Volunteer Experience | Community Development

Madagascar: Community Development Project

Anosy region, Madagascar


Location: Anosy region, Madagascar

Duration: between 4-10 weeks

Start Dates: There are start dates in January, April, July and October

Cost: from £1,995 for 10 weeks – see Costs tab for further details.

Includes: all food, accommodation, airport pickup, orientation and all project related activities

Does not Include: flights, travel insurance, visas and vaccinations


  • Combine education, construction and community development in this amazing 4-10 week adventure.
  • Get to know and experience the amazing island and unique biodiversity of Madagascar
Costs Explained


Our Community Development programme offers the chance to work on a variety of projects in the field, including construction, community work, education and conservation. Camping in some of the most beautiful and remote parts of Madagascar, volunteers get an insight into development work whilst enjoying the adventure of a lifetime. While the programme is designed as a ten-week scheme shorter periods (from five weeks) are available on request. This programme can form part of a gap year, provide a break from boring everyday life back home, or even lead to a new career.

Daily Life

Generally the first week consists of orientation (about Madagascar, the Anosy region, local customs and an introduction to the work you will be doing) in Fort Dauphin followed by several weeks in various locations in the field, ending with a week in Fort Dauphin. Normally volunteers work 5/6 days each week, from 8am to 5pm with a 1-2 hour lunch break. Typical projects include:

  • School building– volunteers are currently helping address the high demand for schools in the rural communes of Manambaro and Mahatalaky (some 20 km from Fort Dauphin). You will help in all aspects of the building process from clearing the site, digging foundations, building walls and cementing floors, to assisting in the construction of desks and benches.
  • Sanitation Infrastructure– volunteers help to build “flat-pack” latrine kits, which can then be installed by the families with help from our construction team. You may be involved in painting educational murals on the side of the town or school latrine blocks as a means of reinforcing these messages!
  • Education– You may be teaching English to children in rural villages or unemployed young people in Fort Dauphin, using health education in the form of songs and roleplay to inform children about the benefits of hand washing and using latrines, or involving environmental education to raise awareness of the need for conservation of local forests.
  • Conservation– volunteers assist with fieldwork, studying and monitoring lemurs, frogs, lizards and much more at the our Madagascar Conservation Programme camp in Sainte Luce.
Book with Confidence

Project Impact

Your volunteering activities within Madagascar respond to community identified needs, ensuring your time on the island will have the greatest and most lasting impact. Your volunteer placement will allow you to dive in and work hands-on, directly supporting projects specifically designed to help build the capacity and resilience of communities and their environments. Our initiatives are led by our teams of local Malagasy experts and take a holistic approach, so that projects benefit the community and surrounding environment in multiple different ways.

Our works across four areas: Conservation, Education, Sustainable Livelihoods and Community Health, responding to the hardships faced by the people and their environment in the island’s remote southeast Anosy region. This region is renowned for its rich biodiversity, however it is faced with extreme isolation and development challenges. Madagascar is one of the world’s least developed countries, ranking 155/187 in the 2013 UNDP Human Development Index. Furthermore, the unique wildlife and plant life are under intense threat, with deforestation occurring at an alarming rate. But with your time, hard work, and support, we can work together towards our vision of a Madagascar of thriving ecosystems and communities, making life better for those in Anosy and across the island.
SEED Madagascar has a number of unique and challenging volunteer placements in Madagascar. Whether your passion is sustainable community development or vital conservation work, your experience will be unforgettable and rewarding, whilst supporting change that is both impactful and sustainable.

Community Construction

Pioneers and construction volunteers, who are not afraid of hard work, can improve school education in the region with Project Sekoly, our school building project. Many classrooms in schools in the area are crowded and oversubscribed, with some children only receiving half a day of schooling due to lack of space. Project Sekoly responds to direct requests for assistance from the communities who want to improve the future for their children through education. Prior to starting any new school construction project, We conduct a needs assessment ensuring that certain criteria are respected, including teacher availability in the district, on site safety and levels of motivation within the community.

Conservation, Education, Sustainable Livelihoods and Community HealthSince its start in 2005, and with the crucial help of pioneer and construction volunteers: laying bricks, mixing concrete and painting and decorating, Project Sekoly has successfully completed 35 new classrooms for students in need, and two more classrooms will be completed in 2017! In 2016 alone, Sekoly was able to create a safe learning environment for 240 students. Our school building projects don’t just enable life-changing opportunities for students, but for the whole community! All of our construction projects also use local labour alongside our intrepid teams of international volunteers. This offers local communities important livelihood earning opportunities, but also offers skills training for labourers in these communities. Many who start work with the team begin as untrained manual labour, but learn important skilled trades from our Malagasy construction team. Many of these labour team alumni take their new skills and go on to find full time work in trades such as masonry! Pioneers also have the chance to live alongside local communities, including conducting English lessons for motivated students in the communities where they have been living and building.

Pioneers will also have the opportunity to work and create impact across all departments, and will also have the opportunity to work with our Conservation team on the Conservation Programme!


The  Conservation Volunteering Programme is ideal for volunteers looking to make a difference in protecting Madagascar’s unique and endemic flora and Conservation, Education, Sustainable Livelihoods and Community Healthfauna. The Conservation Programme’s camp is situated amongst the southern littoral forest fragments of Sainte Luce. The southern littoral forest is one of Madagascar’s most threatened ecosystems, covering just 1,143 ha of isolated diminishing fragments; it is predicted that over the next 60 years a further 80% will be lost (Temple et al, 2012). The fragments are home to numerous endemic species including Phelsuma antanosy, a critically endangered endemic gecko and Pseudoxyrhopus kely, an endangered endemic snake (IUCN Red List, 2011). The Madagascar Conservation Programme (SCP) leads conservation projects and research to increase local understanding of this unique biodiversity, promote long-term ecotourism prospects in the region, and preserve these endangered natural habitats. Despite being a threatened ecosystem home to endemic and critically endangered creatures, the littoral forests of Sainte Luce remain under-researched and exist under long-term threats from international mining interests. By living and working alongside our team in a remote research camp in Sainte Luce, you’ll be helping contribute to scientific knowledge on endemic, threatened or potentially lost species. In 2016, our volunteers and staff successfully rediscovered a species of dragonfly not seen for over 110 years, of which there is only one other known museum specimen!

Conservation, Education, Sustainable Livelihoods and Community HealthAll of SCP surveys are led by both local guides and our Malagasy staff, and through the paying of local ecotourism fees, we help financially contribute to communities to compensate for their sharing of their fascinating forests.

Madagascar’s loveable but threatened lemurs are a particular area of focus for the SCP. The programme has been working with endangered species of lemur since 2007 and has recently concluded a five year population density and spatial distribution study for all four species of lemur in the Sainte Luce littoral forest. This research will support updating the current IUCN Red List status of the Sainte Luce lemur species. Important food resources and native tree species important for lemur survival have also been identified for the brown collared lemur, highlighting the tree species that the practical conservation elements of the SCP will focus on in their crucial nursery work.

Away from comprehensive research on creatures both big and small, the SCP conducts weekly environmental Conservation, Education, Sustainable Livelihoods and Community Healtheducation sessions at two schools in Sainte Luce. These classes provide free education to youths on key environmental and conservation issues, such as threats to the forest, the benefits of pollinators and animals that disperse seeds, and basic sustainable agricultural techniques. Not only are these sessions informative, but they are also a lot of fun, as lessons are communicated via fun songs and games! Volunteers will also have time to share their English language skills with motivated community members in weekly English classes in the nearby village.

English Teaching

Conservation, Education, Sustainable Livelihoods and Community HealthWe also offers unique bespoke placements in our English Teaching Department. By introducing English language skills to the community, you will provide students both young and old with more earning opportunities. These livelihood options exist across sectors, including in the high value and unique ecotourism industry in Madagascar. Our volunteers have developed new and innovative English teaching resources designed to help support students complete their school exams, provided invaluable lesson planning and team teaching support to Fort Dauphin’s English teachers, and supported the local museum in developing English language resources. Like all of our programmes our English teaching is based on need and motivation, ensuring highest impact. Our English teachers also provide a vital link in supporting all of the work that we do, by supporting our Malagasy team members through one on one English lessons. By enhancing their English language skills, you’ll be helping learning, knowledge sharing and information dissemination across the entirety of the organisation, as well as at an international level.

No matter what your interests may be, your hard work with us will contribute to a long and exciting history of making real sustainable change for the people and environments of the Anosy region!

Fundraising Help

Travel & Accom.

All international flights to Madagascar fly into Antananarivo (the capital). You will also need to book a return flight from Antananarivo to Fort Dauphin (also called Tolagnaro). Advice will be provided.

You will be camping for the duration of the Pioneer Programme. Facilities at campsites are basic, and you will be using latrines and washing in cold water. Electricity, western style toilets, and cold water showers are available when in Fort Dauphin (usually every 3 weeks for about 4 days at a time).

Premium Support Upgrade


  • Necessary flights & visas
  • Full travel & medical insurance
  • Medications (a World Health Organisation recognised malaria prophylaxis) and vaccinations
  • Be able to communicate in English
  • Be open minded, patient, adaptable and willing to embrace the challenges of the project
  • Have a positive attitude towards living in a rural setting and working in a team
  • Be in good mental and physical health- an appropriate level of fitness (able to walk up to 10 km a day in hot humid conditions), physical capability and mobility is needed for the project. Pioneer work can include repetitive work, heavy lifting and long hours working in open areas in direct sunlight.


4 weeks 5 weeks 6 weeks 7 weeks 8 weeks 9 weeks 10 weeks
£1,395 £1,495 £1,595 £1,695 £1,795 £1,895 £1,995

* Check the latest currency conversions with xe.com
** All payments incur a 5% bank transfer fee
*** Placements are confirmed with a £500 deposit

What’s Included:

Project Fee includes

  • All food and accommodation
  • Malagasy language lessons
  • Airport pickup
  • Detailed orientation covering Malagasy culture and background information
  • In-country support and all project activities.
What’s not included:
  • Flights,
  • Travel & Medical insurance
  • Visas (if applicable) and vaccinations.

Full assistance will be provided in getting all these arranged if you choose our Premium Support.

Premium Support Upgrade

We understand there’s a great deal to plan and organise for your trip. When booking a Placement, many of our participants choose to purchase our Premium Support Upgrade to benefit from the expertise, knowledge and experience of our Project Coordinators.

We can provide the personal advice you need to ensure your trip is organised with excellence and planned with efficiency; ensuring the very best experience possible. Read more about how we can help you.

Note: Map coordinates are approximate