Today we have moved from the capital of Madagascar – Tana – to a small small village far up in north called Maroansetra. Here the vegetation is much greener. People are welcoming us with waving hands and smiling faces. The pulse and rhythm are calmer here than in the city. We are on the countryside now. I have a good gut-feeling.
We have now joined the local UNICEF team here at Madagascar: Joelle, Graham and Mario. They will be our host and guides from now.
As a startup, Graham gave us an overview of how UNICEF works with their projects both on a general level but also local here in Madagascar.
Here in Madagascar it is mainly about the basics: what can we do to get more children to come to school? What are the needs? Buildings? Educating teachers? Waterpoints? Sanitary things? No matter what the problem is, UNICEF always try to work through the people in the country. They want them to be able to manage everything by themselves in the future.
Seven out of 10 children in Madagascar go to school. Out of them, there are 4 out of 10 that finish school. UNICEF tries to find the trigger points needed to get more children into school.
Filled with the basics, we went to a primary school close to our hotel. This school was actually built from money from us at IKEA. UNICEF has developed a new way of constructon. It is called Eco Friendship Construction. You mix 50% sand and 50% clay and then press them into blocks in a special machine. By using this technique you don’t have to burn the clay in an oven – that saves our rainforest that was used as fuel. You also don’t have to transport the blocks and that saves both time and money. You just transport the machine to the place where they build the school. Several checks are done to ensure that the mix of sand and clay are correct.
The benches in the school are developed to also be easy to transport. They are foldable and that gives flat packets. Instead of transporting 50 pcs in a truck you now can take 200 pcs instead. Thinking of the bad roads this makes a hugh difference.
One of my reflections was that IKEA and UNICEF actually have the same minds in some of the questions!