A clean and committed village!

Aniso: A clean and committed village!

Aniso is a village consisting of 18 hamlets, in Ambohimilanja rural Commune, Manandriana District, Amoron’i Mania Region.

In February 2017, when ASOTRY project arrived in Aniso, there was not a single latrine in the village. RANDRIANIRINA Rémi, a villager said: “I remember the first time a team of the project came to our village. They brought us together, and inquired about the place where we relieve ourselves. I was ashamed to answer that we were used to defecating anywhere in the open, yet it was the truth.”

ASOTRY is a five-year food security project funded by USAID which aims at improving health and nutritional status of targeted beneficiaries, especially of women and children under five. To this end, ASOTRY implements a range of health, hygiene and sanitation activities including mobilizing communities to eliminate open defecation.

Through CLTS (Community-led Total Sanitation) activities, the project raised awareness among the whole village about the negative effects of poor sanitation practices. As a result, the villagers decided to abandon their old behaviors and started to clean their surroundings.

RANDRIANANTENAINA Fanomezantsoa Edmond, in charge of hygiene in the village said: “Without exception, women or children, and even the elderly, took each a spade and dig holes to dispose of the waste which polluted our small village. We shared the tasks very well; some cleared the corners while others at the same time started building the new latrines.  The dynamism of everyone was really encouraging.”

Shortly after,

about ten latrines were built. While some had finished building, others encountered some difficulties, such as the lack of materials or workforce. But according to a villager called RAZAFIMAHAFALY, also known as Raihambana, solidarity was an asset for them. “If one family had difficulties finishing their latrines, the other families willingly offered their help.”

The villagers had a special idea, each latrine was built in two compartments: the first for men, and the second for women. “This idea came to us with the objective to encourage every family member to take his responsibility. Men clean their compartments themselves without depending on women, and vice-versa. The children are in charge of ensuring that the tippy-taps for washing hands are always full, as well as the small box of ash which replaces soap”, explained Rakotovao, a villager.

With the commitment of the entire community, the impacts were outstanding. “It is now that I am aware that from the times of our ancestors, we have lived in total dirtiness. There were flies everywhere; certainly we were eating dirt; whereas today, the village is clean. Diseases like diarrhea have decreased. I am proud because our village has become a model for the other neighboring villages, who in turn come to us and seek advice on the standards to be met,” said RANDRIANANTENAINA Edmond.

Currently, there are 23 latrines for the 23 households in Aniso village. On October 26th, the village was awarded its ODF (Open Defecation Free) certificate from ASOTRY project and the Ministry of Health.

For the year 2017, 75 community leaders for villages like Aniso have been trained in CLTS by the ASOTRY project.

about ten latrines were built. While some had finished building, others encountered some difficulties, such as the lack of materials or workforce. But according to a villager called RAZAFIMAHAFALY, also known as Raihambana, solidarity was an asset for them. “If one family had difficulties finishing their latrines, the other families willingly offered their help.”

The small farmer who became a big fish producer

RAMAHARAVO Simon, 52, did not see himself becoming a leading fish producer a few years ago. He was a small farmer and had a limited source of income. « I had only one zebu, and apart from my only zebu, I cultivated a few crops such as rice, cassava… that was how my wife and I earned a living, » Simon said.

However, he was struggling to meet the needs of his family, especially the education of his four children. His eldest son had to stop his studies when he got his secondary school degree. « We could no longer afford to send him to the high school in the town of Ambohimahasoa. With our small farm and little products, it was impossible, » told Simon.

In 2014, a team from the ASOTRY project arrived in Idimby village. With the support of USAID, ASOTRY implements agriculture activities aiming at improving food security, one of which is the « Farmer Field Schools » (FFS) where farmers learn new agriculture and animal raising techniques, that will allow them to increase their livelihoods.

Simon explained: « After ASOTRY project technicians came to our village, three FFS were set up: FFS Anjarasoa, FFS Fivoy and FFS Soafaniry. In total, there were 48 members in these groups. When the project asked us to choose an income generating activity, we chose fish farming.”

That was how Simon became a fish farmer thanks to ASOTRY project. During the first year, he raised royal carps. The project provided for subsidies for half of the cost of the fingerlings. Each member of FFS received about 200 fingerlings.

During the second year of ASOTRY, the FFS groups received various trainings to improve their production techniques. « We could produce a new variety of fish called « red tilapia », which sells for a better price than the royal carp, for which I do not need any more subsidies to acquire fingerlings and raise until it is ready to sell. The ASOTRY project also trained me with techniques of smoking of fish, using eucalyptus wood chips recuperated from a local planks producer. Smoked fish are easy to store and sell at a better price than fresh fish, » explained Simon.

With the objective to support the FFS with the sales and marketing of their products, ASOTRY project incited the three FFS to form a marketing cooperative called Livestock Marketing Group (LMG). In parallel, the project has always invited the cooperative to participate in each major event at the regional and even national level, which provided them sale opportunities. One of these events was the FIER MADA, an international economic fair organized once a year in the capital of Madagascar. « We were present at the FIER MADA 2016 and 2017. In town, we sell fresh fish at 10,000 Ariary/kg and smoked fish at 20,000 Ariary/kg; but at the fairs we can sell up to 14,000 Ariary/kg for fresh fish and 25,000 Ariary for smoked fish. We have had large customer resellers from the capital city, who order our products periodically, » explained Simon. The fish business is today a permanent source of income for the LMG group. « Fish farming has become a sustainable means of livelihood for each member. ASOTRY has therefore significantly changed the life of each one of us » he added.

Simon himself has noticed tremendous improvement in his family life, as a result of the business he can conduct thanks to ASOTRY project. «If at the beginning of ASOTRY we had only one zebu, now we have five of them.  I have become a happy man. My wife and I do not have any more difficulties to provide education

for our children. I am particularly proud of my son Aina, who has graduated from his paramedical studies. My two other sons are in high school in the town of Ambohimahasoa, » Simon said. 

Simon is today a renowned businessman in his sector. His success and ambitions have inspired the other villagers to join the groups formed the project. He is currently exploring ways to expand his business, and plans to open a sales point in the town of Ambohimahasoa. He is also working on building a big fish pond in his village.





The village of colorful latrines

Morarano: the village of colorful latrines

Morarano, meaning « cheap water », is a peaceful small village in the rural commune of Ambohimahazo, Amoron’i Mania region. But the air was not very pleasant in the village, as everybody defecated in the open.

« The entrance to the village always smelled very bad. There were flies everywhere, » said Saholinirina, a villager. Children were often sick and had frequent diarrhea. « We were not even aware that the flies could carry fecal diseases on our food, » she said.

Open defecation has always been a common practice in rural areas of Madagascar. ASOTRY, a food security project funded by USAID, implements CLTS (Community-led total sanitation) activities that encourage communities to abandon open defecation.

Morarano is one of villages where ASOTRY project has decided to implement its CLTS activities. After the first sensitization by the project team, the villagers became aware that hygiene was important and each household needed a latrine.  

The works started in May 2017. In just one month and a half, 15 bricked latrines were built.  In addition, the roofs were in metal sheet, the walls and the doors were all painted in different colors. « We did the best we could to have perfect latrines. We even added bathrooms next to the latrines so that we do not have to go to the field every time we need a shower. We are fully convinced that those two go together if we want to be clean, » Saholinirina explained.

To wash their hands, the villagers have installed tippy-taps next to each latrine, as well as a box full of ash to replace soap. The latrines are always covered when they are not used.

As a result of this project activity and the efforts of the villagers, diarrheal diseases have decreased in the village. « If before, one child out of three had diarrhea, now I cannot even remember if any of our children has been sick lately, » said RAKOTONIRINA François.

Morarano has become a model for its surrounding villages. Ankazondrano and Ambondrona, the next villages start to build similar latrines. Morarano village has already been declared ODF or « Open Defecation Free. »

Mothers and Community Health Volunteers

Vinany – Mothers and Community Health Volunteers build a health house

Mothers in Vinany village in Amoron’i Mania region understood how crucial it was to monitor the growth of their children. But they wanted to have a more convenient place to hold it.

One of the main components of ASOTRY, a USAID-funded food security project, consists in promoting health and nutritional status of pregnant and lactating women and of their children, especially during their first 1,000 days, from conception until the children reach the age of two years old. In order to reduce the rate of child stunting, regular growth monitoring sessions are held by the project.

Under the leadership of Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) working with the project, the mothers of Vinany personally committed themselves in the building of a house with the purpose to facilitate promotion of health activities like growth monitoring and trainings, and ultimately to reduce child malnutrition and mortality. The house was built close to the marketplace, because generally it was the center for the neighboring villages.

The building was initiated in 2013 at the time of SALOHI, another USAID-supported food security project which preceded ASOTRY, but it could not be completed due to a lack of means. The mothers were able to finish the construction only in 2015, with the ASOTRY project.

Before the house could be built, the mothers were forced to walk far to weigh their children or attend trainings. “Under the burning sun, especially during rainy periods, we had to walk about twenty kilometers to reach the primary school of Ambodihazo. Sometimes, the room at the primary school was not available, so all of the activities took place either outside in the school yard, or under somebody’s veranda when it was very hot,” said Martine, Lead Mother in Vinany.

After a request of the mothers and CHVs, the village donated a free land for the construction. “One day per week, the mothers and the CHVs with the help of some villagers joined hands to build the walls,” said Mariette, CHV in Vinany.

By the end of SALOHI project, the building was not completed: they could not finish the roof, and there was no furniture in the house, due to a lack of funds. But since Vinany village is again one of the targeted areas of ASOTRY, the mothers and CHVs were determined to finish what they had started. “Fortunately, we still have the chance to benefit from ASOTRY. To buy the missing materials such as roofing sheets, wood and furniture, the mothers contributed 500 ariary each every weighing day. On the other side, ADRA ASOTRY rented the house every training session” explained Clarette, CHV in Vinany. 

Today, the mothers are more enthusiastic to attend the growth monitoring sessions and other trainings provided by ASOTRY. « During weighing sessions, the mothers no longer fear for the safety of their children. There has been a decrease of malnutrition rate in our area because mothers are more motivated to attend the growth monitoring sessions, thanks to this facility,” said Soa, CHV in Vinany. The new house also facilitates other activities such as immunization sessions and commodity distributions.

To continue their efforts, the mothers and CHVs of Vinany plan to build a latrine near this house, as well as a chalet for breastfeeding.