In the poor urban areas of Madagascar affected by flooding, a Cash for Assets programme funded by the European Union and implemented by the World Food Programme (WFP) enables communities to restore their livelihoods, improve their access to food and prepare for whatever the cyclone season might throw at them.
Mrs Rasolomanana (59) completes her work in the middle of green rice fields in a small village situated about 15 kilometers from Madagascar's capital, Antananarivo. Along with 20 others, she is helping fix a dike in a bid to protect their homes and fields and from floods.
This widowed mother of 11 children lives in a modest house and barely earns enough through her basket work.
"Before the floods our rice crops enabled me to sustain my family's food needs. When our field got destroyed by the mud we were desperate as I am the only one able to support our family. It is especially difficult for my son who has chronic health problems and requires medicines," she explains.
Mrs Rasolomanana is part of a WFP Cash Transfer Programme aiming at restoring livelihoods of 15,000 people after heavy rainfalls followed by floods affected the capital city at the beginning of the year. WFP and local NGO Sandratra support Mrs Rasolomanana and other vulnerable households to rehabilitate dikes and clean canals. Those who are not physically able to work are trained on poultry farming and handicraft. Everyone receives nutrition and hygiene advices.
Participants are encouraged to manage their assets through the establishment of cooperatives so as to ensure the programme's sustainability. In exchange, they receive the equivalent of US$20 dollars each month through a mobile phone transfer.
"With the money I received I could buy some food and medicines for my son," says Mrs. Rasolomanana. "Now that our fields are rehabilitated and protected from floods we hope to have good harvests."
This innovative programme funded by the European Union Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) contributes to strengthen communities' resilience to disasters including floods and cyclones. This support is especially crucial during the cyclone season as a very strong El Niño event is expected to bring heavier rainfall to northern, eastern parts and central high parts of the country.