Political crisis in 2009
In early 2009, Madagascar entered a period of prolonged political crisis that is having a profoundly negative impact on the lives of the country's women and children. In March 2009, the incumbent government was toppled and a transitional government established. The change was accompanied by weeks of often violent street protests in several of Madagascar's main cities. In the capital, Antananarivo, daily anti-government demonstrations often led to looting and clashes with security forces. The situation for Madagascar's women and children is critical as progress made over recent years looks set to stagnate, and circumstances for many are deteriorating.
As a result of the change of government, key donor aid was suspended, leaving Madagascar's economic situation fragile. Around 70 percent of the public investment budget was foreign finanaced. Basic social services have been eroded as national funding for health and education has diminished. This has left the country's most vulnerable women and children at even greater risk.
Since the beginning of the crisis, UNICEF has been increasing essential monitoring mechanisms of child vulnerability, and is working to disseminate and advocate the results both nationally and internationally to ensure that children are not held hostage or forgotten during this uncertain time.The situation for many is critical, and progress made in recent years towards reaching the Millennium Development Goals is at risk of being reversed. Unemployment and rising prices for goods and services mean that circumstances for many are deteriorating.
UNICEF occupies a vital role in safeguarding the rights of children, and is preparing to focus on reaching Madagascar's most excluded with crucial, life-saving interventions. UNICEF continues to support and build the capacity of local communities, organisations and institutions to enable them to better respect and protect children's rights.
UNICEF Madagascar's 'Pandora's Box' study allowed young people affected by the crisis to express their feelings on Madagascar's social unrest