Thanks to the support of the L’Oréal Fund for Women, Action Education is developing a training and socio-professional integration project that supports young single Malagasy mothers towards a better future in disadvantaged urban neighborhoods of Antananarivo.

The Sandratra project, developed by Action Education in Madagascar with the support of the L’Oréal Fund for Women, aims to contribute to the socio-economic integration of 900 young single mothers out of school, aged 15 to 29 years. Ultimately, the situation of these women and their children, living in disadvantaged neighborhoods in Antananarivo, will be markedly improved, as will the image and representation of women in Malagasy society.

32% of girls aged 15-19 are mothers

In Madagascar, a large number of young girls become mothers at a very young age (32% of girls aged 15-19 have at least one child). Frequently stigmatized and rejected by society because of their low level of education, they therefore find themselves destitute, without psychological or financial support.

« I had to interrupt my studies in the ninth grade because of my accidental pregnancy. After giving birth, I had to put up with the mockery and reproach from my family, says Juliana, 20, single mother of 3-year-old boy, Joey. I was not given money on the pretext that it was my fault that I had become pregnant and had a child without a husband … At that time, I no longer left the house because I was ashamed of my situation. Since then, I have been doing people’s laundry, day to day, to support myself and my son. I would of course like to work and improve my current situation; but to this day, I do not yet see how to do it… ”.

To be supported and to regain confidence

Currently, the care of these young women is very insufficient. In the current health emergency situation, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, their difficulties are accentuated because there is hardly any work left. Young mothers then find themselves even more exposed to the risks of extreme poverty (malnutrition, disease, insalubrity, etc.) and insecurity (rape, violence, racketeering, etc.)

The idea of ​​the Sandratra project is therefore to train them in decent and sustainable work that allows them and their children to live properly, thus breaking the circle of poverty. The majority of them need to regain confidence, to be supported and equipped to move towards social, economic and civic integration within their neighborhood.

To achieve its objective, the project deploys mentoring and project monitoring services for each beneficiary, psychosocial support that pays particular attention to gender-based violence, activities to strengthen socialization, self-assertion and personal development, and finally support for vocational training and professional integration.

Individualized courses and holistic care

Thanks to a « Social Innovations Laboratory », a digital third place located in the heart of neighborhoods, holistic care can be provided. Following an initial assessment making it possible to direct them towards individualized paths, oriented towards social, civic and economic integration and based on the principles of non-formal education, they thus acquire all the keys to access to a better future.

The project is also aimed at the whole patriarchal society and includes awareness-raising activities on early parenting in neighborhoods, particularly with regard to men and adolescents, as well as image enhancement campaigns and of the representation of young mothers. In this way, the situation of 900 young single mothers will be profoundly and lastingly improved in Madagascar.

Kristen Poels

Copyright: Pierre-Yves Babelon