Improving access to basic hygiene and sanitation

Promoting hygiene is essential to staying healthy. In southeast Madagascar, Medair continues to support communities made vulnerable by Cyclone Freddy in February 2023.

Célia with her son

Célia is a 21-year-old single mother living in the rural commune of Mahatsara Iefaka. She dreams of becoming a nursing assistant, and even completed her BACC, but has had to put her ambitions on hold as she is now a single mother and lacks the financial means to continue her studies. Since her husband left, she has been living with her parents, and like many girls in her village, weaves hats, baskets and mats with plant fibres to provide for her family.

Célia with her son, little brother and grandmother smiling after receiving their WASH kit.

After Cyclone Freddy struck in February 2023, over 79,000 people suffered, and many homes and water points were destroyed, making access to water and basic needs difficult. To support Célia, and others like her, Medair intervened to provide WASH – water, sanitation and hygiene – kits.

The Medair team distributed supplies and conducted an awareness-raising campaign centered on four key areas:

  • Hand washing
  • Preserving the drinkability of water
  • Menstrual hygiene
  • Use of hygienic latrines

Célia shares her experience with receiving their kit: “We really needed this kit! The cyclone literally destroyed everything in our house, including our crops and kitchen utensils.”

She continued: “The menstrual hygiene kit was a surprise for me, because the girls in my village often neglect this aspect of hygiene. They didn’t know how to use it until you told them about good hygiene practices. Thank you again, Medair, because now I’m sure that my son and I will stay healthy, thanks to your intervention.”

Célia and her family proudly showing the contents of their WASH kit.

Célia and her family with the contents of the WASH kit in their hands

Medair continues to work in southeast Madagascar to improve the lives of communities made vulnerable by Cyclone Freddy.

Thanks to ECHO funding from the European Union, the distribution of WASH and menstrual hygiene kits in the commune of Mahastara Iefaka has helped over 1,000 households in the Vatovavy region.