Madagascar, Africa

MAD02 - South Androy Development Project : Partnership Reports

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REPORT DATED: MAY 14, 2021 >

Report Date: July 7, 2023

Report from BHW Madagascar Partnership Facilitator Following Visit

Key Person: Hanitra (Yant) 

Recent Events

Goat Development Programme (MAD02a)

funding ministryA team of four from BHW visited for three days. We spent time with the emerging leaders and visited two villages they are working in. The purpose of the goat programme is to help each village team fund the ministry in the village. This is a slight change to the original purpose, which was to support the emerging leaders, but it has been decided that it is better to do it this way. 

Each goat programme commenced with 8–10 goats being given to the ‘Jesus Followers’ who are in various villages. Most of them are young people. Once a herd is established, they return the original number of goats to the programme, plus two extras. They will start to return the goats in February 2024. They will start giving goats to other groups in September 2023.  Goats cost US$25.  

generating incomeYant likes to buy a nanny goat with two young kids as she’s found this the most productive option.  She personally has 45 goats.  This is separate to the development programme.

There are now nine young adult leaders who oversee the goat programme. The vision is to empower the communities and these leaders.  

They originally bought around 150 goats. From November until now there have been 130 kids born and 17 goats have died. There are currently 27 villages who have goats under this programme.

The leaders are encouraged to show love but be good stewards. They need to consult with the Relief and Development Team on any distribution of funds or goats and may ask Yant for her opinion. 

making a differenceYant believes the Goat Project is a suitable step for the abilities and level of the people and has been very beneficial. It has allowed barriers to be broken between the village and those who have become Christians as they see that the Christians are giving and not taking. 

Cell Groups

As a result of barriers being broken down, and the passion these leaders have for sharing their faith, they are responsible for several cell groups each. Within these groups they share the Gospel and teach the Bible.

There are now over 100 cell groups. Two-week-old Christians start these cell groups without much Biblical knowledge at all. The team follow up with weekly training and teaching. Yant organises regularly weekly leaders' meetings and phones in from Tana to train and encourage. The leaders are incredibly passionate about their faith and attending these weekly meetings, many walk up to three hours from their village to attend. 

Children's Work

This is overseen by Deborah (an OM missionary from England) who has a team of teenagers trained who run children’s programmes in the villages. This is something the churches in the towns have never done. They believe that if the children come to the Lord when they are young, this will have a huge impact in the communities as these children grow into adult life.

Youth Work 

Sinora leads the youth ministry and meets twice a week with those who live and study in Ambovombe. Some of these young people are part of the goat programme too. The youth run evangelism events on the streets with microphone and speakers. New educated youth are emerging which is helpful.

Yant and Deborah’s aim is to empower the youth – instead of them coming to them with their needs, they help and encourage them to resolve their own problems. OM don’t provide funds to send children to school but assist parents to get the kids to school. 

Pearla Ministry 

They seek to help young girls be valued by their communities and are against child bride arrangements. They also aim to keep girls in education. Sinora and another lady help with this by, (i) teaching that their identity is in God, (ii) keeping them in school, (iii) micro projects (pigs).  They approach parents in the community if their girls are involved to get their support.


Personal Stories

changed lifeMafunzi – Mafunzi (left in photo) told us he used to be a cattle thief. When he was caught, his father had to pay his debts, otherwise he would need to go to prison for one month. Sija from his village shared the Gospel with him in 2022 and he became a Christian which has completely changed his life. The local people are happy with the change.  

young motherSija – Sija is a young mother of seven who became a Christian in 2019 after hearing the Gospel.  She shared her faith with others in her village who have become Jesus followers, and who in turn, have shared the Gospel with their friends and family. There is such a passion for sharing the Gospel, that many are coming to Christ. The cell group leaders in her region are reaching many people – 73, 57, 35, 30, 47 in each group.


changed lifeSortinwatoo – Sortinwatoo was the only person following Jesus in her village. She now has nine cell groups operating. There are 35 in the cell group in her village. There are 33 adults who are baptised. She experienced a miraculous foot healing which had an impact on the village. They have seen a lot of healings and deliverance from demons in her village. They recounted how one lady’s hand was miraculously healed; and one of the young men said he was delivered from demonic influences each night – now he reads his Bible each night and is freed from demonic oppression.


Profiles of new and emerging leaders

Celestin is 26 years old and is married to Manomboaze who is 23. They were legally married this week because they believe it is not God's way to live with a woman without a legal marriage. It is not okay within his culture and family to have a legal marriage due to the fact that if there is a divorce, the wife would take the money/possessions. They also think the wife will take control of the man. In his immediate family it wasn’t a big problem, but with the wider family and community it is.  

He became a Christian in 2018 and lives 13 km from the Ambovombe office, which is two hours walk. He works once a month for a government project that provides US$30 for women. They have three children – boy 5 years, girl 3 years, boy 3 months.   

committedTsihombaia is 23 years old, a cell group leader and with the development team in charge of communications with the goat project. 

Community people respect and trust the development team because they are contributing to the community instead of taking which is breaking down barriers. He said people didn’t respect him because he was young but that has changed and now they listen to him as he is involved in the relief and development project.

He says he already has his dream – Youth with a Vision. He wants to see the expansion of his ministry. He wants to improve his life so he can help his parents. He has nine siblings from his mother. His father has four wives – so 23 siblings altogether. He became a Christian in 2021 after his uncle shared the gospel with him.

He lives four hours walk from the Ambovombe office but goes to school here, then home in the weekends. He runs a cell group of 20 people in his village and two groups in Ambovombe. He wants to study but there are no professors for the University at the moment. His parents are still supporting him as much as they can. 

Avisoa is 30 years old, and his wife Tolikazee is 23. They have a daughter, Martinah who is three years old. They were also legally married this week. He says it has brought him joy because he is no longer single on legal documentation but is married. Avisoa became a Christian in 2021. They live 15 km away – 3 hours walk. He looks after two goat development groups and is a second generation Christian. He has been a schoolteacher for six years with no pay as the first five years working for the Government is unpaid. He earns some money working for the local village municipality assisting the mayor.  

Avisoa is the President of Relief Development with five teams to look after. Yant hasn’t officially given him a title as he is a young Christian, so calls him President.   

Sylvain is 25 and single. He lives in a village 16 km from the office, and it takes 3 hours to walk.  He became a Christian in 2020. Yant calls into his cell group every Monday and gives some teaching. He is looking after five communities with goat projects. 

Kombohitse is 33 years old and is single. He would like to get married, but his family doesn’t have a cow. He lives in a village 26 km from the office – 6 hours walk. He became a Christian in 2020 and looks after three cell teams and is involved in the goat project.  


Partnership's Influence within the Community

Sortinwatoo explained that in her village there was some persecution from the community, but this has stopped since they recently got an audio Bible, so everyone can listen and understand in their own language.  


Plans for the Future

They would like to increase the Goat Development Programme in September as this has been a successful project in breaking down barriers with village communities allowing them to share the Gospel.

Permaculture and projects for planting trees for firewood are other projects Yant would like to explore. We may hear about this in the future.  


Current Issues and Challenges

Legal Marriages

Two of the team got legally married after the OM Board Chair came and preached about family and marriage. This is the first two couples in the whole community, as marriage is a threat to the culture. The community is suspicious and fear marriage as it would mean they can’t continue with polygamy, and the wife may take control once they get married as a husband can’t have another wife.

In the traditional churches even the Pastor has two wives, with many Christians looking for another wife. Weddings are definitely not a thing here.


50% of Madagascan children are illiterate but most illiterate are in the villages. There is no written/printed bible in Androy. There is a Bible written in Malagasy, but they can’t understand it.  The Gospel of Luke and Acts has now been translated in Androy by Global Recording Network.


When someone dies, each child is to contribute the equivalent of US$350 for an expensive funeral and tomb. They are blacklisted if they do not contribute therefore they spend all their lives savings on the funeral. There is never any inheritances. It is a culture of death. A daughter is often sold to retrieve money back for the cow for a funeral.

Christians are starting to stand up against traditional funerals and costs. This is one of the most effective changes required in these communities.


It takes a long time to build trust by talking and meeting with people as they believe that foreigners are superior. Yant gives her team space to feel the responsibility and burden of the work that is why there are no permanent foreigners here.

The team find it hard to learn due to growing up only working hard with their body, not their mind.  They haven’t learned to think, understand and comprehend.

Sex industry

This is strong in Tana, and the issue of child brides in Ambovombe.

Local Churches 

They approach OM to partner with them, but the denomination barriers are strong, and OM is not aligned to any one denomination which becomes a problem for them. They also have teaching which is not Biblical, e.g., pastors have two wives, and it’s okay to go to a witch doctor as long as it doesn’t harm anyone.


Prayer and Praise Points

1) Many coming to know the Lord and witnessing to others
2) Cell groups are multiplying
3) Leaders are being discipled and growing in their sense of responsibility to the ministry
4) Goat programmes are growing and breaking down barriers with communities



This has become a fully-fledged church planting movement. Since Yant stopped the control of a central management team, it has taken off. Sure, there are issues, but it is growing very quickly, into 5th and 6th generations. It is something that has the power to transform communities and address mindsets that are very dark and evil. I believe it is something we should continue to invest in. 

The goat programme is proving to be a great help to the church planting movement as it develops. Many more villages could do with goats. The first ones will be returned early next year, however, September is the best time to buy goats as they are cheaper. I propose that we send the same amount again in August 2023, i.e., US$2,500.