Written by Mbolatiana Raveloarimisa, Nifin’ Akanga, Madagascar
Nifin’Akanga is the only national pro-choice feminist movement in Madagascar working for the decriminaliation of abortion. Its objectives include the fight against all forms of violence against women, including institutionalised violence. The organisation acts through debates, trainings, awareness raising, research and studies on the social realities of abortion practices, as well as working with all key actors, including parliamentarians and senators, to legalise safe abortion in Madagascar.
We used the campaign platform change.org in November 2021 to conduct a petition to support the proposed law in Madagascar for the therapeutic termination of pregnancy, which has been tabled in parliament since November 2021 but is still pending discussion after protests from anti-democratic movements within the country.
As a result of these anti-democratic movements, we decided to give more voice to the citizens of our country and the world to support the proposed law.
The platform is a very good tool for us because it is quite easy to use and has an international reach. Our fight can be known far and wide and can collect many supporters.
The software allows updates as the local situation evolves and gives news of these updates to the signatories, while encouraging them to support us by sharing the petition wider.
We can also collaborate as a team to boost our petition and it is free too, which is very important for a small local organisation like ours.
It has allowed us to share and communicate on the situation of women’s rights in Madagascar to the whole world. We were able to collect signatures from all over the globe but also, we were able to unite with other organisations internationally.
And we have been able to address our demands directly to the President of the Republic and to denounce without fear of reprisals, our findings, and our complaints. Indeed, as it is online, we do not need to show ourselves personally, as we would through more traditional media channels.
I think it is complementary, especially in the case of Madagascar, where internet access is difficult. Social networks – especially Facebook – are more accessible for parts of the population because they are cheaper to access.
Less of the population use emails and signature-gathering platforms therefore, like change.org.
The cost of internet access is expensive in our country and most of the population would not know how to use the campaign platforms themselves because it requires an email address for example, and the ability to manipulate the platform itself.
For a country where extreme poverty is the daily life of the population, campaigning software is more for a tiny part of the local population but it has international scope.
Choose the tool in relation to the objectives of the campaign, the target population you want to reach, and the usability skills of the team.
Combine the digital tool with tools and channels that address the social and economic realities of the country.
Mbolatiana Raveloarimisa defines herself as an activist for social justice and human rights. She is involved in several movements and organisations in her country and in Africa.
Mbolatiana is one of the three founders of the Nifin’ Akanga movement (which means guinea fowl tooth) which is the only openly feminist movement in Madagascar. This movement fights for the decriminalisation of abortion. It should be noted that in Madagascar, abortion is totally criminalised.
Mbolatiana holds a Diploma of Advanced Studies in Geography. Professionally, she is the Executive Secretary of the Coalition of Radios for Peace in Madagascar, a columnist in Madagascar’s largest newspaper and a professor at the University of Antananarivo.
She has two children, including an autistic boy, who gave birth to the great autism movement in Madagascar. Currently, Mbolatiana is working for the establishment of a national movement for the recognition of people living with differences.