BRIEF HISTORY: The Masikoro kingdom was at its height around 1690, but subsequently was divided into two parts. In the nineteenth century the Masikoro dynasty under the authority of the Andrevola extended between the Mangoky and Onilahy rivers. Later it was divided again, this time into four regions.
EDUCATION: Education is limited. There are few text books and insufficient qualified teachers. Students are taught in Malagasy, Masikoro and/or French. Typically an assignment to an area like this would be seen as a punishment.
The literacy rate is less than 25%. Literacy is currently only taught in the official language, which is related to but very different from Masikoro.
DEMOGRAPHICS & SOCIAL STRUCTURE: The majority of people are poor, hard-working and have very limited leisure time. Agro-pastoral by trade, they grow rice, beans, cotton, maize, and cassava. The Masikoro also raise zebu, but cattle thieves are causing many Masikoro to reduce their cattle herds.
One small sub-group of the Masikoro are the Mikea people, who speak the same language, but who live in a different area (the Mikea forest) and have adapted their lifestyle and customs to suit this reality. Contrary to the Masikoro’s openness to outsiders, the Mikea are very shy, but also very resistant to change.
GEOGRAPHY & ACCESSIBILITY: The Masikoro are located in the South-western region of Madagascar. Masikoro land is a region of difficult access during rainy season; but, often experience drought.
POLITICAL SITUATION: In general the Masikoro are indifferent to the political situation in Madagascar because they feel they have no power themselves to make a difference. They are frustrated with the corruption, lack of food, and necessary resources; but feel helpless to make any real, significant change. They participate in the politician’s propaganda, but only to receive a free t-shirt or gift.
ECONOMIC SITUATION: The Masikoro are very poor, at times starving, and/or in need of basic necessities such as water and food.
RELIGION: The Masikoro are seemingly very responsive to the gospel, but are very resistant to change and quick to return to their traditional beliefs. In general they are perhaps more indifferent than open.
FELT NEEDS: The Masikoro are in need of much: food, education, healthcare, water, training, and jobs; but most of all they need the GOSPEL.