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.
The Community, Building and Conservation project is split into three phases:
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.
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:
Volunteers can also help to teach after school English lessons in the local school.
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:
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:
In additional volunteers will help the conservation team on tasks including:
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.
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.
This placement has been approved by the DofE as meeting the requirements for the Residential section of the Gold Award.
Read about volunteer experiences and challenges in our Madagascar Community, Building and Conservation reviews.
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
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:
To find out more see: Lonely Planet Madagascar
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.
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:
“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!”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
2019: 2 Apr, 2 Jul, 1 Oct
2020: 8 Jan, 1 Apr, 1 Jul, 30 Sep
|4 weeks||£1445||GB Pounds|
|Extra weeks||£100||GB Pounds|
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.
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
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"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
"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
"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