A Volunteer Coordinator - Madagascar Lemur Reserve

  • Tolanaro, Anosy Region, Madagascar

On our website please download the Volunteer Handbook and the Application Form. Please note that the location shown on the map here on this site is incorrect. Please see correct location on our website. Thanks.

We're looking for one special person to live and work in the south east of Madagascar for a minimum of 12 months. Your job will be to manage our volunteers in the field, and to promote our volunteering online during down-time in town.

This voluntary position represents an excellent opportunity for anyone wishing to pursue a career in conservation and leadership, or in event management / logistics in the context of a developing country. With us, you will gain understanding and skills across a wide range of duties associated with conservation project development, team building and leadership, in the field of habitat conservation, in one of the most extraordinary environments on earth.

Based in the field at our amazing private reserve, Sainte Luce Reserve, and in the office of our principal financial partner, Dadamanga SARL, in Tolagnaro south east Madagascar, the position is for an initial period of 12 months (6 months probationary period) with the possibility of extension, giving the volunteer an unparalleled insight into the grassroots operations of the volunteering program of a tiny NGO and experience in remote, field-based project and volunteer management and administration.

The position is both field and office based, with regular extended trips to Sainte Luce Reserve while there are volunteers in the field.

Where: Fort-Dauphin and Sainte Luce, Anosy Region, Madagascar When: Starting in September 2016 for 12 months extendable Trial Period: 6 months Contract: Voluntary, unsalaried (stipend after 6-month performance evaluation if contract is renewed) Reporting to: President of Association FILANA, but mainly working unsupervised after the probationary period.

Who are we?: Association FILANA is a small group of conservation professionals and local stakeholders who manage the Sainte Luce Reserve volunteering program. We obtain much-needed funding and labour from our volunteering program to help us maintain local engagement in conservation of the reserve (direct local jobs and indirect service provision) and we are this year attempting to build our volunteering program and streamline operations.

Job Focus: In the office: Helping to keep websites and social media where we promote our volunteering program up to date, communication with volunteers, writing blog posts, maintaining volunteer calendar and preparing work plans and budgets. It is a shared responsibility to prepare each volunteer for the field, sometimes handled by local staff, sometimes by you if you are already in town. In the field, you are responsible for receiving and giving orientation to volunteers, managing the volunteer program on a daily basis, ensuring completion of tasks and projects in a safe and responsible manner.

Budget: Average living costs for 12 months are $USD5,000, not including international and internal flights, visa and travel insurance.

The Volunteer Coordinator is mainly field based where he/she lives in a small forest-edge bungalow along with the volunteers, some of which also stay in bungalows, some stay in tents. In Fort Dauphin, the Volunteer Coordinator will stay in our small beachfront bungalow in the grounds of our office, sharing with one other volunteer (our project development intern).

Duties and responsibilities:

The Volunteer Coordinator will:

• Maintain the physical and mental wellbeing of volunteers and volunteering staff • Ensure all staff and volunteers act positively and in a culturally and environmentally sensitive way • Conduct orientation talks and activity briefings to ensure volunteers are fully informed about health and safety, security, project work, local culture etc. • Hold regular meetings with the volunteers with a view to communicating volunteering issues both positive and negative (should there be any) to the office in Fort Dauphin and for future program development • Work with the office to develop risk assessments for each activity • Manage finances, including keeping records and receipts • Collect images and stories for blogs and our social media • During downtimes, participate in various activities in the office to both record information about recent volunteering efforts, and, to promote our volunteering worldwide, and keep all of our printed and otherwise published information up to date

Salary: First six months, voluntary with no stipend, after six months, monthly stipend depending on performance in developing the program.


The successful applicant will:

• Have previously volunteered in a rural situation in a developing country • Be a friendly, clear and confident communicator, across a variety of situations • Be able to successfully manage a team • Have proven ability to work independently and under pressure • Have an interest in conservation specifically habitat conservation and an interest in community engagement in same • Be trustworthy and capable of being a brand ambassador • Be in good health and able to perform manual work for long periods in basic rural conditions • Be fluent in English; ability to speak French or Malagasy is desirable and keenness to learn basic Malagasy quickly is a pre-requisite • Hold a first aid qualification

Anyone interested in applying for this position should send a detailed CV and covering letter explaining why you are right for the post, to Brett Massoud by email.

Conservation Context:

Madagascar is among the world's poorest countries. As such, people's day-to-day survival is dependent upon natural resource use. Most Malagasy never have an option to become professionals in industry or business; they must live off the land that surrounds them, making use of whatever resources they can find. Their poverty costs the country and the world through the loss of the island's endemic biodiversity. We at Association FILANA are charged with the protection of an extraordinary piece of habitat, part of the very last absolute coastal forest in Madagascar, in an area of incredible diversity and under great threat. Our part of the forest is privately owned (by our financial partner Dadamanga SARL), but, we strive to make our presence and our activities relevant and important to the conservation of the entire forest that our reserve forms part of. For example, since our presence began in 2009, wild bird populations have increased, lemur populations have become habituated to the presence of humans (no longer fleeing) and collection of reptiles for the pet trade has ceased. Cutting of the forest is now a very minor problem compared to when we arrived, and in general, local people now respect that the wider forest is a protected area.

Madagascar's major environmental problems include:

Tavy or slash-and-burn agriculture is the lifeblood of Malagasy culture and the Malagasy economy. Tavy is mostly used for converting tropical rainforests in Madagascar into rice fields. Typically, an acre or two of forest is cut, burned, and then planted with rice. After a year or two of production the field is left fallow for four to six years before the process is repeated. After two or three such cycles, the soil is exhausted of nutrients and the land is likely colonized by scrub vegetation or alien grasses. Tavy is the most expedient way for many Malagasy to provide for their families, and where day-to-day subsistence is a question there is little concern for the long-term consequences of the actions. From this perspective, as long as there is more forest land freely available for clearing, you might as well use the land before a neighbour does. Tavy for rice also has spiritual and cultural ties that transcend the economic and nutritional value of rice as a crop.

Fuelwood and charcoal production: The endemic spiny forests of Madagascar are being cut at an alarming rate for charcoal production. In eking out a living selling little piles of charcoal along roads in southwestern Madagascar, local people turn towards the nearest plant source, which in this case is often Alluaudia trees.

Fire:Every year as much as a third of Madagascar burns. Fires set for land-clearing and pastureland spread into adjacent wildlands, causing damage to the island's unique ecosystems.

Overexploitation of living resources:Madagascar's native species have been aggressively hunted and collected by people desperately seeking to provide for their families. While it has been illegal to kill or keep lemurs as pets since 1964, lemurs are hunted today in areas where they are not protected by local taboos (fady). Tenrecs and carnivores are also widely hunted as a source of protein. Reptiles and amphibians are enthusiastically collected for the international pet trade. Chameleons, geckos, snakes, and tortoises are the most targeted.

Mining: The south east of Madagascar is presently being mined for ilmenite by Rio Tinto. As the mine moves, the threats to biodiversity change, and the challenges also change. Our reserve is adjacent to a potential future site of the mine, and we want to work closely with the mining company to mitigate future problems.

Why us?:

The difference between working with our organisation and with other programs is that with us, you'll be a key member of a very small team. You will be living and working with the people who are striving to protect this amazing environment. We concentrate on habitat protection and the engagement of local people in conservation of this one very special area. You will rapidly become conscient of the area, the people, the problems, and, we hope, the potential solutions to the problems. The President of Association FILANA (an Australian) has 20 years experience in Madagascar and has set up and run other organisations here in this region for many years.

We do not have foreign offices or fancy overheads, our work is purely focussed here in the south east of Madagascar in and around our reserve.

Accommodation: You may find your own accommodation in town if you wish, and we will help you to do that, or, you may stay in our small beachfront dormitory in the garden of our office. The bungalow is one room, with toilet and shower, shared by a maximum of two interns.

We are proud members of the Lemur Conservation Network.

More information and contact on our website, www.sainte-luce-reserve.org

Check our Facebook page www.facebook.com/sainte.luce.reserve

Deadline for applications: 1st August 2016

Association FILANA Association FILANA logo

  • Tolanaro, Anosy Region, Madagascar 614
  • Start and end dates:

    Position begins August September 2016
  • Duration:

    3 months or longer
  • Time commitment:

    Full time (30-40 hours/week)
  • Times of day:

    Mornings Afternoons
  • Days of week:

    Weekdays Weekends
  • Schedule:

    Fixed schedule
  • International volunteer options:

    International volunteers welcome

Association FILANA Association FILANA logo

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