Caring for Women and Children in Madagascar

A mother and her three-year-old son stand in front of their home in the remote region of Maroantsetra in northeast Madagascar.

For most of us, daily chores like cleaning the dishes or washing the laundry require almost no effort other than popping them into the washing machine. For Lisy, however, who lives in the remote region of Maroantsetra in northeast Madagascar, these chores are very challenging. Each day, she has to walk several hundred metres from her house to the river at the edge of the village to wash her dirty dishes and laundry and to collect water to use at home.

The toughest part is the walk back. Not only does she have to carry her clean dishes and heavy wet laundry on her hip all the way home, she also has to balance a heavy bucket full of water on her head. Sometimes, when the load is too heavy, one of her young children helps her.

For many women in the remote region of Maroantsetra in northeast Madagascar, their closest water source is unsafe to drink.

Lisy lives in a remote region where roads and bridges are practically non-existent and the dirt tracks become impassable as soon as the heavy cyclone rains hit. Though this region is hard to reach, this is where Medair’s team, the only NGO in the area, is working diligently to bring safe drinking water to more communities.

Unfortunately, fetching water every day is not the only challenge Lisy faces. The water she collects from the river can be unsafe to drink. That means that Lisy and her children constantly worry about falling ill. In fact, a couple of weeks ago, Lisy had to walk several miles from her village to the nearest health centre with her four-year-old daughter, who had a very high fever.

Luckily, Lisy, and many women and mothers just like her in her community, will soon have better access to close-by safe drinking water. With your help, Medair has installed more than 250 hand-pumped water points in the last two years in the hard-to-reach region, giving safe drinking-water access to more than 32,000 people.

Few things are more important for protecting lives than providing safe drinking water.

Safe drinking water closer to home can change a woman’s life drastically. In a culture where women carry most of the responsibility for household tasks and child care, this can result in more time and energy to spend with the children and even earn an income.

Now that’s something to raise a glass to!

Learn more about our work in Madagascar bringing safe drinking water to remote communities.