Our Work in Madagascar

Malagasy women—and poor women worldwide—are particularly hard-hit by the devastating effects of poverty and chronic hunger. In 1999, Freedom from Hunger, in collaboration with local partner organizations, started Credit with Education programs to address the plight of very poor women in rural areas of Madagascar. The small cash loans and health and business education received by participants can have a fundamental impact on their ability to provide for their families. Mary Ann, a Credit with Education participant and mother of seven, says, "Before [Credit with Education] I wasn't able to pay for all the regular weekly household purchases and my children didn't have any clothes. Now all my children are dressed."

Since its inception in mid-1999, the Credit with Education program in Madagascar has loaned more than US $3.5 million in small loans to women just like Mary Ann. The program serves three key areas within Madagascar: the northeastern coast near Toamasina, villages surrounding Fianarantsoa in the central-southern region, and the southwestern coast near Toliara. Today, Credit with Education is providing resources to empower more than 8,000 Malagasy women to break the vicious cycles of chronic hunger and poverty that grip the lives of so many families in Madagascar.

Credit with Education field agents are the folks who meet every week with women in their Credit Associations. They oversee the repayment of loans and deposits of savings. They preside over the disbursement of new loans and the final accounting of fully repaid loans. They help each Credit Association to sort out issues and ensure that the Credit Association is functioning properly. They also play the crucial role of facilitating learning sessions on health, nutrition and business management topics. Field agents are local people with college educations and the determination to help their fellow citizens. To women in remote villages, they are the face of Credit with Education.