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Giving back to society in Madagascar

Umicore believes that quality education is key to changing the future. That’s why we have a long-term partnership with UNICEF through which we support educational projects in India & Madagascar. Two of our employees recently visited the UNICEF projects in Madagascar where Umicore contributes to the construction of classrooms and to making clean water available in the schools. Read and watch our colleague Quentin Poncelet’s first hand experience here.

When landing in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, I did not really know what to expect about this African country in the Indian ocean. I did not know that Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world. Now I know and my first impressions were tough and challenging: women selling their meagre harvest on the square, polluting cars driving on rough roads, children wandering alone along the roads … all of that made a big impact on me. At the same time I was truly touched by the heartfelt welcome of the local people I met and by the beautiful nature around me.   

Visiting the school that was partly built with the support of Umicore was an incredible experience. Not because the classrooms were impressive, but because the children were so likeable and seemed so eager to learn. Learning French and mathematics, learning for a better future. This is why Umicore has been supporting UNICEF for so long, for all these children dreaming of a better future and deserving a chance in life.  

Changing the hygiene habits in the communities is one of the missions of UNICEF. Think for example of regularly washing your hands with soap, or drinking only clean water. I was amazed to see how children apply this consistently in the school environment, carefully following the instructions of their teachers.  

Working for Umicore means to me focusing on sustainable solutions. I was pleased to see that UNICEF promotes this same approach. By working closely with the government and ministries’ programs on education, health, nutrition and child protection, UNICEF ensures changes are made and implemented at the highest country level. Successful projects are then replicated in other parts of the country. Sustainable energy is also visible in the actions UNICEF is carrying out in the field, such as the use of solar energy to power refrigerators containing vaccines for young children.  

In a nutshell, I was deeply moved by the efforts made by UNICEF to fulfil its mission: saving children’s lives, defending their rights, and helping them fulfil their potential. I am really proud of Umicore’s engagement to support UNICEF and in this way, giving back to society.