© Helvetas

Improving climate resilience and sustainable, equitable access to safe water services

© Helvetas

The Menabe region has been part of Helvetas' intervention zone in Madagascar for 25 years. It has a low rate of access to drinking water, a near absence of basic sanitation and, above all, a lack of knowledge of good hygiene practices, leading to a high rate of diarrheal diseases. Helvetas supports local communities in strengthening their capacity to adapt to climate change and in adopting appropriate water, hygiene and sanitation behaviors.

  • Project Name
    Telomiova Project
  • Project Phase
    2021 to 2025
  • Funding
    This project is funded by the One Drop and Prince Albert II of Monaco foundations
  • Thematic focus
    WASH & Water Governance
    Climate & Disaster Resilience

Precarious living conditions, despite a region rich in hydraulic potential

The population of the Menabe region, which is mainly agricultural, is classified as extremely poor at the national level. The rate of ownership of durable goods, the lack of latrines and the low number of communities with access to drinking water are some of the factors that reflect the precariousness of the population's living conditions.

Although the region has enormous hydraulic potential in surface and deep waters, the reduction in water availability is the main effect of climate change felt and prioritized by communities in rural areas. The region's drinking water coverage rate is low. More than half of the communities have no safe drinking water supply.

The sanitation situation is even more critical, with only 8.5% of households having a latrine, although efforts have been made to remedy this.

The Telomiova project, which comes from the name of a flower and literally means change three times or yesterday-today-tomorrow, works closely with local authorities and populations, especially women, to strengthen their resilience in the face of climate change and change their hygiene and sanitation behaviors. The Telomiova project is part of a local dynamic to improve the living conditions of the populations supported by Helvetas, in particular through the RATSANTANANA program, which aims to improve access to drinking water, strengthen the skills of local actors for the sustainable and equitable management of drinking water and sanitation services, and promote an integrated management of water resources.

The Telomiova project will work with 15 communes in 3 districts of the Menabe region: Andranomainty, Ankotrofotsy, Ambatolahy Dabolava, and Isalo, for the district of Miandrivazo; Ankilizato, Analamitsivalana, Ampanihy, Ankilivalo, Malaimbandy, Befotaka, and Bezezika for the district of Mahabo; and Analaiva, Bemanonga, and Marofandilia for the district of Morondava, which is at the same time the main town of the region.

These communes represent about 43% of the population of the region.

Universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene services

To improve their well-being and health, communities must adopt behavior changes. This behavioral change concerns hygiene and sanitation behaviors at the individual and school levels. Standardized sanitation and hygiene facilities that take into account the specific needs of women and girls will be put in place. Teachers, students and parents will be involved and trained to ensure the proper use and maintenance of these facilities. The management committees will be trained and accompanied so that these infrastructures obtain the status of blue schools.

The One Drop Foundation’s Social Art Social for Behaviour Change approach will be utilized to further the impact and sustainability of the project. The approach’s interventions are co-designed and implemented with communities and involve local artists and art forms. Through art, these interventions empower youth, women and girls to become agents of change, breaking down barriers and eliciting an emotional response. The Leaders of Change who emerge from this process act as intermediaries, emboldened to influence long-lasting behaviour change and systemic shifts in their communities.

In partnership with the civil society platform FIVE, supervision actions will also be carried out at schools. The use of latrines, treatment and conservation of drinking water at home and hand washing are prioritized. With the collaboration of the Fantasia Circus association, an educational program will be developed, with theatrical plays and circuses. Adapted and diversified messages will be disseminated through the media to sensitize communities during local events (market days, traditional festivities, etc.). To reach the greatest number of people, young and old are solicited to develop messages that can influence community behavior. Local artisans also contribute to the production of the necessary materials.

An estimated 2,450 children will benefit from improved school sanitation facilities. Additionally, Helvetas expects to reach 64,000 people, half of whom are women, through these communication campaigns.

© Helvetas
© Helvetas
© Helvetas
© Helvetas

Towards greater resilience of populations

For the Menabe region, climate change is characterized by a variability in the length of the seasons, a decrease in rainfall, an extension of the dry season and the arrival of more violent cyclones. The region is known for its large alluvial plains offering wide agricultural possibilities. The cultivation activities that are practiced are closely linked to the flow of rivers. The lengthening of the dry period and the irregularity of rainfall make the region vulnerable to the manifestations of climate disturbance.

In order to improve their climatic resilience, the communities are mobilized and empowered in actions aimed at controlling water resources. These activities aim at recharging the water table, protecting springs and riverbanks, as well as retaining surface water for various uses. The materials used will be sourced locally as well as human resources. Communities are also empowered to manage and maintain the works.

Thanks to the early warning system that will be put in place by MEDAIR, intervention groups will be trained and provided with first aid equipment. Communities will learn to use and share climate information. The objective of the project is to reduce the loss of human life and agricultural production caused by cyclones by 40%.

In addition, the project will create new economic opportunities for vulnerable communities, especially for women and youth who play an important role in bringing about positive change in their region. In partnership with the social enterprise NEMACO, small businesses run by women or women's groups will be financially supported and coached in renewable energy activities.

At least 800 women will benefit from this support to improve their income.

WASH & Water Governance

The most vulnerable communities suffer from dirty and scarce water. Annually we help up to 500,000 people get new access to drinking water and basic sanitation.

How Helvetas Supports People in Madagascar

Improved income for small farmers, better hygiene, clean drinking water and the protection of water resources are some of our priorities.