With support from UNICEF, we worked to improve access to sanitation and hygiene services, and decrease open defecation rates, in the cities of Ambovombe and Fénérvie Est in Madagascar. 

Where did we work?

The water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) situation in Madagascar is among the worst in the world: 57% of the population do not have access to drinking water, around 40% continue to practice open defecation and 77% don’t have adequate handwashing facilities. This means that Madagascar is also among the worst countries for health indicators directly related to a lack of sanitation and hygiene, and makes communities more vulnerable to disease, due to malnutrition or poor immunity.

In regions exposed to natural disasters, vulnerability is even greater, especially in cities with high population densities. This project focused on Fénérive Est, the capital city of the Analanjirofo region which is hit by cyclones almost every year; and Ambovombe, the capital city of the Androy region, which is subject to cyclical periods of drought.

In Ambovombe,12% of the population practiced open defection in 2022, according to a feasibility study conducted by UNICEF, and in Fénérive Est, this proportion is just 1%. The two cities were selected by UNICEF and the Ministry of WASH for the pilot study, based on the roadmap in Madagascar's national sanitation programme, "Madagasikara Madio 2025". Pit latrine emptying is also difficult, as communities often do not have a site to discharge and treat the waste. In these two cities, there is much work to be done to improve sanitation and hygiene facilities, at both community and institutional level.

What did we do?

This project – officially titled "UNICEF Appui à l’amélioration accès aux services Assainissement Hygiène Fénérive Est et Ambovombe" – aimed to help create a healthy and climate-resilient environment for people living in the two cities through improved community access to basic and safely managed sanitation. This involved:

  • Sanitation marketing and the promotion of hygienic household latrines
  • Training local masons to produce cleanable slabs, which they can sell to households at a lower price, for use in these latrines
  • Improving sanitation in institutions and public places
  • Advocacy and support for the development of the municipal hygiene code

We also supported the establishment and operation of faecal sludge and solid waste management systems by developing a marketing strategy for the faecal sludge sector.

This page will be updated as the project progresses.

Top image: Juvanah, 11, walks outside her home in Fénérive Est, Analanjorofo region, Madagascar. March 2023