Giving something back
There are countless organisations doing good in Madagascar, mainly through community and conservation projects. Any of them would welcome even a modest financial donation and some can make use of certain donated items, such as clothes, books or medical supplies. You can also give your time and energy to several charities as a volunteer. Working holidays and voluntourism opportunities range from a single day of your holiday to a several-month placement for those on a gap year or career break.
Examples of charities working in the country, often with multiple sites in various locations, include:
Access Madagascar Initiative This UK-based non-profit organisation was founded to continue The Dodwell Trust volunteer programme. AMI works to help children, young people and communities through shared development projects and access to education, including teaching English, training teachers and building classrooms and libraries. There are opportunities for hands-on experience in teaching English, working with children, conservation work, medical electives and more. Groups and families with children are also welcome to apply.
Blue Ventures This multi-award-winning organisation, with field projects mainly along the west coast, has had great successes in marine conservation projects and wide-ranging community work from education to family planning schemes. The volunteering programme is universally praised and the scientific research to which it contributes wins regular international acclaim. Staff-to-volunteer ratios are high, scientific training is rigorous and PADI scuba-diving training is included. Flexible expeditions of 3–12 weeks or more are offered.
Conservation International CI is one of the most active conservation organisations in Madagascar. Its current projects include establishing the 425,000ha Ankeniheny–Zahamena Corridor as a protected area, enabling nearby communities to manage their forest resources more effectively for both sustainable livelihood and biodiversity conservation, increasing local capacity in child and maternal health, and improving access to family planning and reproductive health services.
Population Services International PSI is dedicated to improving health by focusing on serious challenges such as lack of family planning, HIV/Aids, barriers to maternal health, and the greatest threats to children under five, including malaria, diarrhoea, pneumonia and malnutrition.
SEED Madagascar This British-Malagasy charity works in the southeast of Madagascar, aiming to break the cycle of poverty and environmental degradation. Projects focus on sustainable improvements in community health, increasing food security and household income in order to reduce poverty of marginalised communities, facilitating sustainable use of natural resources, and providing vital education, water and sanitation infrastructure. The charity accepts volunteers for conservation,
community development and English-teaching roles for 2–10 weeks.