Madagascar has an extremely low electricity access rate of about 5% in rural areas. This means around 15 million inhabitants (out of a general population of 25 million) live without access to electricity. This not only hinders their economic development and business productivity, but also their human development (comfort of life, health conditions, education).
The schools of Vohitrarivo, Ambohipo, and Ambodimana are located in an isolated, rural area, where access is very difficult due to the poor conditions of the 16 km long track. It is an unprotected area, adjacent to Ranomafana National Park, which is home to the largest population of greater bamboo lemurs. The local community is made of peasants who mainly practice agriculture, including rice growing, whose expansion threatens the lemurs’ natural habitat. The main challenge is therefore to bridge the gap between the needs of local populations and the needs of lemurs in order to guarantee a sustainable cohabitation between humans and the natural environment.
The project of solar electrification of schools by Electriciens sans frontières is part of the education component of the program, aiming at supporting the schools of the region to offer quality education to its pupils, and by raising awareness as well as training actions for environmental protection. Beyond education, the program includes local development activities aimed at finding solutions to meet the needs of the local population. Within this framework, the partner of Electriciens sans frontières is developing actions to support agriculture, such as the establishment of crop guarding (risk of degradation by animals), and the development of new income-generating activities (ecotourism, handicrafts), with the aim of giving local communities sufficient resources to live with and protect the natural habitat of the greater bamboo lemurs. Regarding energy facilities, the local population has no access to electricity, and water is drawn directly from a river. The Helpsimus association has built toilets, especially in schools, and provides training in hygiene and health (water and waste management).