The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the Government of Madagascar have launched an innovative project that aims to develop rural communities in the Androy and Anosy regions in southern Madagascar. The Rapid Rural Transformation (RRT) initiative seeks to establish solar-powered hubs, sustainable water sources, and ICT in remote areas, allowing for the provision of essential services such as energy, water, and digital platforms to members of the community in an environmentally responsible and sustainable manner.
Under this initiative, WFP and its partners will set up solar-powered hubs, which will be managed by regional authorities. These hubs will provide a range of integrated community services such as training centers for women and youth on food production and business skills, as well as digital classrooms. Additionally, the initiative will also enhance agricultural production through the use of solar-powered drip irrigation and hydroponics.
Madagascar is among the ten most vulnerable countries in the world to natural disasters and is considered the most cyclone-exposed country in Africa. The Androy and Anosy regions are particularly affected by the climate crisis and have high rates of chronic malnutrition among children under five. These regions are adversely affected by extreme weather events such as cyclones, storms, and droughts.
The RRT initiative combines two climate risk mitigation strategies to assist the people: better natural resource management through enhanced agricultural techniques to ensure ongoing food production and diversifying their livelihoods to withstand climate shocks.
“The initiative is a game-changer,” says Pasqualina di Sirio, WFP’s Country Director in Madagascar. “Working with the government, the integrated services approach helps us to stimulate grassroots development, while addressing rural communities’ most pressing needs. Our plan is to expand the initiative to other villages and regions.”
Approximately 2.2 million people in the southern and south-eastern regions of Madagascar are experiencing high levels of food insecurity. WFP works with the government and partners to build effective crisis response, social protection, malnutrition prevention, and resilient livelihood systems through innovative actions and approaches in the south, where the population remains highly vulnerable. This RRT initiative is expected to make a significant impact on the lives of the rural communities in Androy and Anosy regions.