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McCormick Blog

Purpose-Led Performance April 10, 2023

Working Together to Improve Education in Madagascar

student in Madagascar

Increasing the resilience of our smallholder farmers doesn’t just improve their livelihoods, it makes good business sense. Our 2025 goal to increase the resilience of over 35,000 farmers is measured by increasing skills and capacity, income, access to financial services, education, and nutrition and health. To date, we have positively impacted over 31,000 farmers. As a result, McCormick has greater transparency within our supply chains, which decreases risk and builds supply chain resilience. 

Many of the communities from which we source vanilla from in Madagascar are situated in remote regions of the Sava district, with limited resources and infrastructure. Over the last few years, we have invested in multiple projects within the region, taking a holistic approach to the development of social and agricultural initiatives. One of our focus areas, identified through our risk analysis and needs assessment, has been the drive to create better access to schooling for children, who may otherwise have no option but to stay at home or work on the family farm.

Building a school in the remote regions of Sava comes with challenges. Materials need to be trucked in on dirt roads which can become unpassable during the rainy season. It requires a significant amount of planning (and patience!), and trusted local partners who manage the project every step of the way. Through these collaborations, we have supported the construction or rehabilitation of 12 schools in the region, benefitting thousands of farming families.

education in Madagascar

McCormick has supported the construction or rehabilitation of 12 schools in the region, benefitting thousands of farming families.

 To build on this work, McCormick has also funded the construction of libraries for use by school children and the local community. Inspired by the efforts of our sustainability team, McCormick employees within EMEA joined forces to collect books and school supplies, in addition to clothing and toys, for these Malagasy communities. The project was the second time the McCormick France McCharity Employee Ambassador Group has spearheaded such a campaign, extending it to beyond the French team to colleagues in Italy and the UK as well.student with textbook

The initiative was so successful that around nine metric tons of supplies were collected and shipped to Madagascar, including over 16,000 books as well as computers for the libraries. Ernestine is a teacher managing over 350 students, including many whose parents are vanilla farmers: “The library and computer room will completely change the education of children in this rural area because many students will come here to study and learn more things to improve their knowledge. And in the coming months the number of attendances will be increased,” she said.

Ten-year-old Anjarasoa Marie Kendijira visits the library five times a week: “I am very happy with the creation of the library which will allow us to read and improve our knowledge of foreign languages,” she says. “My favorite book is a French book. I will study hard to succeed until University.”

Over 8,600 students benefited from the donations across three communities, with pictures and videos from the deliveries shared with the McCormick employees who participated. Gabriel Sarasin, Director of Sustainability and Technology at McCormick, leads our sustainability projects in Madagascar and helped to facilitate the donation: “The generosity of McCormick France, Italy and UK employees to our vanilla farming communities is a demonstration of the commitment we have to make a difference in the communities in which we live, work and source. It’s great to see this community model making a real impact on the ground in Madagascar.”

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