Campaign meat meal for our pupils

The nutritional status of the people of Ambohitsara and its surrounding areas. Ambohitsara is located on a plateau approximately 25km from its closest neighbour, the town of Port-Berger. The only thing connecting the two is dirt tracks, which become impassable in the rainy season. Anything that is not grown on the plateau must be laboriously transported there by oxcart – a journey which takes eight hours each way. Furthermore, many foods in the area are only available seasonally.

Children in the school canteen

In our school canteen, we serve rice three times a week (for budgetary reasons, as rice is expensive) with dried akamba (small shrimp), varilava (a mixture of various types of small fish) or tsivakiana (tiny prawns). Twice a week, we serve cassava with beans or peanuts, or else corn with beans or mung beans.

At the moment, the canteen feeds 400 people and we simply cannot afford fresh meat or fish. However, for growing children, a purely vegetarian diet generally does not provide enough iron to ensure healthy growth and the development of cognitive abilities.

Furthermore, this region suffers an epidemic of one of the aforementioned diseases almost every rainy season. These epidemics primarily claim the lives of children younger than five, because they are undernourished and therefore susceptible to sickness. For this reason, we are planning the following campaign in the fight against such epidemics:

Green leafy vegetables

The people living there generally grow rice, corn, cassava, leafy green vegetables, bananas and peanuts. They also grow papaya when the effort is made to plant a tree. Some fruits, such as mangos and mokonazy fruits, grow wild in the area and wild root vegetables are also available. Some people keep chickens or cows, though cattle are almost never used for meat. Instead, they are bartered when someone becomes sick and the proceeds are used to purchase medicine. In fact, meat is only eaten a few times per year. Between harvests, the supply of rice – a staple – frequently runs out. There are a number of reasons for this:

  1. Cultural reasons. Not enough rice is grown because the village people believe that if X fields per family were enough to feed their ancestors, the same should hold true for themselves, since their ancestors of course knew best.
  2. A portion of the harvest is sold (and later sorely missed) in order to buy shoes, clothes and other items, some of which were neither available nor necessary in the past. However, the overall size of the area that is cultivated remains unchanged.
  3. The mortality rate has fallen thanks to improved medical care, but the cultivated area is not increased to compensate.

At home, our students often receive meals consisting only of rice with salt or a thin soup made of leafy vegetables with a small amount of rice mixed in. This makes them susceptible to diseases such as malaria, diarrhoea and typhoid. They get tired quickly and have difficulty concentrating because of their hunger. It is a huge relief to many parents that their children receive at least one nutritional meal a day at missionary school. A Malagasy meal always consists of 90% rice and 10% side dish or supplement.

On the market

Campaign for healthy growth and optimal development

In order to provide one meal with meat or fresh fish, we would need around 50kg (125g per person) of meat or fish at a cost of approximately 30 Euros per 100 students. Our goal is to sustainably reach a level of financing which would allow us to permanently provide “one canteen meal that includes fresh meat or fish per month.”

Here in Germany, people are already so “overnourished” that doctors recommend eating meat a maximum of once or twice a week for health reasons. In Madagascar, on the other hand, people are desperately in need of meat dishes …

Anyone who would like to get involved in this amazing initiative would be warmly welcomed !



This English translation has been possible thanks to the PerMondo project: Free translation of website and documents for non-profit organisations. A project managed by Mondo Agit. Translator: Kathryn Castle.

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