Handicap International has been present in Madagascar for over 30 years, and currently runs several, multifaceted projects. Our work in the country has included preventing disability in prison populations, improving schooling for children with disabilities, increasing access to maternal and child health care, fighting against the disabling disease lymphatic filiarisis, and advocating for the inclusion of people with disabilities. Handicap International operates these programs with a team of 94 staff members in Madagascar and two expatriates.
Handicap International has been present in Madagascar since 1986. After four years of political deadlock, presidential and legislative elections were held in the end of 2013 in Madagascar. The newly elected president, Hery Rajaonarimampianina, took office on January 25th, 2014. On April 11th, 2014, he appointed his prime minister, Roger Kolo, and a government was formed. The political crisis is severely impacting the socioeconomic development of the country: 92.8% of the population lives on less than $2 a day. In August 2013, the number of unschooled children was estimated at 1.5 million. In addition, it is estimated that one quarter of the population, five million people, are currently living in situations that leave them highly vulnerable to natural disasters.
- Lymphatic Filariasis care and prevention
- Disability prevention in prison populations
- Mother and child health
- Inclusive Education
- Implementing CRPD
Lymphatic Filariasis Care and Prevention
Lymphatic filariasis, commonly known as Elephantiasis, is a painful and disfiguring disease that causes life-threatening damage to the lymphatic system. Lymphedema, the swelling of the arms and legs, is one of the most common side effects of Lymphatic filariasis.
Currently in it's third phase, this project is working to eliminate Lymphatic filariasis and Lymphedema by raising awareness of the disease among communities, patients and their families. Case-managing through home visits, theater performances, discussion groups, and other means, Handicap International provides consistent follow-up and assistance to those with Lymphedema. Handicap International is also building the capacities of health professionals from partner health facilities (surgeons) and informal health staff (community workers) to monitor and support local health facilities. In addition, Handicap International oversees the production of shoes adapted to patients living with Lymphedema.
Disability Prevention in Prison Populations
In partnership with the Ministry of Justice and other civil society organizations, Handicap International collaborates to improve conditions in five prisons across Madagascar. Currently in it's second phase, the main activities of this project include: optimizing management of infirmaries, implementing activities that promote collective and individual hygiene, raising awareness of prisoners' rights, and supporting educational and socio-cultural activities related to the prevention and protection against violence in prison.
Unique to Handicap International, this project also emphasizes a psychosocial intervention. Supporting professional training for psychsocial rehabilitators, conducting individual therapy sessions and discussion groups, and helping detainees maintain ties with their families are a few of the key objectives of Handicap International's Disability Prevention project in Madagascar.
Mother and child health
Working to reduce morbidity and maternal and infant mortality, Handicap International partners with international and local organizations to improve access to maternal and child health care facilities in the regions of Itasy and Bongolova. Through the formation of a consortium of disability health workers, this project provides technical and professional support to 225 health workers and 362 community workers, and oversees handicap accessible construction at 29 Maternal and Child Health care facilities.
Handicap International works to ensure that all children, regardless of their vulnerability or disability, have access to education. The organization works training teachers to develop the skills necessary to effectively educate children with different needs. A national awareness raising campaign and direct government lobbying are also important to Handicap International's efforts on inclusive education.
The MIRAZO project supports the disability movement in promoting and monitoring the application of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. By building the capacity of civil society actors the organization is mobilizing a national campaign on the rights of people with disabilities.