Engaging Girls on Climate Change in Madagascar

Deforestation has impacted approximately 94% of Madagascar’s previously forested lands. Only 41% of the Madagascan population has access to basic water services, 17% to basic sanitation services and 23% to basic hygiene services. Just over 80% of schools lack safe water and 31% lack basic latrines.

Engaging Girls on Climate Change in Madagascar will help UNICEF enable children, particularly girls, to learn in a safe and inclusive environment and empower them to take actions to change and to build climate-resilient communities. The targeted beneficiaries are more than 1,000 students (approximately 540 girls), 750 teachers, and residents of school communities in Beloha and Ambovombe districts in the region of Androy, the drought-prone region of the South.

This project will not only provide impact in the immediate and short-term, but also create robust enabling environments in which successful projects can be replicated at scale and be sustained in the long-term, thereby multiplying the impact on women, girls and boys over time.


Zonta has supported girls’ education in Madagascar since 2016 through the Let Us Learn Madagascar program. For the next two years, Zonta International has committed US$500,000 to UNICEF USA to support girls and a generation of children and adolescents by providing environmental education in Madagascar through child-friendly schools.

The program’s main objectives are to:

  1. Enable children to learn in safe and inclusive environments and empower them to take actions to build climate-resilient communities. 
  2. Support Madagascar in meeting water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sustainable development goals (SDGs), while also contributing to improving the quality of children’s education, especially girls, through environmental conservation and education initiatives.


  • At least 1,000 students (including about 540 girls) and 1,500 teachers will be trained on water conservation, environmental education and menstrual health and hygiene. 
  • Schools become child-friendly institutions that offer impactful environmental learning experiences that address gender, disability, language and other factors as they relate to learning about and being impacted by the environment. 
  • Five pilot schools will promote environmental education and reinforce hygiene and sanitation behaviors that promote children’s access to education through gardens managed by child clubs under the supervision of schoolteachers. Training will be provided on the effects of climate change (e.g., droughts, floods, extreme heat, saltwater intrusion, etc.) and participants will receive information on environmental education, water conservation, solid waste sorting and management, WASH and infection prevention and control. 
  • Sanitation, hygiene and water conservation practices will be promoted in the villages around the five pilot schools, and community members will be educated about the impacts of climate change through trained healthcare workers, teachers, parents and students. 
  • At least 750 teachers at 700 primary schools will receive training on climate and environment, sanitation and hygiene practices, clean school environment and the development of disaster risk plans to enable learning to continue during natural disasters.

Read a detailed project description to find out more about this exciting partnership between Zonta International and UNICEF USA.