Exciting developments in Madagascar to improve sanitation and hygiene at scale



There are exciting developments taking place in Madagascar to improve sanitation and hygiene at scale. The country is demonstrating in concrete terms what it takes to eradicate open defecation: political will, public investment, the application of Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) at scale, verification of results, and learning from experience.

The Government of Madagascar has taken very seriously the issue of eradicating open defecation. Prime Minister Roger Kolo together with the Minister of Water Johanita Ndahimananjara and other cabinet ministers participated in an “institutional triggering,” in which Malagasy practitioners sensitized policy makers to the links between sanitation and health, hygiene and human dignity. This led to them subsequently signing a declaration in July 2014 to achieve Open Defecation Free (ODF) status for the whole country by 2018.

Last week, the Prime Minister announced that his government will commit US $40 million over the next four years towards ending open defecation, roughly 12.5% of the total US $320 million needed to achieve an ODF Madagascar. A video of this announcement (at the 32 second mark, following another exciting sanitation commitment, by Nepal’s Prime Minister Sushil Koirala), was featured as part the Global Citizen Festival organized by the Global Poverty Project. Attended by the UN Secretary-General, the World Bank President, and several heads of state on the occasion of the United Nations General Assembly, this festival highlighted three core development issues, education, vaccination and sanitation, at a series of seminars and a music festival in Central Park in New York.

In order to achieve national ODF status, the government is keen to build upon FAA (Fonds d’Appui pour l’Assainissement), a sanitation and hygiene programme that works directly with hundreds of thousands of households. Established in 2010, and supported by WSSCC’s Global Sanitation Fund, FAA has worked with communities to improve sanitation for over 1 million people. In addition to working with the Ministry of Water, FAA draws upon the support of the Diorano-WASH Coalition, WaterAid, USAID, UNICEF, the CLTS Foundation and 30 implementing partners. More information on the work of FAA can be found here on the WSSCC website.

The rapid growth of FAA, now operational in all 22 regions of the country, requires constant monitoring and evaluation which the government is committed to support in order to ensure the validity of results reported by the programme, assess problems, and improve programming. WSSCC has created a Technical Note that summarizes the findings of recent sanitation and hygiene studies undertaken in Madagascar.

The experience unfolding in Madagascar to eradicate open defecation offers important lessons for all countries interested in achieving their respective sanitation and hygiene targets. WSSCC will continue to provide updates of this kind and share relevant technical information with the WASH sector and beyond, and apply the lessons learned to improve performance in all the contexts in which it works.