Allows families in southern Madagascar to thrive, even in the face of adversity.
The family life of Fagnosea Alphonse and Masy Suzanne, respectively 40 and 39 years old, originally from Tanandava, district of Amboasary south in the Anosy region (in the south of Madagascar), have now evolved well. Even their children can recall the hardships their family experienced before.
“I still remember how hard it was for us to live on a daily basis. What bothered me the most was that our schooling was disrupted because mom and dad had no money. My parents struggled to pay for school fees and school supplies, which meant we had to stay at home several times, ”says Volasoa, the eldest daughter of the family who is now back in school.
As their basic needs were not met, the family did not hold much hope for the future; they often did not eat and their children were frequently missing from school. Additionally, at the time, the couple quarreled a lot because of this instability. “There was a lot of tension and relationship issues between us,” recalls Masy.
Life for the family improved little by little as they benefited from the integrated social protection program titled "FAGNAVOTSE” financed by the United Nations Joint SDG Fund to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, with the technical support of four of its branches.
In 2016, the family benefited from UNICEF’s FIAVOTA cash transfer program, a program set up to financially support households affected by drought and ensure the education of children. In 2020, the family received assistance from the UNFPA gender-based violence protection program as well as the agricultural insurance program implemented by the World Food Program (WFP). As part of this UNICEF FIAVOTA program, the family received the sum of 90,000 Ar for the recovery of their economic activity, as well as some items needed at home such as kitchen utensils. Additionally, the family bought goats to increase their investment. Over time, Fagnosea and Masy have found other sources of income to improve their daily lives and make ends meet.
This program guaranteed the family an allowance of 50,000 ar, or 13 USD every two months. With this sum Fagnosera and Masy secured the education of their children. Moreover, Volasoa, the eldest is now in high school, in second class, a great pride for the family.
Hope is on the horizon for this family with some relief at all levels. “We can take care of the health of our children. The doctor trusts us now, even if it happens that we do not have enough to pay for it immediately, he always consults the children, ”explains Masy.
The family was able to build their own house this year. Moreover, their couple has fewer problems as the spouses have benefited from support and psychosocial care by the social workers of the CECJ (Listening and Legal Advice Center). With this support, they have become role models for their community.
In addition, Fagnosea and Masy are affiliated with WFP agricultural insurance. They are members of a village savings and loan group called ZOTO (meaning diligence in broad translation). The objective of this association is to improve the living condition of each member. They grow vegetables on community land and actively contribute to membership fees. The savings collected will be distributed to members after 6 months according to the value paid and the social contribution is used as mutual aid in the event of death or birth of members. “We feel happy because we have been able to perform our duty not only within the family but also at the level of society” concludes Fagnosea as a message to the other families.
Unlike the other households, the effects of the drought are not as serious for the family of Fagnosea and Masy. Thanks to the financial and emotional support they have obtained, the couple are more resilient to face the shock compared to what they have experienced in the past. In two years of implementation, the program continued to strengthen the resilience of 6,000 households in southern Madagascar, more specifically in the communes of Tanandava, Ifotaka and Behara district of Amboasary.
Hope is reborn for Fangnosea and Masy, as well as their children. They manage to improve their living conditions despite the crisis resulting from the effects of the drought that hits the south of Madagascar thanks to the various supports from which they benefit, including the social protection program FIAVOTA.
Originally published on UNICEF Madagascar