Introduction to Madagascar


Madagascar is a unique place of incredible potential and beauty.

Baobab Trees

Legends say God did not like the way

Baobab trees looked, so God jerked them

Out and planted them up-side-down.


Scientists say that Madagascar broke away from Africa about 100 million years ago and traveled to its present position some 250 miles southeast of Africa.

A Malagasy legend says that a giant stepped off of Africa and put his foot in the Indian Ocean. When the giant pulled his foot up, that was Madagascar. And look at it. Looks kinda like a foot, doesn't it?

Although Madagascar is just off the African coast, it was settled over 2000 years ago by Indonesians who had circled the Indian Ocean and then crossing the Mozambique channel. It has a intriguing history and many still debate the unity of its peoples and languages.



  • Although it boasts amazing natural resources, it is one of the poorest nations in the world. The average Malagasy earns about $1200 a year.
  • PFM's work focuses on the 50% of the population that are under 25 years of age and, in particular, those who are less than 15 years of age which comprise a startling 25% of the population.
  • Although Madagascar is close to Africa, its people are predominantly Asian.
  • Arab traders colonized the east coast of Madagascar between the 12th and 17th centuries.
  • Arabic writing was the first writing introduced in Madagascar.
  • Madagascar was the first country in the African region to receive the entire Bible in their own language.
  • Madagascar was already an independent nation with embassies in the major powers before France took it over by force and subjugated Madagascar to colony status (1896-1958).
  • The dominant European language in Madagascar from 1820-1900 was English, not French. This was due to the influence of British Protestant missionaries who began schools here in 1820.




As the Malagasy human population continues to grow quickly, so does the need for agricultural productivity and economic benefit from the land. The world watches with interest as nonprofit organizations, governments, and scientists work out the best use of the land to maintain its unique biodiversity while trying to increase the quality of life of the Malagasy people.