The Girl Scouts of Madagascar are one of the Member Organisations taking part in our new Nutrition Programme

About Madagascar

For many people, Madagascar is known as a biodiversity sanctuary. More than 600 new species have been discovered in Madagascar's unique habitats in the past decade alone.

Madagascar is located in the Indian Ocean, off the Eastern coast of Africa. Historically, it was separated from Africa millions of years ago. Madagascar gained independence from France in 1960.

The country has a population of 22 million people, coming from 18 different ethnic groups.

Girls and young women

Madagascar has a very young population. More than 60 per cent of the population is younger than 25 years old.

Most girls in Madagascar speak Malagasy and French and live in rural areas.

One in five girls have no access to education and nearly one-third of women cannot read and write. Early marriage and pregnancy are common among Malagasy women, especially in rural areas.

Did you know... the verb "to eat a meal" in Malagasy is mihinam-bary – literally, to eat rice


Facts about food

Malagasy food is influenced by African, Arabic, French and Indian cultures. The basis of every meal is rice, rice, and more rice!

Rice is served with a side dish or “laoka” – an accompaniment of fish, seafood, meat, beans or vegetables. Most food is cooked on an open fire or on a stove.

The most famous side dish in Madagascar is the ravitoto henakisoa, which is a composed of ground cassava leaves with pork meat.

A MOFOGASY is a famous snack to Malagasy and girls. It is made of rice flour, sugar and sometimes little honey.

Nutrition in Madagascar

Madagascar is experiencing a range of malnutrition challenges. Key issues include eating too little and not eating enough vitamins and minerals.

Nearly 50 per cent of girls under the age of five are too short for their height and do not get enough nutrition. This can affect their educational achievement and health status in adult life.

Most Malagasy households do not have access to enough good quality food. When rice gets too expensive, there is either not enough food for everyone to eat or families choose to eat other foods like corn or sweet potatoes.

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