Close your eyes for a minute and picture Madagascar. What do you see? I see miles upon miles of pristine beaches, lush green tropical forests, exotic flora and fauna and brilliant blue sea. Madagascar, an island nation of 22 million people off the southeastern coast of Africa is home to several exotic species, 90% of which are unique to the country. Because of its isolation from other landmasses, most of Madagascar’s mammals, half its birds, and the majority of its plants exist nowhere else on earth.

This former French colony who gained their independence in 1960 is also home to a lesser, more ugly reality: Poverty. According to the World Bank, 69% of the population of Madagascar lives below the national poverty line threshold of one dollar per day (2011 statistic). With poverty brings hunger, malnutrition, disease, hardship and also lack of services such as access to safe drinking water and sanitation. Although running water, electricity and sanitation are provided by the government, sadly these services do not reach all the people. Based on 2010 estimates only 34% of the rural population have access to an improved water source (World Bank).  Sanitation fared worse: 79% of the urban and 88% of the rural population live with unimproved sanitation services (2010 estimates from the CIA World Factbook).

Not having safe drinking water or adequate sanitation is a major hurdle in receiving an education. In a country with only 64.5% literacy rates, education is a key to lifting people out of poverty yet what child, especially a girl, would want to go to school without a toilet?

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Last week WaterAid launched an exciting summer campaign to help provide proper sanitation and safe drinking water to Madagascar’s children. Over the next couple of months, WaterAid aims to reach 12,000 children in 31 schools by providing 150 taps and 100 toilets in Madagascar. What is so wonderful about this campaign is that all summer long you can follow the stories and updates of the children who will be impacted as well as the progress of the construction through the celebration on September 19th when the children return to school with taps and toilets for the very first time.  

Project Sekoly: Improving School Water and Sanitation in Madagascar

In Madagascar only 41% of the population has access to safe water and 11% to sanitation. We’ve been working here since 1999 and have helped more than 177,000 gain access to safe water and 145,000 to sanitation.  – WaterAid
Tsimahavaobe primary school in the town of Morondava is one of many schools in Madagascar with no toilets, no supply of safe water, and nowhere for pupils to wash their hands. We are asking supporters to join Project Sekoly, to help fund sustainable water and sanitation facilities for desperately poor schools in Madagascar. Your support will ultimately result in the poorest children in Madagascar staying healthy, gaining a better education and having the opportunity to achieve their potential. – WaterAid
What you can do?

Over the next few weeks you can follow the story as children in Madagascar get the water and sanitation they need to keep them healthy enough to build their dreams.

Follow their story on Twitter at the hashtag #buildfutures

About WaterAid:
WaterAid was founded in 1981 and works tirelessly to provide clean water and sanitation for Africa, Asia and Central America. Since its inception, WaterAid has dramatically changed lives and has worked closely together with local organizations, communities and individuals, to employ affordable and locally appropriate solutions to provide safe water, effective sanitation and hygiene education to people in developing countries


  1. Great post, Nicole. It never ceases to amaze me that more people in the world have cell phones than access to clean water and sanitation.
    Hugs from Ecuador,

  2. Madagascar, for all it’s beauty, is the most nightmarish place I’ve ever been to, particularly the capital, Antananarivo.

    1. I’ve never been there but I can imagine given the poverty there are places that are not so good. Did you get out of the capital and see much? What was so bad about it? Curious minds want to know! 🙂

  3. I wish that all the countries in the world would have enough clean water and toilets for children to use in schools and for people to have the same clean water and use of toilets in their homes along with enough food so the people in these countries would not be facing starvation. This is so sad that in this vast world of ours there are families starving for clean water and the use of decent housing to live in let alone the huge food shortage in these other countries. I also wish there were a way to provide employment to these people and someone to train them for these jobs so they could provide for their own families and not have to do with out. It seems like the financial aid that we and other countries give them is just not enough. Will there ever be an end to the problem of starvation? Will there be a way for the world to provide clean water, decent housing for the homeless? Will there be a time in this world when everyone, even the homeless will have jobs to work at so they can live decently? I wish there were answers to these questions. Maybe someday there will be.

    1. Thanks so much for your heartfelt comment! I agree so much. That is why I try to do what I do and volunteer or help when I can. If everyone tried just a little I’m sure the world would be a better place!

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