By Hoby Randrianimanana
IHOSY, Madagascar – 11.3 million people still defecate in the open, and merely 10 percent of the population benefits from basic sanitation services in Madagascar. The government is now stepping up to change this with a robust collaborative structure.
Malagasy partners, representing the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) sector, gathered in Ihosy on 7 November to launch and operationalize the platform called “Structure Regionale de Mise en Oeuvre (SRMO)” or the Regional Implementing Structure in the region of Ihorombe.
The platform is a regional component of the nationwide platform, known as the “Structure de Coordination Nationale (National Coordination Structure),” which was unveiled earlier in 2019 by the Government of Madagascar to accelerate progress toward the achievement of “Madagasikara Madio 2025 (Clean Madagascar 2025).”
Madagasikara Madio 2025 is laid out by the Ministry of Energy, Water, and Hydrocarbons as part of a performance contract, which, in a show of strong commitment, aims to advance major issues related to WASH and other areas of its responsibilities.
In particular, to drastically improve access to safe drinking water, basic sanitation, and hygiene across the nation by 2023, the five key action points are outlined in Madagasikara Madio.
1. Accelerating access to low-cost, sustainable safe drinking water in cities and rural areas
2. Reinforcing actions to expand access to sanitation and hygiene
3. Promoting integrated management of water sources
4. Preparing and implementing National Safe Drinking Water Plan in times of crisis
5. Develop and approve the framework document of the WASH sector
Dr Rija Lalanirina Fanomeza, the Program Director of WSSCC’s Global Sanitation Fund-supported sanitation programme, “Fonds d’Appui pour l’Assainissement (FAA),” told the participants that Madagasikara Madio is designed to deliver more streamlined, more robust regional support to provide sanitation services across the country.
“To meet the goals set out in Maddagasikara Madio, we will mobilize all regional actors to rally behind the vision of having a clean Madagascar by 2025 and commit to the performance contract,” Dr Fanomeza said.
Dr. Fanomeza also emphasized that the FAA is a key partner in the National Coordination Structure and will contribute to the realization of action point 2.
Given the magnitude of the issues to overcome, the Ministry of Energy, Water and Hydrocarbons has assigned partners to work in different regions and to form a leadership committee known as “co-leads.”
“Under the leadership of regional directions in charge of water, sanitation and hygiene, the WSSCC-supported FAA programme will be a co-lead in four of 22 regions in Madagascar: Sofia, Ihorombe, Betsiboka and Bongolava,” Dr. Fanomeza said.
Based on a 2017-2018 survey published on the government database, 37 percent of the population in Madagascar, all social backgrounds included, have and use toilets.
The Ministry pledges to improve such staggering indicators and make sanitation a government priority. This pledge is reflected in the new programme’s strategic goals, stated in Madagasikara Madio:
• 70 percent of the population has access to safe drinking water by 2023
• 90 percent of the population to be open defecation free and practice handwashing with soap by 2023
• 55 percent of the population uses basic latrines by 2023
Participants in the November meeting agreed that to contribute successfully to the “Madagasikara Madio 2025” goals, platforms like SRMO will need to implement a range of action plans, such as coordination of efforts, combination of resources, exchange of knowledge and data, and establishment of follow-up systems to trace progress in the sector.
Mr Arnaud Fitzgerald Razafimahatratra, the Ihorombe-based regional director for WASH in the Ministry of Energy, Water and Hydrocarbons, expressed optimism about the launch of the Regional Implementing Structure as he witnessed eagerness to collaborate among participants during small group discussions to define SRMO activities and work plans.
“I’m very satisfied with the positive outcomes of the first SRMO meeting,” said Mr. Razafimahatratra. “To keep that momentum, I call on the FAA and WSSCC to share its expertise in the field with us, help us develop effective strategies and work plans, and guide us in the execution of all SRMO-related activities.”
Speaking about the importance of supporting government-led initiatives in sanitation and hygiene in Madagascar, Michèle Rasamison, WSSCC National Coordinator, said that WSSCC would contribute to capacity-building, sector coordination and the production of reliable metrics to measure progress on the “Madagasikara Madio 2025” target.
“WSSCC is always ready to partner with the government to provide all necessary support to achieve development goals, especially the Sustainable Development Goal 6.2, and as part of the WSSCC-supported FAA programme, we are already doing that in its work to eliminate open defecation and improve sanitation and hygiene, particularly among the most vulnerable,” said Ms Rasamison.
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