Amid effects of a political crisis and weakened governance, agro-climatic instability, and an unfolding food security crisis, the Malagasy population is falling deeper into poverty and is increasingly unable to cope with exogenous shocks and daily life. With a stagnant economy for the last 30 years, Madagascar has become one of the poorest countries in the world, with close to 80 percent of the population (almost 19 million people) living below $1.90 per day and an estimated 70 percent of the population is extremely poor.
Food security and nutrition remain a primary concern as half of children under 5 years of age suffer from stunting. Repeated climatic shocks, the latest caused by the El Nino phenomenon, have brought severe droughts to the southern region while floods are affecting northern region of the country, increasing risks to the populatoin.
These factors, combined with high malnutrition and low school attendance, create an environment prime for the intergenerational transmission of poverty.
The Government of Madagascar, with support from the World Bank's Fund for the Poorest (IDA), has set up two safety net programs:
- The Human Development (conditional) Cash Transfer (HDCT) program for 40,000 households with children ages 0 - 12, linked to primary school attendance and promoting early childhood development and nutrition of young children including through a behavioral design approach; and
- The Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP) which provides a reliable source of income for 32,000 participating households (50% of which are female) through cash for work activities designed to enhance communities’ climate resilience through, for example, landscape management through terracing, organic soil improvement, and anti-erosion measures such as reforestation and/or water conservation.