Madagascar has one of the highest poverty rates in the world, with 77% of the population, including 90% in the southeast, surviving on less than US$1.90 per day. Women are particularly affected by Madagascar's poverty as they are restricted in generating an income due to entrenched cultural limitations and domestic responsibilities. Project Mahampy, Phase II, aims to improve the sustainability of mahampy reed weaving as a traditional women's livelihood activity in southeast Madagascar.
As women are hindered from accessing more lucrative livelihoods, such as lobster fishing, which are traditionally male-dominated, women are left with very few options to ensure a form of financial independence for themselves and their children. Weavers sold mahampy products independently, making them vulnerable to pricing set by buyers in a supplier-rich market. Additionally, fire, land degradation and unregulated harvesting of the reeds threaten the ecosystems and potential livelihoods.
SEED will build on the progress made in Phase I to maximize the sales potential of the Mahampy Weavers' Workshop, improve the financial resilience of the Mahampy Weavers' Cooperative, and support weavers in the development and implementation of a strategy to sustainably manage the mahampy reedbeds. In addition to skills-based learning and training, the project will seek to increase the Cooperative's sales through improved engagement with local and regional buyers, as well as tourists.
Since 2019, Project Mahampy has supported over 160 female mahampy weavers in the rural community of Sainte Luce. Given the impact of COVID-19 on project activities, including subsequent restrictions, delays, and changes to the mahampy market, Phase II will respond to challenges that limited the potential of mahampy weaving as a profitable and sustainable livelihood, whilst building on the successes and learnings of the previous phase.
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).