At least 80 percent of Malagasy people are farmers living on less than one US dollar per day. Poor infrastructure limits access to much of the island’s arable land. The Government of Madagascar (GoM) has limited agricultural extension capacity, leaving an important gap in the GoM’s ability to empower small-holder famers and households with important skills for ensuring sustainable and diverse food production. Notably, there is a lack of capacity in bio-intensive production and low-cost, asset based soil management to maximize food production on limited land. Additionally, capacity is limited in low-cost, asset-based water management skills essential for managing erratic rain events, or periods of prolonged drought or rainfall.
Food insecurity is significant in Madagascar. According to UNICEF, Madagascar is one of the 10 countries in the world with the highest burden of chronic malnutrition, and one of the 20 countries where 90 percent of the world's stunted children live. Acute malnutrition among children under five varies from 10 percent to 20 percent in the country's most vulnerable regions during the 'lean season' when food supplies are limited. Research has shown that alleviating stunting among children under two, through improved availability and access to nutritious food every day, has dramatic effects on cognitive function, language and behavioral development, and significantly contributes to overall reductions in morbidity and mortality.
To address food production and household nutrition needs, Peace Corps Madagascar’s Food Security Project builds capacity of household decision makers, gardeners, and farmers to create and maintain bio-intensive, daily-access, climate-smart growing spaces that produce nutrient-dense food for family consumption.
The purpose of Peace Corps Madagascar’s agriculture project is to improve food and nutrition security for Malagasy households through two main objectives:
1. Farmers and other stakeholders develop improved capacity in small, local, bio-intensive, climate-smart, food production to increase daily availability of and access to nutrient dense food for house-hold consumption.
2. Women of reproductive age (WRA) and/or key household decision-makers (KHDM) develop their capacity to consume a diet of minimum diversity.
Agricultural Extension Volunteers can work with lead farmers, NGOs, Community Based Organizations, schools, and key community members to promote a variety of sustainable agricultural practices including bio-intensive gardens, agroforestry and climate smart agriculture. To promote healthy nutrition, Volunteers work with household decision makers (e.g., mothers) to conduct nutrition trainings and cooking demonstrations. Peace Corps Madagascar provides training on these activities to ensure that enthusiastic generalists with limited agriculture background are equipped to support their community.
Peace Corps Madagascar promotes gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. Volunteers will receive training on gender challenges in Madagascar and will have the opportunity to implement gender-related activities that are contextually appropriate. During service, Volunteers will look for ways to work with community members to promote gender-equitable norms and increase girls’ sense of agency. As part of their work, Volunteers will also report on these efforts and their impact.
Health coverage, Housing, Living allowance, Non-competitive eligibility (federal jobs), Stipend, Training
Subject to criminal background check