Volunteer BuildingMadagascar

Our Building team helps to improve essential health facilities and build new schools, toilets and wells for village communities in South East Madagascar.

Volunteers work with the local team to build wells which provide vital clean water as well as toilets and hand washing facilities which have had a direct impact on the health of local families within the community. The project aims to improve access to education facilities by building more schools as some children currently have to walk over 20km each day to school.

Experience village life in an exotic Madagascan community and visit village markets, waterfalls and the beach.

Support the award winning charity’s front line development work by joining the Building team.


Key Info

key info
  • Location: South East Madagascar
  • Start dates: Throughout the year
  • Duration: 2 - 3 weeks
  • Age requirement: 18+ (groups also welcome)
  • Availability: Spaces available
  • Cost: From £895 / €1045 / $1145 - see fees table below
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Project Information

Volunteer role: What will I be doing?

The project works with rural communities to build and maintain schools, wells and toilets to aid the communities’ health, education and sanitation.

It’s a fun and dynamic team to join as each day and week can vary greatly depending on what building work is being completed. The specific building project which you will be part of will depend on the needs of the local community at the time you are there. Activities may include:

  • Digging foundations
  • Building walls
  • Laying cement
  • Plastering
  • Painting
  • Building classroom benches
  • Maintenance and repair of previous projects

The building techniques and tools available are very different in Madagascar and the team will ensure that you are trained in the necessary skills to work safely on the construction site.

During your first few days you will have a project orientation which includes information about Madagascar, local customs and the work which you will be involved in. You will be briefed on the project rules and health and safety guidelines, as well as advice on the cultural sensitivity of working alongside the village communities.

Working days and hours

Volunteers work 5-6 days each week and on a typical day your schedule will be:

  • 7am - Breakfast at the camp site
  • 8-11:30am - Building work
  • 12-2pm - Lunch and relax
  • 2-5pm - Building work
  • 6pm - Dinner and relax at the camp

In your free time you can relax or explore the local area and activities that South East Madagascar has to offer.

Other volunteers

There are usually 1-5 volunteers, with a maximum of 25.

Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) Award

This placement has been approved by the DofE as meeting the requirements for the Residential section of the Gold Award.

Volunteer reviews

Read about volunteer experiences and challenges in our Madagascar Building reviews.

Why are volunteers needed?

Volunteers join a team of local staff to work on essential community construction projects. Your time and energy is needed to help the team throughout the building work which can include digging foundations, making and laying bricks, painting classroom and constructing new benches.

In the last 10 years, the team have built and repaired over 30 schools, giving children easier access to education. Since 2010 the project have built over 2000 benches using sustainable timber.

With the help of volunteers the team are able to complete more projects which means that more children can have a better start in life. Volunteers’ English language skills also help improve the local teams’ spoken language abilities.

“For us here in this region, every extra volunteer means extra investment, extra employment and training, and a multitude of benefits.”
The Mayor of the region


Throughout the placement you will mainly be based at the rural camp but you will also stay a few days at the town camp.

  • The rural camp is located next to the project site. It is around a 10 minute walk to the centre of the local community. There is no WIFI access.
  • The town camp base is located next to a stunning lake. It is a 40 minute walk from the town centre. WIFI access is available.

Volunteers sleep in their own tent which they can either bring from home or rent locally.


All main meals are included in your placement and are prepared for you by the local team. Here are typical examples of the food you will have:

  • Breakfast – banana bread, porridge, bananas, dough balls, tea and coffee
  • Lunch and dinner – Rice with stew, pasta, beans, lentils and vegetables. There is occasionnaly meat, fish and eggs. 

Fruit and simple snacks can be purchased locally. 

Vegetarians and vegans are welcomed and can be catered for.

Drinking water is provided throughout your placement.

Location and free time

The Building project is based in a rural community in a beautiful region of South East Madagascar. The community’s main source of income is farming and volunteers enjoy visiting the colourful market to try some of the seasonal local fruits.

Volunteers often go to village markets, waterfalls or the beach on their days off. Volunteers can also visit Nahampoana wildlife reserve which is on the outskirts of Fort Dauphin, a great opportunity to see the diverse ecosystems of Southern Madagascar including many lemur species that are unique to the region.

In Fort Dauphin there are some great traditional restaurants serving local food which can be enjoyed as the sun sets over the ocean. These activities are best booked locally once you are at the project.

Travelling in Madagascar before or after your placement

Madagascar is an incredibly diverse island off the South West coast of Africa and a perfect destination for intrepid travellers. It is home to thousands of animal and plant species which are found nowhere else on earth including the famous lemurs, aye-ayes and fosas.

Popular places to visit in Madagascar include:

  • Nosy Be
  • Avenue of the Baobabs
  • One of the many unique National parks – including Tsingy de Bemaraha and Isalo

To find out more see: Lonely Planet Madagascar


2019: 2 Apr, 2 Jul, 1 Oct

2020: 8 Jan, 1 Apr, 1 Jul, 30 Sep

What's Included


  • Dedicated Pod Volunteer Specialist to support you
  • Airport pick up (Fort Dauphin)
  • Accommodation - campsite
  • Food - all main meals
  • Induction
  • Malagasy language lessons
  • Support from the local team
  • Support from the Pod Volunteer UK office by phone and email
  • 24/7 emergency back up
  • Volunteering certificate and reference (on request)

Not included

  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa
  • Criminal record / police check
  • Vaccinations and medication
  • Tent
  • Living costs - snacks, drinks, laundry
  • Any tourist trips / activities you choose to do in your free time
Price table
2 weeks £895 GB Pounds
3 weeks £1095 GB Pounds


  • £75 discount for every additional project you book as part of the same trip
  • £75 discount if you have previously volunteered with Pod Volunteer 

Where the money goes - financial transparency

Your fee covers the overseas costs of volunteering and the costs of running our organisation in the UK, on a non-profit basis.  For more details and a breakdown of our costs please click here.

Book with confidence - financial protection

All monies paid to us are financially protected through The Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT). 


Fees in currencies other than GBP are indicative only and volunteers are invoiced in GBP. For current exchange rates please see www.xe.com

Read volunteer reviews from the Building project


“The building placement in Madagascar is an amazing experience. You are instantly made to feel part of the team by not only the guides but the local construction team. You do not need to have any experience as the construction team show you how to do things and besides even if you did have previous experience there would probably be a local way to do it anyway!

Most rewarding was the fact that you feel you are really making a difference. Whilst I only had 2 weeks, in this time we lay the floor for 2 classrooms, completed a veranda, rendered the windows and doors, painted and even had time for a little bit of steal work!

Don’t be afraid to ask for tips on how to spend your day off with the local team, they are full of great advice. They are also great at teaching the local language which helps communicate with the children. Finally if possible look at extending your stay beyond your placement so you get a chance to explore.”


“This summer I chose to spend two weeks helping to repair a school in Madagascar and it was definitely an experience I will never forget. When I arrived, I was welcomed by the local staff who were very welcoming and spoke great English, which proved to be very helpful during my stay as most of the people speak either French or Malagasy.

The work was very physical; making benches for the local school, digging trenches and laying bricks but it was incredibly rewarding seeing the progress we made and knowing that the school would help the local community. Most rewarding was talking to the locals and building great friendships with them. Definitely sign up it’s been the most fun and rewarding time I’ve had ever. The people are so friendly and the whole experience is something completely new and exciting”

Read more reviews


distance children needed to walk for daily school before the new schools were built

"It was an amazing experience that will stay with me forever! Pod Volunteer provided the ideal amount of support and guidance"Satvinder


Pod UK Specialist

Apply and you'll hear from Bee soon!

We look forward to receiving your application! There is no commitment by applying and we will send more information.



  • Madagascar Building volunteer - Sue

    "We were lucky enough to be building a school that was in its final phase! I really feel they are making a difference and are well known in the community for their lasting positive influence."

    Read more volunteer reviews
  • Madagascar Building volunteer – Anon

    “I really feel they are making a difference and are well known in the community for their lasting positive influence. They need volunteers so please go!”

    Read more volunteer reviews
  • Madagascar Building volunteer - Iona

    "Although it was manual labour, the fact that there was no electricity meant it was the most relaxing holiday I've had. You can forget about all the stresses of home and appreciate where you are and what you are doing."

    Read more volunteer reviews


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  • Tourism Concern
  • Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust
  • Right Tourism
  • DOFE
  • theguardian
  • the independent
  • Sunday Times
  • Year Out Group
  • Best Volunteering Organisation
  • Wall Street Journal