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Aug 28, 2020

Training of young people in Antsirabe (Madagascar)

In central Madagascar, 164 km south of the capital Antananarivo, the diocese of Antsirabe (Vakinankaratra region) covers an area of 16,000 km² and brings together around 1.803 million inhabitants, more than half of whom are young people. Poverty in the region is particularly serious in this rural environment where agricultural production (rice, corn, vegetables, fruit trees) does not cover all the food needs of peasant families. In the region, the poverty level is 75.8% (INSTAT 2010), malnutrition affects 62.7% of the population, the school attendance rate is 42%. Without training, young people in the region, like all Malagasy youth, have difficulty entering the work market.

The Diocesan Caritas of Antsirabe, supported by Secours Catholique-Caritas France, always active in the fight against poverty in the region of Vakinankaratra, founded the PCS (Professional Career School) RISIKA in 1993. Approved by the Ministry of Education, Technical Education and Vocational Training, it supports young people in great difficulty in the city of Antsirabe, to get them out of the streets, feed them, educate them and give them an adequate job, through diversified vocational training courses responding to the socio-economic context of the Diocese of Antsirabe. The training period is two years for the QPT. (Qualifying Professional Training) or three years for the CPC (Certificate of professional competence).

The project aims to enable the professional integration of young people in precarious situations in the town of Antsirabe and its immediate surroundings by providing vocational training. This project comprises three linked components in the pursuit of this common objective:

  1. The RISIKA center offers young people a diversified and qualifying vocational training meeting the specificity of the diocese. To carry out this support, the training provided at the Center has been restructured into two streams: basic streams (woodwork, metalwork, bicycle mechanics, sewing / embroidery, hairdressing and food processing) and additional training (agriculture, livestock, beekeeping, plumbing and electricity)
  2. In addition to training, the project supports the young people of the center in their integration into their working life. With the creation of partnerships with companies in the region and the establishment of an incubation system within RISIKA, allowing the creation of a business.
  3. Caritas Antsirabe has the ambition to increase its financial resources by developing its income-generating activities (IGA). It aims to set up the organization, management and working method of the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE). The proceeds from this large-scale operation will be used to expand the center and provide training.


Professional training component

For the year 2019-2020, 100 new young people were recruited in the first year against 97 planned, increasing to 149 the number of learners for the school year. In 2019, two learners dropped out of the training, bringing the drop-out rate to less than 10%.

In order to avoid a higher drop-out rate, the RISIKA center provided a daily lunch for learners, trainees and trainers. 150 young people also benefited from health insurance.

In addition, several training sessions took place for the trainers:

  • Pedagogy and knowledge transfer (25 teachers)
  • Business creation (7 foremen), setting up and development of an economic project. The latter's objective is to strengthen the skills of workshop managers in setting up and developing an economic project. These new skills will also improve the efficiency of their workshop in terms of performance.

Through this project, the RISIKA center distributed a toolbox (December 2019) to 63 second-year learners, in order to better support them in their professional integration. 8 bonuses (tools and small materials) were also offered to the best learners.


Professional integration component

For the year 2019, all 2nd-year learners were able to do their internship.

The follow-up activities made it possible, during the first half of 2019, to identify the hiring of 5 young people from the 2018-2019 class, one at Momotasy (bicycle mechanics workshop) and four at CFAMA (state establishment specializing in agricultural machinery. ).

During the second half of 2019, 26 other young people were able to be followed. A very large majority of them have been able to find a job in their field. Below is the detail by sector:
- Hairdressing: Out of the 8 high school graduates, 7 have found work in their field, including one who has created his own hairdressing salon.
- Couture and embroidery cut: Out of the 11 outgoing pupils, 4 do not work in the sector.
- wood work: 6 work in the wood sector and 1 works in a butcher's shop.

Regarding activities to promote self-employment "business creation" three youngs are currently in the process of creating their own workshop.

In addition, Caritas Antsirabe, is a member of the professional promotion network in Madagascar. This networking has contributed to improving the performance of the center in promoting the social integration of young people as well as in their empowerment.


Income Generating Activities

The activities promoting the self-financing of the center are promising. The opening of the "showroom" made it possible to increase income through sales (agricultural products, carpentry.) and access to services (hairdressing, restaurant etc.). In addition, Caritas Antsirabe has strengthened the marketing and sales of its products for better visibility and efficiency: 

  • creation of a commercial name for “VOARY” products
  • “mobile sale” of agrifood products,
  • recruitment of a marketing and sales manager and an information and communication manager.

Apr 30, 2020

Our teams remain mobilized during the covid-19 crisis

Vouchers distribution in Bordeaux (33)
Vouchers distribution in Bordeaux (33)

The unprecedented health crisis we are facing right now forces each of our countries to take drastic measures to ensure the security of populations, leaving the most precarious among us behind. Those who live on the street, in temporary accommodation (social hotels), makeshift (squats, shantytowns...) or without resources are without a protection solution in the face of this pandemic.


Major operation already launched: the distribution of service vouchers

While the collective distribution of meals is difficult to organize in satisfactory sanitary conditions, the use of service vouchers is one of the preferred actions at first, to maintain dignified access for people in difficulty to essential products of their choice (food and hygiene products). A service voucher is like a currency, it allows the person who has it to pay for his groceries in the supermarkets according to the face value (written above) of the allocated voucher.

The delivery of service vouchers is the best way to respond now to this emergency while minimizing contact and therefore the risk of spreading the epidemic.

A first shared order for the entire network was placed on Friday March 20 and can be reiterated as needed. This first order is worth 2.5 million euros, or 50,000 service voucher books ordered.

This action is coupled with a plea to the public authorities for a broader mobilization.

A call for donations was launched to the general public to finance this operation and all those that will be born in the network in the coming days, to meet the needs that will be felt in compliance with the safety rules in force. Our other supporters are also solicited, philanthropists, businesses, foundations and religious communities, because this crisis is major and will last. This initial fund will not be enough to meet all needs.


Allocation of vouchers: to whom are we distributing?  

The ordered notebooks consist of 5 vouchers, for a total value of € 50: 1 voucher for € 20, 2 for € 10 and 2 for € 5. Vouchers can be distributed independently.

They are allocated according to the aid policies of each delegation, but taking into account the crisis context and the situation of each person or household. This invites to allocate significant amounts, allowing to meet needs for 2 weeks, rather than multiplying trips.


Distribution planning

The vouchers’ distribution must be done in strict compliance with the conditions of a "secure action", defined by Secours Catholique in the following terms:

  • Deposit in an envelope, on the doorstep, in the mailbox. Accompany the delivery by a phone call before and after. Exceptionally and only under the condition of a system piloted by the public authorities, and after validation internally by a security committee, the reversal is possible in collective places of squat or slum type, in strict compliance with health guidelines.

  • Individual distribution, during a reception, by appointment: a distribution method as a last resort. In this context, the reception must be individual, the space and the conditions of reception must be arranged to ensure compliance with the rules of social distancing


Service voucher orders: pooling by the headquarters of the delegation

  • A centralized national order for notebooks (value of € 50) for their availability to delegations who wish.

  • The delivery is made directly by the provider (its carriers) to the teams or places designated by each delegation (several places possible).

  • Each delegation makes a request according to its stocks already available and the needs identified in its territory. A first order was offered on March 21 for delivery between March 25 and 28, 2020. Others can be made in the coming weeks as needed


For a broader mobilization

Recommendations have been made to the public authorities so that service vouchers can be an answer in this emergency situation:

  • Ensuring the increase of their distribution by the CCAS (Central Social activities Funds); authorize the extension of existing public markets or simplify the public market procedure for those who do not have it through derogatory procedures or by allowing the CCAS to make local agreements with local signs / small traders, in particular in areas rural.

  • Ensuring that all the retailers (large distributors and small traders) accept service vouchers: coverage of agreement costs by the State (linked to management fees for entry into the accounting system).

  • Allow businesses to make change on service vouchers, because today this is not possible.


Other actions will follow:

Our volunteers, who are very committed, are already looking at all the actions that can be taken under conditions of optimal safety for the public, for volunteers and employees. We are in the process of imagining new forms of support for these very fragile audiences.


Because everyone at home does not mean everyone for themselves, let us remain fraternal in the face of this major crisis.

Food supply for families living in squats
Food supply for families living in squats


Feb 12, 2020

Protection of natural resources in Guatemala

Plot diversification workshop
Plot diversification workshop


Levels of poverty - particularly in rural areas and among indigenous groups - and inequality remain among the highest in Guatemala. Also, the level of chronic child malnutrition (48% of children under five, 80% of whom are from indigenous groups) has a definite impact on the education and health of these children.

The Alta Verapaz department is the poorest in Guatemala, in several municipalities more than half of the population lives in extreme poverty (The index of human development in 2014 was estimated at 53.6%). The municipality of Chahal in Alta Verapaz, is among the poorest in the country with a poverty level of 92.1% and 54.4% of extreme poverty. It is located in the northwest of the department and is essentially composed with 98% of Qeqchi - maya people from Guatemala - very young (58% is under 18). This municipality has been identified, since 2011, by the state as one of the 102 municipalities with the greatest food vulnerability in the country. According to the government's Food and Nutrition Security monitoring system, 31 rural communities in the department have been identified as priorities. Five of them are participating in this project (Sepilha, Siguanja I, Santa Rita, Chaquiroqija and Sejux). 

Moreover, the department of Alta Verapaz is affected by the pollution of its rivers, mining (metallic, non-metallic), hydroelectric projects and territorial conflicts linked to palm oil monocultures which weaken the social fabric of the community. There has been an increase in social protests since 2012.


Project duration

3 years from February 1, 2018 to January 31, 2021.


Objectives of our project

Global: Contribute to improving the living conditions of 175 families from 10 communities in the municipality of Chahal by promoting alternative systems and models guaranteeing sound management of natural and food resources.

- Promote the establishment and management of agro-forestry systems for the protection of natural resources and the achievement of food security in 10 communities in the municipality of Chahal
- Promote healthy behaviors and lifestyles that respect the environment for the 175 identified families from 10 communities in the municipality of Chahal (Alta Verapaz).



Direct: 121 men and 169 women for a total of 175 families
Indirect: 585 members of 175 families from 10 communities

Criteria: the participants in the project are indigenous farmers; farmer cultivating corn, beans (frijol) and other native crops. Five of these ten marginalized communities are located far from the city where the municipality sits (without institutional presence) and have already participated in the project in the previous phase where they could have been introduced to methods and practices improving agricultural productivity, animal reproduction. and savings and credit practices; however, their self-sufficiency is not yet assured.


Expected results

- Producers increase diversified agricultural productivity and local economic opportunities
- Producers' access to local and regional markets for the marketing of their agrarian products is improved
- The families of producers have improved their diet on the basis of agro-ecological production
- The families of producers have adopted healthy and environmentally friendly hygiene practices and habits.


Project progress in 2019

The project, initiated in 2018 could be operated during phase 2 - 2019. Most of the planned activities were carried out.

Result 1: Through training, support and technical assistance, 18.7 hectares of land were transformed into farming systems according to an agroforestry model in the 5 communities in the second phase of the project. The breeding of 3,652 poultry and 391 pigs was carried out during the first semester of 2019.
There are a total of 182 families participating in the project (7 more than expected) with 63.66 hectares (54.05 for profit and 9.61 for family food).
77 families are developing 35.33 hectares for the establishment of agroforestry management systems. The breeding of 4,556 poultry (duck, turkey and chicken) and 330 pigs is underway.

Result 2: The participants from the 5 communities developed tools for marketing agricultural products in the markets of the region. 34.28% of the families in phase 2 of the project (36 out of 105 families) increased their income by 734,175 Q (or approximately € 2,472 per family).
5 marketing networks have been launched, one for cocoa, another for achiote, another for pepper, chili and cardamom. These networks allow the promotion of products originating from agroecology.

Result 3: 182 families participating in the project have acquired new knowledge concerning environmentally friendly diets and the preparation of balanced and healthy menus. 103 children had a medical check-up with their growth monitoring in order to measure and monitor levels of malnutrition. 49 children were diagnosed as malnourished and with growth problems.

Result 4: 182 families participating in the project benefited from awareness sessions carried out by midwives and health promoters. A total of 36 people (18 men and 18 women) benefited from the training.

Global analysis:
There is a strong commitment from the 182 families from the 10 communities participating in the project. The support and training work in the communities enabled an improvement in the income of participating families in 734,174Q for all 182 families. Awareness of diets and hygiene habits has led to a reduction in malnourished children.

Main challenges:
- Need to develop a disease prevention plan for animal husbandry.
- Develop the marketing, accounting and resource administration process.
- Reinforce the tools to measure production.


The total project budget is € 273,424.55 over 3 years. An agreement has been given to the partner for a contribution from Secours Catholique - Caritas France of € 210,000 for the three years of the program including € 70,000 in 2019.

Agronomic technologies workshop
Agronomic technologies workshop
Development of a marketing plan
Development of a marketing plan
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