Location: Anosy region, Madagascar
Duration: between 4-10 weeks
Start Dates: There are start dates in January, April, July and October
Cost: from £1,395 for 4 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
Madagascar, the fourth largest island on Earth, is one of the last landmasses to be populated by humans and thanks to its geographical isolation for million of years, it has developed a unique ecosystem comprised of an astonishing variety of animal and plant species. With a level of endemism estimated at over 80%, Madagascar’s rich biodiversity is still not fully discovered. The dense rainforests are home to more than 100 exotic species of animals found nowhere else on Earth such as lemurs (with around 100 species and subspecies), the puma-like fosa, chameleons, birds and the 10-foot tall half ton Elephant bird. Even though it remains one of Earth’s top biodiversity spots, Madagascar has lost an estimated 90% of its original vegetation which limits the local communities means of subsistence. While its first settlers encountered an abundance of wildlife and sources of food upon their arrival, today Madagascar is one of the most impoverished countries in the world with most of its population living in rural areas with limited access to sanitation, education and secure food sources.
The south-east region of Anosy, where this project takes place, is one of 22 regions in Madagascar. It’s a beautiful area where environmental conservation and tourism have been promoted since the 1980s.
This program offers an opportunity to get involved in various projects in the field, including construction, community work, education and conservation. The programme, which can be undertaken as an internship or as a volunteer placement, is designed for a period of ten weeks; however, shorter periods are also available upon request. As an internship, it offers more feedback and requires a final report and it is appropriate for those who are following an academic course and are seeking to get credits. You will be camping in some of the most beautiful and remote areas of Madagascar where you will get development work experience together with an exciting adventure.Whether you are on a gap year, taking a break from work or embarking on a new career, you will have an unforgettable time.
Your first week will start with orientation in Fort Dauphin providing you with information about Madagascar, the Anosy region, the local customs and the work that you will undertake. The next several weeks you will spend in various locations in the field before you return to Fort Dauphin for your final week. Usually, you will work 5-6 days per week from 8 am to 5 pm with a break for lunch.
When in Fort Dauphin, you will be staying close to town, in the volunteer camps by the beautiful lakeside site of Lanirano.
The typical projects include:
School building which addresses the need for schools in the rural areas 20 km away from Fort Dauphin – Manambaro and Mahatalaky. You will participate in all aspects of the building process from clearing the site, digging foundations, building walls and cementing floors, assisting in the construction of desks and benches.
Sanitation infrastructure – helping build “flat-pack” latrine kits which families can install with the help of our construction team. Join the painting of educational murals on the side of the town or school latrines!
Education – teaching English to children from the local villages or to unemployed young people in Fort Dauphin through songs and roleplay focusing on health education and environmental conservation. You can inform the children about the importance of washing their hands and using latrines as well as raise awareness of the need to conserve the local forests.
Conservation – assisting with fieldwork, studying and monitoring different animals (lemurs, frogs, lizards and more) at the Conservation Programme Camp in Sainte Luce.
Your volunteering activities with SEED 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. SEED’s 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.
SEED 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.
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, SEED conducts 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.
Since 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. SEED’s 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 SEED team begin as untrained manual labour, but learn important skilled trades from SEED’s 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 SEED Conservation Programme!
The SEED Conservation Volunteering Programme is ideal for volunteers looking to make a difference in protecting Madagascar’s unique and endemic flora and fauna. 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 SEED 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, SEED 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!
All of SCP surveys are led by both local guides and our Malagasy staff, and through the paying of local ecotourism fees, SEED helps 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 education 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.
SEED 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. SEED’s 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. SEED’s English teachers also provide a vital link in supporting all of the work that SEED does, by supporting SEED’s 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 SEED will contribute to a long and exciting history of making real sustainable change for the people and environments of the Anosy region!
Travel & Accom.
You will need to fly into the capital – Antananarivo and then take a connecting flight to Fort Dauphin (Tolagnaro).
During the programme you will be camping. The campsite facilities are basic with latrines and cold water for washing. At the campsite in Fort Dauphin there are western style toilets, cold showers and electricity.
All food is provided during your programme. The meals are simple and delicious consisting mainly of rice and beans, fresh fruit and vegetables, and fish or meat once a week when available.
- Minimum age 18
- Minimum 4 weeks, maximum 10 weeks commitment
- 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
- 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.
- Necessary flights & visas
- Full travel & medical insurance – full assistance will be provided in arranging everything should you choose our Placement Support Package
Please note that the work can include repetitive activities, heavy lifting and long hours working in open areas in direct sunlight.
|$ USD||£ GBP*|
* Currency conversions are approximate.
** All payments incur a 5% bank transfer fee.
*** Places are confirmed with a £500 deposit
Project Fee includes food, accommodation, local airport pickup (from Tolagnaro), orientation, in-country support and project activities.
What’s not included:
Flights, insurance, visas (if applicable) and vaccinations. Full assistance will be provided in getting all these arranged if you choose our Premium Support.
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