Hunger-stricken families in Madagascar forced to sell children
Commissioned by France 24
“This piece shone a light on an underreported part of the world that is grappling with the consequences of climate change and the impact on people’s livelihoods. The work produced by the team was original, in-depth and highly relevant to the debate.”
-News Award Jury
Cyclone Freddy hit Madagascar first in February and then again in March, a rare loop trajectory that left behind a trail of destruction. The island nation was already reeling from last year’s Batsirai and Emnati cyclones, which had destroyed farmland and infrastructure in the southeast. As a result, hundreds of thousands of people are going hungry, unable to find enough to eat.
In January, Malagasy media claimed that some families had been forced to sell their children to survive. These claims quickly spread and were speedily denied by the government. The team went to isolated villages and obtained exclusive accounts that contradict the official narrative.
During the investigation, the team found that families were abandoning their children, or worse still, selling them. In the village of Antanakambana, a woman tried several times to sell her child to members of the MSF medical team.
Jedida Andriamasy is a Malagasy camera operator for corporate videos and a former local journalist with over 20 years of experience. He started as a journalist for L’Express de Madagascar, one of the most serious newspapers in the country. He was a video journalist for RTA, a Malagasy private TV channel and a producer and camera operator for DDC, the biggest production company in Madagascar. He is now a freelancer for BBC, France 24 and Arte. In 2021, he was a camera operator for the documentary Madagascar: the silent crisis for Arte.
Gaëlle Borgia has been a correspondent in Madagascar since 2011, working on TV reports and features for international media such as TV5 Monde, Arte, and France 24. She won a Pulitzer prize in 2020 with the New York Times for her report about Wagner’s interference in the presidential election in Madagascar. She won a One World Media award in 2022 for her Eating Shoes – Surviving Madagascar’s Famine report for AFP.
Caroline Brenière is a French journalist based in the Marseille region. She previously worked for AFP in London for five years, covering Europe and Africa, and for Reuters. She now works for various online and TV media and is working on several short documentary projects with a focus on women and history. She directed and produced an independent 26-minute documentary about the Lebanese Urbex community’s fight for architectural preservation.
Jeremy Martin is a Franco-British freelance journalist based in the south of France who worked as a video producer and video journalist for AFP in London for 5 years. He is currently a freelance journalist for AFP and Le Monde. Jeremy also produced an independent film about the journey of a Syrian asylum seeker through Greece to Ireland.
Gaëlle, Jedida, Jeremy and Caroline are continuing their collaboration together on more stories about women and the rights of indigenous peoples in Madagascar.