About 90 percent of Madagascar’s population lives on less than US$2 per day, leaving children particularly vulnerable. Aside from endemic poverty, Madagascar is prone to natural disasters, which further impede economic growth of the agricultural economy and make it even more difficult to escape poverty and prioritize education for children.
More than a quarter of Madagascar’s children are excluded from formal education, and one out of three girls will become pregnant before the age of 18. Junior secondary school enrollment fees are prohibitively expensive for families, forcing parents to select one child to continue their education, often leaving girls behind.
Zonta International has committed US$1,000,000 to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF to create opportunities for vulnerable and excluded girls to realize their rights to an education in a secure and protective environment. Partnering with the Ministry of National Education and others, Let Us Learn Madagascar will promote a common vision of investing in junior secondary education for girls as an entry point for equity.
How Zonta helps
The project is focused on reaching out-of-school children, expanding girls’ education and improving quality outcomes for learners.
Zonta International’s contribution of US$1 million will help:
- Provide training to 1,042 post-primary teachers.
- Ensure that families and communities are aware of child protection laws, services and harmful practices against children and that they protect adolescent girls from sexual violence, early marriage and exploitation, all factors that reduce girls’ continuing their education.
- Target girls in 5th grade (last year of primary school) to receive peer support from girls in 7th grade (second year of junior secondary school) to facilitate their transition from primary to junior secondary school.
- Offer Conditional Cash Transfers (CCTs) to vulnerable girls from 1,000 low-income families in their final year of primary school with conditions that include enrollment, passing grades and minimum absenteeism from school.
- Construct four junior secondary school classrooms with water points and latrines to ensure healthy habits are taught, practiced and integrated into daily school routines and that appropriate facilities are available to students to ensure the physical and psychosocial health needed to stay in school. The construction of the classrooms will include the provision of school furniture, teaching and instructional materials and a sports field.
- Focus on violence prevention efforts at the individual, school, family and community levels to transform gender norms and attitudes that accept gender-based violence.
- Facilitate access to quality medical and psychosocial support for victims of violence within a reasonable timeframe through a coordinated community response.
- Disseminate messages on child marriage, early pregnancy and gender-based violence through local radio stations, house visits, focus groups, national communication campaigns and international days, targeting all members of the community including boys and men, in order to change behaviors, reduce violence against girls and permit young mothers to return to school.
Let Us Learn: Supporting girls' education in Madagascar from UNICEF Education on Vimeo.
Let Us Learn in Madagascar: a second chance to finish school from UNICEF Education on Vimeo.