The sun is at high noon just a few days after winter solstice in Lamboara. Marie-Louise and five of her fellow seaweed farmers sit in ankle-deep water tending to cords of seaweed. The women laugh, sing and dance while working, and ever so often the word lomotse is spoken, the word for ‘seaweed’ in Malagasy.
In Madagascar—where women face a 1 in 43 lifetime risk of maternal death—community mobilisation can improve maternal health outcomes. In rural areas, clinics and hospitals are located far from many villages, which means that transport in emergency situations is vital for reducing delays in getting women the care they urgently need. Simple community-led initiatives tackling such problems can have a great impact, as evidenced by the recent efforts of a women’s group in the village of Andalambezo on Madagascar’s remote southwest coast.
From humble beginnings over five years ago, locally led mangrove fishery management initiatives are now flourishing in Belo sur Mer and surrounding villages, alongside community-based health promotion and alternative coastal livelihoods in the form of aquaculture.