Madagascar has a young population – just over 60% are under the age of 25 – and a considerable birth rate. The population is predominantly poor and settled in rural areas; chronic malnutrition is prevalent and large families are common. These factors combine to create difficulties in accessing the country’s basic services, such as education and health. The Ihosy region, with a population of just under 40,000, is affected by severe and prolonged periods of drought: access to clean water has become a luxury for the local population. Every day, many villagers in the region have to walk several kilometres to ensure the water supply for their households. Ihosy is located 600 km south of the country’s capital, Antananarivo. It is a largely rural area with a livestock population. An estimated 1.35 million people are food insecure and require urgent humanitarian assistance, according to the CIA World Factbook. In rural areas, only 36.3% of people have access to safe water sources, further exacerbating the rate of water-borne diseases. The Saint Chanel School in Ihosy was founded by the Marist Brothers in 1986 at the request of the local Bishop. It currently employs a staff of 50 and has approximately 1,200 students, with numbers steadily increasing; however, due to poor and dilapidated infrastructure, the school is forced to reject a significant number of enrolments each year. The region’s water shortage also affects the school, putting the children’s health at risk. In the dry season, when the reservoirs are empty and the city’s water supply fails, the impact on students is devastating as they are forced to fend for themselves by walking several kilometres to a river every day before school to get water, which is then contaminated. The risk of contracting diseases is therefore very high. Most of the students come from low-income families who would not be able to pay for medical treatment in case of illness.
AIM OF THE PROJECT
The project began with the aim of solving the problem of water shortage at Saint Chanel school, a factor that seriously affects the lives of the students. The well will ensure a continuous supply for the benefit of the students, the school staff and the local community. By providing a healthier environment for the children attending the school, it is hoped that health conditions will improve and consequently that school learning will be more satisfactory. The project contributes to making the local community aware of the need for good personal hygiene and safe drinking water through the children attending the school, who become aware and pass on the knowledge they have learned about this to their families, friends and relatives. In addition, the children’s families benefit because, since the children will be in better health, the families will spend less money on health care and will therefore be better able to meet other expenses necessary for the well-being of the whole family.
THE PROJECT IN BRIEF:
The project aims to face the water problem at Saint Chanel School of Ihosy, Madagascar, where water shortages have started affecting the life of the school children as well as the local community, drilling borehole which will give continuous access to water.
THE PROJECT IN NUMBERS:
- 1.200 direct beneficiaries
- 50 staff members
- 1 well built