WASHINGTON, November 10, 2016 - The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a $35 million grant for the Social Safety Net Project to support the Government’s response to the drought in the South of Madagascar. This additional financing will benefit more than 320,000 people in the five most affected districts and help them recover from the effects of the drought caused by El Niño. It fits within the emergency and early recovery strategy prepared by the Government with the support of the United Nations.
The population of the South has suffered through several successive years of poor crop yields starting with a major locust invasion in 2013. As a result of the El Niño, rainfall has been about 75 percent lower than the average of the last 20 years, causing harvest losses of up to 95 percent, over 1 million people to be food insecure, 35,000 children under 5 to suffer from moderate acute malnutrition and another 12,000 from severe acute malnutrition.
“People in the South of Madagascar are suffering from unusually harsh conditions. Every day, they struggle to feed their families and have little left to start the new agricultural season. International evidence shows that the cost of inaction in such situation is high,” said Coralie Gevers, World Bank Country Manager for Madagascar and Comoros. “By extending cash transfers to the mothers of extreme poor households and by providing nutritional treatment to children suffering from malnutrition and to pregnant and lactating mothers, the Bank is contributing to the Government’s efforts.”
The Project will provide cash transfers, livelihood recovery grants and nutrition services to extreme poor households in the districts of Tsihombe, Beloha, Ambovombe, Amboasary, and Bekily, in the regions of Androy and Anosy. It will be implemented under the leadership and coordination of the Ministry of Population, Social Protection and Promotion of Women, and through the FID (Intervention Fund for Development) and the ONN (National Office for Nutrition) for a period of three years.
The project also supports the Ministry of Population, Social Protection and Promotion of Women in its efforts to coordinate social protection programs in the South and strengthen its presence in the region. It will be co-financed by UNICEF, which is also providing funding for the evaluation of the intervention.
“The combination of cash transfers with nutrition services and livelihood recovery grants has proven to be fast, effective and empowering for disaster affected families in other countries. In Madagascar, it is the first time that these services are provided combined and at this scale in an emergency situation which speaks to the increasing capacity of the Government and its implementing partners to respond quickly to such situations through adaptive social safety nets that provide a medium term prospect of improving extreme poor families living conditions,” said Andrea Vermehren, Lead Social Protection Specialist and World Bank Task Team Leader for the project.
Over the past year, the World Bank has reallocated close to $3.5 million to respond to the drought in the South by funding the school canteen program; the screening of children under five for acute malnutrition, the provision of food supplements and food rations to targeted families; and cash-for-work activities in the affected region. These are in addition to the $13.5 million of the Emergency Food Security and Social Protection Project and the $10 million in additional funding to the PAUSENS Project that was directed toward financing the three-year emergency response to the 2013 locust invasion.