Within Madagascar, the people of Anosy region are one of the poorest ethnic groups; the majority live below the poverty line, and suffer one of the lowest per capita incomes, and highest rates of disease, infant mortality and illiteracy. Chronic malnutrition is rife, with child mortality rates reaching a staggering 3 in 10, and the fragility of Malagasy existence is furthered by a harsh climate and natural disasters to which the region is prone.
Pregnant women and nursing mothers are the most vulnerable population. Women are particularly disadvantaged since until recently the concept of gender equality did not exist in Madagascar. The vast majority of women work in the home rather than in income generating activity and are amongst the hardest people to reach with educational activities.
Project Votsotse aims to enable sustainable improvements to the nutritional practices of pregnant women and mothers of children under 5 years old in 7 drought prone communes in Anosy region, through the provision of health and hygiene education, monitoring the growth of malnourished children, and the introduction of new or improved cultivation techniques.
The number of people who will benefit from this project is over 90,000.