Madagascar: trade union solidarity with teachers affected by natural disasters

published 7 June 2023 updated 20 March 2024

The Fédération Chrétienne des Enseignants et Employés de l’Éducation (FEKRIMPAMA) has spared no effort in distributing financial resources from the Education International (EI) solidarity fund to its affiliates most severely affected by cyclones Cheneso and Freddy.

The FEKRIMPAMA General Secretary, Constant Andrianatrehy Marolaza, explained that as soon as the funding was received, the union office decided to distribute the aid to local teachers and members in the four areas affected by the natural disasters:

  • North zone: Andapa.
  • East zone: Mananjary, Manakara and Nosy Varika.
  • West zone: Morondava.
  • South-West zone: Tuléar I and II.

Organisation of financial aid payments

"Given the road and accessibility problems in some areas, some aid has been sent to disaster victims via online banking services. As for the regions accessible by car or motorbike, members of the national office and regional officers visited the affected areas to see the material damage for themselves and to distribute the aid granted by EI to teachers between 1 and 7 April," he added.

Seventy teachers each received the sum of 250,000 Malagasy ariarys, equivalent to around €50. For Marolaza in Madagascar, this sum will cover the living expenses of a family of four for 2 to 3 weeks.

As FEKRIMPAMA has a decentralised structure, it is the regional union leaders who have drawn up the lists of beneficiaries," he said.

"Many members have lost their homes and their crops. Teaching materials were also destroyed. We were not able to help everyone, and almost everyone was affected by the cyclone. The money was used to cover basic needs. Everyone decided to use the money according to their own priorities. We comforted people as trade unionists".

Referring to the online money transfer as an alternative to delivering cash in person, which is sometimes impossible, Marolaza explained that the MVOLA system "makes it easier to work if there are problems with contact details. All the people we have helped have access to online money transfers, regardless of their location. This system is widely used in Madagascar because the SIM card is registered in the person's name, which is a guarantee of security. It's the right person who gets the money". Of the 70 teachers supported by the union, 39 received support in this way.

Contributing to the life and strength of the union

The President of FEKRIMPAMA, Heriniaina José Rakotoarinosy, emphasised that the visit to the various regions was a good opportunity to strengthen the relationship between the FEKRIMPAMA office and the local members.

The FEKRIMPAMA office also met with mayors and local education officials, who thanked the union for the help it had provided.

In addition, Rakotoarinosy explained that the union had provided financial assistance to teachers who were not yet members of FEKRIMPAMA, but who decided to join as a result.

During the visits, the union was also able to recruit new members and collect membership fees and annual subscriptions. It was "a great opportunity to strengthen our union’s base.".

Finally, he concluded, "to strengthen the capacity of all members and further promote our union, we are considering organising a workshop next September, for which FEKRIMPAMA has requested technical assistance from EI".