The Republic of Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world, with a population of approximately 23 million people and 18 Malagasy tribes of different ethnic make up. These groups include the Merina, Betsileo, Antaimoro, Sakalava, and Betsimisaraka. Although there are racial differences, Malagasy people share a common language and culture because much of the Malagasy culture is influenced by the Asian-African origin of the island’s people, which has lead to a unique and diverse society with complex customs.
Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world, with poverty increasing substantially over the last two decades. The poverty assessment estimates that about 70 percent of the population is categorized as poor, leading to many individuals not having the access to quality food and suffering with malnutrition.