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Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools

Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools

Managing Water: Madagascar

Water in Africa

Africa, Madagascar


by Clare Sandy, Andranomena, Madagascar

There is a village committee that manages the pump. Every month, the woman who is treasurer collects a small fee from each family in the village, and a large fee from the truckers who come to fill their tanks.

In families, it is the women who are responsible for water; women and girls are almost always the ones who get the drinking and cooking water, and the ones who wash the family dishes and clothes. So, in Marofandilia, the women have to walk farther and farther as the season progresses, and the men dig the well—when the women convince them that the water is too far!

The water for the rice paddies and other fields comes from streams and canals, which the male village elders manage. When there's a problem such as a shortage of this water, the elders of the affected villages meet to try to find a solution.

by Rob Roberts, St. Augustin, Madagascar

As far as I know, there is no official management of water supplies. Maybe if the situation gets worse, there will be. Right now, the shift between the dry and the rainy season is the biggest control of water in the area.

by George Ritchotte, Andranomala Nord, Madagascar

The community at large takes care of the pump, which includes upkeep of the dam and reservoir. Two people, one from Andranomalaza Nord and one from Andranomalaza Sud, have been selected to clean the dam and reservoirs once each month. They are paid in rice. Karitas, the Catholic development organization that built the pumps, trained the men how to clean them and perform minor repairs. Farmers who farm rice down in the valley all share water from the irrigation canal that passes through the fields

by Robin Larson Paulin, Andranofasika, Madagascar

The person who lives closest to the well holds the key. The well is locked every night at dusk and unlocked at dawn, maybe to keep people from stealing water or falling in the wellI don't know.

Men, women, and children fetch water from both the well and the stream. Women carry buckets on their heads and men carry two buckets hanging from a wooden pole over their shoulder.

Rice paddies are always saturated with water. They have clay bottoms and walls to hold in the water. They are often in valleys or low areas where water would naturally collect.

Lake Ravelobe has a dam that is used to regulate the water entering the rice paddies of Marovoaythe second largest rice production area in Madagascar. The dam makes it possible to have two harvests a year, rather than the usual one harvest.

by Jina Sagar, Ambalahenko, Madagascar

Water rights are a developing issue in my area. The water comes from the Reserve. The pipeline was built by a donor agency, and the water services three communities. As the dry season and lack of water progresses, the three villages meet to hammer out rules for water usage. Although it is the men who discuss water rights, it is the women whose duties revolve around getting the water. It's the women who carry buckets of water on their heads and wash the clothes and dishes.

by Mark Danenhauer, Namoly, Madagascar

In Namoly water is managed by different people for different uses. Women and children fetch water, cook the food, wash the clothes, and water the garden. However, men work in the rice fields, controlling the irrigation of their fields. Namoly is a mountainous area, with many terraced hillsides. There is a complex system of irrigation canals that have existed for a few generations. Therefore, in terms of water rights, one could say that women control the household, and men control the rice fields.

by Julie Bednarski, Tamboro, Ft. Dauphon, Madagascar

Tamboro is located on the foothills of a mountainous rain forest. Clouds collect at the top of the peak and bring moisture to the region. The villagers rely on this water to irrigate their rice fields and as a water source for their households. Women usually gather the water, but it is generally up to the individual to go to the river and bathe. Men wash clothes as well, but it is mainly men who manage the irrigation of the rice fields.


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