© Helvetas / Flurina Rothenberger


Madagascar is known for its unique and highly diverse wildlife and ecosystems. Yet many inhabitants of this paradise island live in abject poverty. Additionally, the country is repeatedly hit by cyclones. Helvetas supports small farmers in increasing their crop yield and gaining better access to foreign markets. We also focus on securing a steady supply of clean drinking water and protecting water resources.
© Helvetas / Flurina Rothenberger
  • Capital
  • Area
    587,295 km²
  • Poverty rate*
    78% of the population live under the poverty line of $1.90 per day
    Rank: 158 out of 191
  • Population
  • People supported per year
  • Thematic focus
    Private Sector Development
    WASH & Water Governance
    Voice, Inclusion & Cohesion
* Source: UN Data

Helvetas began its involvement here back in 1982, initially concentrating efforts on forestry and protecting natural resources. Today our focus is on agriculture. Thanks to its isolation from Africa, Madagascar possesses a one-of-a-kind diversity of flora and fauna. In spite of the island’s natural fertility, the people live in great poverty. Most of them are subsistence farmers. Helvetas supports smallholders in increasing crop yields by adapting more effective farming methods. The object is to enable them to feed their families and sell the surplus to earn some money.

Fair terms of trade for smallholders

Small farmers form cooperatives and sell their produce directly to exporters or big companies – so as to cut out the often exploitative middleman. The most successful exports include vanilla, of which Madagascar is by far the world’s biggest producer, and cacao for making chocolate.

Water supply and sanitation

Contaminated drinking water and poor hygienic conditions give rise to diarrheic diseases and, as a result, high infant mortality in Madagascar. So the water supply and sanitation are another focus of our efforts here. Back in the 1990s, public services in Madagascar, including the water supply, were decentralized, i.e. delegated to communities. Helvetas supports the local authorities, many of which are still inexperienced and ineffectual, and involves them in planning and implementation.

From the hand pump to the water kiosk

Specifically, the available water sources are inventoried and the water requirements of individual families are determined. Then solutions are developed to meet those requirements – everything from hand pumps to so-called water kiosks, an equitable system of payment using tokens and run by a local company. Our holistic approach includes measures to prevent sources from drying up, e.g. by building small dams or reforestation.

Visit the website of Helvetas Madagascar.

The country programme in Madagascar is co-funded by the SDC programme contribution.

Our Projects in Madagascar

 If you would like to know more about our work in Madagascar, click on each project for details.

Education and Vocational Skills

Lack of education perpetuates inequality because poor countries cannot compete economically without a skilled workforce.

WASH & Water Governance

The most vulnerable communities suffer from dirty and scarce water. Annually we help up to 500,000 people get new access to drinking water and basic sanitation.

Private Sector Development

Youth need access to reliable, fairly paid jobs to break the cycle of poverty. Helvetas creates partnerships and promotes policies that build more inclusive economies.

Lot VJ 2 Ter A Ambohimiandra
BP 3044
101 Antananarivo

Phone:+261 20 22 611 73
E-Mail: madagascar@helvetas.org