The Anosy Region is located in the south/south-east of Madagascar with a total population of about 671,000 inhabitants over an estimated area of 30,198 km2 . It covers three districts namely Amboasary Atsimo, Betroka and the county seat of Taolagnaro Region. In 2013, the GDP per capita was estimated at USD 322 per capita, while the national average was USD 391 per capita1 . Although this region is home to one of the country's largest extractive industries and has abundant natural resources, it is one of the poorest in Madagascar as manifested by the staggering level of food insecurity and the high rates of acute and chronic malnutrition among children under 5 years old in Amboasary Atsimo District. This district (see opposite map, in yellow), located between the Betroka and Taolagnaro Districts, has approximately 160,000 inhabitants, representing about ¼ of the total population of the Anosy Region and a relatively low density of 15 inhabitants/km2 .
The southern part of Amboasary District is characterised by the presence of sisal plantations that have limited the space for household agriculture, while the northern part is predominantly composed of small household farms (in the Mandrare River valley and its tributaries), vast expanses of grazing areas for cattle, sheep and goats, and small-scale mining activities. The levels of poverty, chronic food insecurity, and moderate to severe acute malnutrition have been exacerbated by insecurity in the form of cattle (zebu) theft and killings. The northern part of Amboasary Atsimo District has borne the brunt of this insecurity. In 2015, over a dozen national and international humanitarian and development actors were operating in the Amboasary Atsimo District.
Considering this context, the intervention of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, through the Malagasy Red Cross Society (MRCS) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red crescent Societies (IFRC) in the implementation of the FIHAVOTSE food security project is more than justified.
The Malagasy Red Cross chose to intervene in two rural communes in the Amboasary Atsimo District, namely Marotsiraka and Tranomaro, located 4 hours and 2 hours away respectively in the north from main town of Amboasary Atsimo. Since 2015, the Malagasy Red Cross has been one of the few non-profit organisations operating in these two communes, enabling better coverage of the district, while most interventions are centred in the vicinity of the district’s county seat which is deemed safer and easily accessible.