reach maturity with confidence.
The low prevalence of HIV is in sharp contrast to high prevalence rates of other sexually transmitted diseases.
The national HIV prevalence rate in Madagascar is among the lowest rates in sub-Saharan Africa with less than 1 percent of the population affected. However, the low prevalence of HIV is in sharp contrast to high prevalence rates of other sexually transmitted infection (STIs), especially among 15 to 24 year olds. Early sexual activity and low use of condoms are major factors contributing to the spread of STIs.
Among females, 28 percent of 15-19 year olds have already given birth.
Only four out of 100 young people in Madagascar have access to higher secondary education.
Read more about life for adolescents across the Indian Ocean region - their opportunities and aspirations. Take a look at our Adolescent Study Fact Sheet.