Focus on Madagascar

Capital: Antananarivo

Population: 21.9 million

Official languages: Malagasy, French

Main exports: coffee, vanilla, shellfish, sugar, cotton

Religion: 50% Christian (including 80,000 Anglicans), indigenous beliefs

Madagascar is the world’s fourth largest island, about the size of France. It is a diverse climate, with flooding and cyclones.

The majority of people depend on subsistence farming, with 70% of the population living on less than £1 per day, and only 41% of people having access to water. Many Malagasy have no access to medical care. A political coup in 2009 led to a drop in foreign aid and tourism, resulting in more poverty and malnutrition.



In Madagascar, we are supporting disaster-mitigation

Madagascar typically has a drought every four or five years. However, global climate change has led to more extreme temperatures and frequent and harsher storms, with harvests failing and fewer years of plenty to bring relief.

So the droughts are continuing year after year, and by the third or fourth year the houses of many families are bare because they have sold all they own to buy food. And famine follows drought.

USPG sent an emergency grant and the church has been providing food aid, but more is needed.

In March 2017, USPG invited some of our friends from the Anglican Church in Malawi to talk about how they developed a disaster mitigation programme following similar experiences of drought.

This is an example of how USPG seeks to encourage regional learning exchanges whereby partners can come together to facilitate discussion around a certain issue.

In terms of drought we at USPG don’t have experiential knowledge or contextual understanding. So it’s very useful to have a church that has been through this experience to be involved.

Input from Malawi was greatly appreciated. We spent a week looking at the situation in South West Madagascar, examining the nature of disasters, how they impact on communities, and what can be done to prepare for disaster.

USPG’s focus in Madagascar is on helping the Anglican Church to develop a disaster preparedness strategy.

To reiterate, this is not a case of the outside world, with our own agenda, stepping in to help – this will only encourage a mindset of need and dependency. Rather we encourage churches and communities to focus on those things they already have: their local skills, assets and resources.












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The Revd Maxwell Kapachawo, who is HIV-positive


‘The church must not shy away from HIV. It needs to be a place of healing.’

The Revd Maxwell Kapachawo, who is HIV-positive


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