ANTANANARIVO – Over 80 percent of Madagascar’s population lives in rural areas and only 34 percent have access to safe water. Access to a reliable supply of clean drinking water is essential for residents in rural areas to be healthier and more able to contribute to the country’s economic development.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) inaugurated new clean water systems in the Morarano Chrome and Morarano Gara communes in the Alaotra Mangoro region in eastern Madagascar December 6. The systems include new water collection systems, treatment plants, reservoirs, tanks, and pipes, as well as public showers, latrines, handwashing stations, water points, and piping to provide water to schools and health facilities.
“Access to clean water, in sufficient quantity and quality, and at an affordable cost, is a fundamental right for all Malagasy people,” said Dr. Haja Razafindrafito, Deputy Director of the USAID Madagascar Health Office. “Water, sanitation and good hygiene behaviors are essential to the health of all and have a proven positive effect on nutrition.”
The Morarano Chrome and Morarano Gara communes are among 250 communities supported by USAID under the Rural Access to New Opportunities in Water and Sanitation and Hygiene (RANO WASH) project, a six-year, $30 million project. To date, RANO WASH has constructed 49 water systems, and construction of 24 more systems is underway in seven regions to provide 300,000 people safe and sustainable access to clean water.
In coordination with Madagascar’s Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene and other partner ministries and authorities, RANO WASH is implemented by a consortium led by CARE that includes Catholic Relief Services (CRS), WaterAid, BushProof, and Sandandrano. These two RANO WASH initiatives were co-financed by the private water and sanitation firms Lova Velu and Rano An’Ala B.
The U.S. government works together with Madagascar like “mpirahalahy mianala” to help supply clean water. USAID is the largest bilateral donor to the health sector in Madagascar, allocating more than $440 million since 2015 to health-related initiatives. In 2021 alone, USAID provided $86 million to improve the health and well-being of the Malagasy people.