Community, Building and Conservation

Madagascar

Our award winning Community, Building and Conservation team support the charity’s development work in rural Madagascar.

The project team build essential wells, schools and toilets which, alongside the community health education, have a direct impact on the health of the local families within the community. As well as assisting with the community development and building projects, volunteers support the conservation team who help to protect and conserve the endangered forest ecosystem.

Experience local life by joining the team in beautiful tropical villages and a vibrant coastal city.

Join the charity’s construction, community work, education and conservation projects.

Apply

Key Info

key info
  • Location: South East Madagascar
  • Start dates: Throughout the year - see role section
  • Duration: 4 – 10 weeks
  • Age requirement: 18+ (groups also welcome)
  • Availability: Spaces available
  • Cost: From £1445 / €1690 / $1850 - see fees table below

Project Information

Volunteer role: What will I be doing?

The Community, Building and Conservation project is split into three phases:

  • Building
  • Community Health
  • Conservation

This gives volunteers a unique opportunity to be involved in all aspects of the charity’s work. The length of each phase can vary depending on the needs of the community, so whilst volunteers joining for a 10 week placement will experience all three phases, volunteers staying for shorter durations will be involved in first stages.

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.

Phase 1: Building

The project is based in a village and works with the communities to build and maintain schools, wells and toilets which helps to aid the communities’ health, education and sanitation.

The specific building project which you will be part of will depends on the needs of the local community, activities may include:

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

Volunteers can also help to teach after school English lessons in the local school.

Phase 2: Community Health

The community health phase is based in the town of Fort Dauphin. It aims to help communities through research to identify the regions and communities most in need of health and sanitation facilities.

Each day may vary and you could be involved in:

  • Assisting in research and/or data collection on local community needs including questionnaires, surveys or interviews
  • Helping in educational workshops on handwashing, hygiene and disease prevention
  • Supporting charity staff in recording developments, changes and achievements of their work (updating records, photos etc.)

Phase 3: Conservation

The conservation phase is based in a coastal forest community. It aims to help protect the fragile ecosystem by conducting valuable research into the region’s biodiversity, which helps to drive a conservation strategy for future protection.

Volunteers support the local team in their ongoing conservation work and your role will depend on the current research aims. Activities may include population, distribution and behaviour studies on:

  • Lemurs – Southern Woolly, Brown Collared, Fat Tailed Dwarf and an endemic Mouse Lemur species
  • Flying fox bats
  • Reptiles
  • Birds
  • Amphibians
  • Insects

In additional volunteers will help the conservation team on tasks including:

  • Habitat mapping
  • Plant studies, including monitoring and planting of endangered palms and fruit trees important for lemurs
  • Sustainable lobster fishery data collection (during lobster season)
  • Long term reforestation projects - seed collection and planting
  • Environmental education sessions for the community
  • English language club
  • Alternative livelihood community projects

Working days and hours

Volunteers work 5-6 days each week, generally from 8am to 5pm with a 1-2 hour lunch break. In your free time you can explore the local area and activities that South East Madagascar has to offer.

Other volunteers

There are normally 1-5 volunteers at the project who work alongside the local team and volunteers on other placements in Madagascar. There is a maximum team size 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, including a minimum number of other participants.

Volunteer reviews

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

Why are volunteers needed?

Many of the activities conducted by the Community, Building and Conservation project are labour intensive and volunteers provide resource to assist the local full time team with their ongoing development and conservation work. The research findings are incredibly important as their conservation strategy will be key in helping to protect and conserve species before they are lost forever.

With the support from volunteers the team have built and repaired over 30 schools and constructed over 2000 benches using sustainable timber.

Through working together, volunteers also help to improve the local teams’ English language abilities as well helping students in the local school.

“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

Start dates

2018: 9 Jan, 3 Apr, 3 Jul, 2 Oct

2019: 8 Jan, 2 Apr, 2 Jul, 1 Oct

Location, free time and accomodation

Madagascar

Madagascar is an incredibly diverse island off the South West coast of Africa and a perfect destination for intrepid travellers. The island is home to thousands of animal and plant species which are found nowhere else on else 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

Local area and free time

During Phase 1 and Phase 3 (Building and Conservation roles) you will be 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.

In the rural camp, volunteers often spend their days off relaxing with a book, going to village markets, waterfalls or the beach.

For Phase 2 (the Community Health role) you will be based in the coastal town of Fort Dauphin. Here volunteers can visit the local beach, explore the cafes and restaurants or even visit a hotel with a swimming pool! There are some great traditional restaurants in the town serving local food which can be enjoyed as the sun sets over the ocean.

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. These activities are best booked locally once you are at the project.

Accommodation

Throughout the placement you will be predominantly based at the rural camp, but will also stay at the town camp on arrival, during your time off and throughout Phase 2:

  • Rural camps (Phase 1, Phase 3) – located next to the building and research sites. It is around a 10 minute walk to the centre of the local community. There is no WIFI access.
  • Town camp (Arrival, Phase 2) - located close to the town, next to a stunning lake. It is a 40 minute walk from the town centre and charity office. WIFI access is available.

Read volunteer reviews from the Community, Building and Conservation project

July

“An experience of a lifetime, that surpassed all expectations, and these were high! The project is incredibly well thought through and well organised from start to finish. The project has been designed not only to provide a great experience for volunteers but also most importantly, to do some genuine good for the local people. Small groups also ensure maximum involvement in everything, a real sense of teamwork, and new friends for life!

Never a dull moment and a wide variety of experiences, all against the backdrop of stunning landscapes and welcoming communities. Of course, it was not all work and no play, and on our days off we could either be found trekking to a waterfall, visiting a local market, or surfing at the beach!”

Ja

“It is a truly amazing NGO. I could not help but be struck by the incredible impact the charity has on the town and its surrounding area. Their wide and effective involvement in health, sanitation and conservation amongst many other things sets them apart from other relatively small NGOs.

Thus if you are looking to do some volunteer work that has a more positive impact I couldn’t recommend it more. Besides that you will get to meet lots of great people. The local guides are incredibly nice and interesting and the staff in the town are very welcoming. Southeast Madagascar is incredibly beautiful.”

August

“The best way to experience Madagascar. I had an amazing experience from start to finish. I loved my time in the village with the team - all the research assistants, staff and guides were really knowledgeable and I learnt so much about the Malagasy ecosystem as well as Malagasy culture and language.

The country is beautiful and I felt like I had the best experience of it as we had the chance to live within a Malagasy community while working with the charity and really see what life is like there for a rural community. I had an amazing time and would recommend to anyone who wanted to experience Madagascar.”

Jonny

“The charity is phenomenal in my opinion. The 4 Malagasy guides who look after you whilst on the project, I can’t speak high enough of these 4 people. From day one they make themselves known to the group and straight away you pick these are 4 fantastic people, who are so grateful that you have given up your time & money to benefit their country! The landscape of Madagascar is beautiful, not a day went by you wouldn’t see a mountain range. And of course there is the lemurs!!

The balance was perfect, from hard work of repairing schools & planting trees to a slightly laid back end to the project by building latrines whilst visiting the beautiful beaches! Overall, my time in Madagascar was outstanding. A 100 times better than I could of ever of imagined. I went there to gain a perspective on life & learn a new culture. I achieved this and so much more! If anyone wants to do volunteer work abroad DO IT! It will reward you more than you can imagine.”

Read more reviews

What's Included?

Before you go:

  • Carefully selected and vetted volunteer project
  • Support from our friendly and highly experienced Pod Volunteer UK team
  • Single point of contact - Gemma is your dedicated Pod Volunteer Specialist
  • In-depth volunteering and planning your trip guides
  • Travel information - visa, health and safety advice
  • Help arranging criminal record checks
  • Access to specialist travel insurance at exclusive rates
  • Recommended travel agency for flights and tours
  • Access to special deals and resources
  • Fundraising guide and support
  • Financial protection for monies paid to Pod Volunteer

On your placement:

  • Community volunteering placement
  • Airport pick up (Fort Dauphin)
  • Accommodation - Campsite
  • Food - all main meals
  • Induction to the placement and culture
  • Malagasy language lessons
  • Onsite support from local team
  • Support from Pod Volunteer UK office by phone and email
  • 24/7 emergency back up
  • Incident Management and Emergency Response Plans

On your return:

  • Contact from your Pod Volunteer Specialist
  • Feedback scheme
  • Volunteering certificate (on request)
  • References (on request)
  • Member of the Pod community

Not included: Flights, travel insurance, visa, criminal record check, tent, return transfer. Budgeting guidance is provided in our Volunteering Guide which we will email you when you apply.

Pod Volunteer is run as a non-profit organisation. Fee levels are set to match costs and any surplus monies are distributed to the projects we work with via the Pod Charity.
Price table
4 weeks £1445 GB Pounds
Extra weeks £100 GB Pounds
Apply

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

100,000

people have benefited from the empowerment, education and conservation initiatives

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

Gemma

Pod UK Specialist

Gemma has visited the project, apply and you'll hear from her soon!

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

Apply

VOLUNTEER REVIEWS

  • Madagascar Community, Building and Conservation 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
  • Madagascar Community, Building and Conservation volunteer - Jonny

    "The landscape is beautiful, not a day went by you wouldn't see a mountain range, whether it would be up close to your campsite or in the distance it would still be jaw dropping!”

    Read more volunteer reviews
  • Madagascar Community, Building and Conservation volunteer - Sam

    "The work was hard, varied and remarkably immersive. We connected not only with each other as volunteers but with many of the locals both in town and out in the 'bush'."

    Read more volunteer reviews

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AWARDS AND ACCREDITATIONS

  • 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