Children regain their rights with the Zara Mira monthly allowance
Relief for parents: the Zara Mira program enables them to ensure their children's well-being
Sominio, a 26-year-old single mother, is raising her two children while she works as a farmer. She lives in the rural commune of Tsivory, once prosperous and recognized as the village breadbasket of the Amboasary district due to its rice production. However, the last two years have witnessed severe financial difficulties for Sominio and her community, mainly due to a devastating and persistent drought in southern Madagascar. "Before the drought, Tsivory was a large rice-producing municipality," says Sominio. "But unfortunately, our situation has changed considerably because of these climatic conditions".
"Since then, my children have encountered serious educational obstacles due to hunger and lack of financial resources for school supplies and decent school clothes. In addition, I'm stressed because of the shortage of money to face my childbirth scheduled for two months from now. Although there are free delivery kits available at the maternity ward, there are also other essential accessories and medicines that require additional costs," she added.
At one point, waiting for her third child, Sominio was thinking of giving birth at a matron's, considering the lower cost of the service and the fact that she could benefit from easier payment in multiple instalments.
Currently, she is delighted with the introduction of Zara Mira, a universal allowance program for pregnant women and children aged zero to 15, which has been set up by the government via the Ministry of Population, Social Protection and the Advancement of Women (MPPSPF) and supported by UNICEF and its partners. The program is mainly financed by the German government (KFW) for the communes of Tsivory and Itampolo. Other communes, such as Tataho and Ifotaka, also benefit from the Zara Mira program, which is financed by the German Committee, Findel and UNICEF's own funds. The aim is to enable households to invest in their children's well-being. Thanks to this program, Sominio receives a monthly allowance of 10,000 MGA as a pregnant woman, and her two children, Kafotsy, 6, and Kamboa, 4, each receive 10,000 MGA.
This program includes a strong component of supportive measures adopting the SBC (Social Behavior Change) approach, aimed at maximizing the impact of the transfer on children's well-being and generating behavioral change among parents. It also strengthens the national social protection system through the implementation of a one-stop shop to facilitate access by program beneficiaries to improved services through a single focal point of service provision.
During May 2023, the second benefit payment was made to 13,299 children under the age of 15 and 501 pregnant women in 4,546 families in the commune of Tsivory, Amboasary district, Anosy region, in southern Madagascar.
"From now on, I'll be able to ensure my children's well-being in terms of hygiene, clothing, health, food and, above all, education. I'll have no more worries or anxieties about giving birth. I'll continue to have regular prenatal consultations at the health center until delivery. I'm more at peace and free from worry because I'll be able to give birth at the maternity hospital. Soaminio receiving her pregnancy allowance and child allowance”.