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New Sanitation and Water Initiatives Aim to Transform Madagascar’s Rural and Urban Regions

Madagascar is set to experience significant improvements in water and sanitation infrastructure following the launch of two ambitious projects by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

These projects, Rano Maharitra and Dio Sera, represent a $45 million investment aimed at enhancing water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services across several regions.

A 2018 survey by Malagasy authorities revealed that only 43% of the population had access to improved water sources, and a mere 17% had basic sanitation facilities. In response, USAID launched the Rano Maharitra and Dio Sera projects on May 30, 2024, to significantly improve these statistics. “Access to safe drinking water, basic sanitation, and good hygiene saves lives and is essential for good health, especially for children,” emphasized USAID.

The Rano Maharitra project, with a $35 million budget, will be spearheaded by a consortium led by CARE International, along with WaterAid, iDE, and three Malagasy companies: Miarakap, BushProof, and Sandandrano. Over the next five years, this initiative aims to enhance WASH services for rural households in seven regions: Vatovavy, Fitovinany, Sofia, Betsiboka, Anosy, Androy, and Atsimo Atsinanana. The project will foster partnerships with national and regional governments, water and sanitation institutions, communities, private sector entities, civil society organizations (CSOs), and beneficiaries to ensure its success.

With a $10 million budget, the Dio Sera project seeks to increase household access to affordable and quality sanitation products and services in urban and peri-urban areas. Led by a consortium that includes iDE, GRET, Practica, WaterAid, Runway, and Sango, the project will use formative studies to shape strategies, release funding, and invest in the WASH sector.

It will also strengthen governance structures at both national and municipal levels and promote the development of desirable and accessible sanitation services and products. The project targets three cities: Mahajanga, Toamasina, and Fianarantsoa, aiming to stimulate behavioral changes within these communities.

Combined, the Rano Maharitra and Dio Sera projects are set to benefit 917,000 people. The Rano Maharitra initiative alone will provide over 742,000 people with improved WASH services, including 312,000 gaining access to drinking water. These systems will be managed by local companies trained under the project as part of a public-private partnership (PPP).

Meanwhile, the Dio Sera project will offer basic sanitation services to 175,000 individuals, ensuring safe and effective management.

These projects reflect a significant stride toward better health and quality of life for many Malagasy citizens, marking a pivotal moment in the nation’s development in water and sanitation infrastructure.

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