The fight against open defecation launched for 380,000 people in the South-east

07 August 2020
L'Ambassadeur de la Corée visite une école primaire appuyée par UNICEF à Manakara
L'Ambassadeur de la Corée visite une école phare dans le respect de l'hygiène à travers l'appui de l' UNICEF dans la commune rurale d'Ambohidrova, Manakara

The Ambassador of Korea visits a flagship school that is hygiene-friendly through the UNICEF support in the rural municipality of Ambohidrova, Manakara

MANAKARA, January 31, 2020: The project for “accelerating access to water, sanitation and hygiene through community-based approaches in Madagascar”, aims to improve the state of health and survival of 380,000 people in the Vatovavy Fitovinany and Atsimo Atsinanana Regions.

Launched today in Manakara, this 2.5-million-dollar project – funded by the Korean Agency for International Cooperation (KOICA) and implemented by UNICEF – will target 41 municipalities in the two regions that will fight against open defecation. It will also ensure the sustainability of the results achieved through the community-led total sanitation, market-based sanitation, the WASH program in schools and basic health centers and the promotion of menstrual hygiene.

Through this program, 190,000 women and 190,000 children including 10,000 schoolchildren will benefit from the improvement of their health and survival. Vatovavy Fitovinany and Atsimo Atsinanana are among the areas with the highest rate of open defecation: more than 2 in 3 people still practice outdoor defecation, i.e. 1.7 million people. According to the results of the latest Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) 2018, less than one percent of the population of the 2 regions have access to basic drinking water, sanitation and hygiene. In addition, they are the worst regions in terms of handwashing with soap: only 5.7% (V7V) and 4.2% (AA) of households have handwashing device with soap and water, compared with a national average of 23.0%.

This situation affects the nutritional and health status of the population of the two regions, who are often exposed to natural disasters such as cyclones and droughts. Hence, the support of Korea through KOICA which signed an agreement with the Malagasy government and UNICEF in September 2019. The collaboration consists of integrating 30 new municipalities and 11 ones – that have already eliminated open defecation – into the UNICEF sanitation program, in order to ensure the sustainability of the results achieved and to support households in climbing the sanitation ladder.

Before the ceremony, the authorities present at the event, including the Ambassador of Korea LIM Sang-woo, the representative of the Ministry of Water, Hygiene and Sanitation and the Representative of UNICEF, Michel Saint-Lot, visited the town of Ambohitrova –  a flagship municipality in the fight against open defecation in this region – thanks to UNICEF interventions. In his speech, the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea stressed that “South Korea, through KOICA and its support for UNICEF, is happy to participate and provide means for achieving the objectives set by the Malagasy government in terms of access to drinking water and sanitation. Being a country that has gone through the same development challenges not long ago, Korea is ready to share its experience with Madagascar and to work with the country's authorities for the emergence of Madagascar."

Through its intervention, UNICEF will count on the collaboration with local actors for the contribution to the local economy and also for the marketing of weather-resistant materials. Local entrepreneurs will ensure the sale and installation of improved latrines. As for menstrual hygiene management, groups of women will also work on the production and sales of reusable sanitary pads.

"Today, we have a national roadmap that guides us in achieving the regional sanitation goals; UNICEF – with the support by KOICA – is ready to support the government in facing this great challenge. We are rolling up our sleeves today to work with leaders, mothers, teachers, doctors, children in the 41 communes, to ensure a healthier future in their communities," said Michel Saint-Lot, UNICEF Representative in Madagascar.

Habits are changing at the community level, as shown by Sarah and Perlin, who systematically wash their hands after going to the bathroom.

Pélagie RAVELOARISOA, leader of the Mahatsinjo women’s association of Vondrozo Farafangana confirms that they have created a field of fruit trees in the place where the population used to defecate before. The association has had good harvests.






Media Contacts

Timothy James Irwin
Chief of Communication
UNICEF Madagascar
Tel: +261 32 23 600 05
Fanja Saholiarisoa
Communication Officer
UNICEF Madagascar


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