Southern Madagascar: Cash gives food insecure communities a glimpse of hope

Longonay Berthora, 15 years old, is a beneficiary from the cash transfer operation implemented by the Malagasy Red Cross in Ambatoabo.

Longonay Berthora, 15 years old, is one of the people who received cash assistance from the Malagasy Red Cross in Ambatoabo in 2021 in response to drought and food insecurity in southern areas of the country.

Photo: IFRC/Caren Ramanantoanina

Longonay Berthora benefits from the monthly cash transfer operation implemented by the Malagasy Red Cross and its partners. He receives 100,000 Ariary each month, the equivalent of 24 Swiss Francs, which allows him to buy food and materials for his household, in addition, he invests it.

In remote areas of southern Madagascar, vulnerable households go into debt buying food and basic needs due to drought and poverty, paying double the price for rice due to transportation costs.

The Malagasy Red Cross with the support of IFRC and partners, have been providing cash for food and basic needs to the vulnerable households in the Commune of Ambatoabo from July 2021.

The process of identification and registration of beneficiaries for this operation was made up of two complementary stages: a survey carried out by the Malagasy Red Cross volunteers and the validation of the results by the community itself through the committees. Among 2,249 families validated by the community, there was Longonay Berthora’s household.

At only 15 years, Berthora has been supporting himself and his brother for the past two years, in the absence of his mother who remarried and is now living in another village. While studying at the local public primary school, Berthora tries to make ends meet by doing different activities including rice growing, charcoal production, and quarrying for mica - a type of mineral which has a commercial value.

In October, he used part of the cash to pay for wages, as he employs people to cultivate rice on his field.  The rice produced is for his consumption and for sale, locally. Berthora is working hard to achieve his goals, “My dream is to become a prison officer, and I wish that my little brother becomes a doctor” he spoke.