Sahondra is 37 and lives in a poor area in the capital Antananarivo, where most people live on less than 1 USD per day. The COVID-19 pandemic resultant lockdown has significantly impacted their life. Women in the area often work as cleaning ladies and collect water for other people or do small scale trading. The men work as ‘dockers’, carrying merchandise for traders. When Antananarivo was put under lockdown, the trading companies closed and thus the dockers no longer got work. The employers who hired the women to do laundry etc. stopped working and could no longer afford their service. This further deteriorated the already precarious situation of households like Sahondra’s. She is married and has three children. Her youngest daughter, Nambinintsoa, aged 11 months old, suffers from moderate acute malnutrition and is being treated at a WFP-supported nutrition centre.
‘’During the lockdown, travel wasn’t allowed and my husband stopped working. Our eldest son was helping my husband doing small jobs. This allowed us to buy a can of rice and cook our evening rice porridge, the only meal for the day’’. Since January 2020, Sahondra’s daughter has been receiving nutritional support from WFP’s partner Action Contre la Faim. The treatment consists of the distribution of ready-to-use-food, the provision of nutritional surveillance of the children and counselling for the mothers. She is still receiving treatment but has improved.
In her mother’s words, “Since she has been receiving this support, my daughter feels better. She has regained strength and can now stand. I had to go look for work but I could not fully concentrate on this. I was thinking about my daughter all the time. And there were other issues such as paying the rent and school fees of our eldest sons that I have to deal with too. COVID-19 has changed a lot in our life. We could not work. My husband and I started to wonder if we should stop sending the children to school. We were not even able to buy school supplies. All these things made us anxious. Our favourite dish is fish. If we cannot afford it, we just stick with what is available or not.”