Part time (10-30 hrs/wk)
Short-Term (few weeks/months)
A magical landscape punctuated by forest canopies filled with unknown species and unique creatures such as the minute mouse lemur with its round lamp like eyes, skimming kingfishers catching tiny fish from the limpid forest pools and the curiously coloured tenrec, amongst thousands of other endemic animals. An ocean that teems with an abundance of marine life, providing the perfect environment to discover diving under the glorious warmth of the Madagascan sunshine. Hospitable communities where you will find a culture that evokes the exotic aura of Africa with a distinctly French European flavour.
All this and more is waiting to be discovered within this unique island located in the blue waters of the Indian Ocean. With this project you will experience the best that Madagascar has to offer, with an unforgettable teaching experience in a developing community, a breathtaking trek through the prolific forests stuffed full of flora and fauna and scuba diving over the reef scapes of one of the best diving spots in the world. Join this project for a varied and exhilarating journey through this most tempting of travel destinations!
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WHAT DOES THE PROJECT DO?
Madagascar's Lemurs (MGF)
Madagascar has been isolated for over 165 million years, creating a biodiversity resource of global significance, with over 80% of species found nowhere else on Earth, including leaping black lemur, Hawk's sportive lemur and Claire's mouse lemur, the former being very popular with visitors as a result of the unusual manner in which it traverses open ground. It is mainly found in trees and is a capable jumper, but where, as a result of the dispersal pattern of its favourite trees, it cannot jump, it crosses unjumpable spaces by sashaying sideways on its hind legs with its arms in the air! Sadly these beautiful creatures are threatened – which is why programmes such as this are so vital.
Other interesting creatures found here include an abundance of reptiles, such as tortoises, snakes, iguanas and six species of chameleon. There is spectacular bird life and over three quarters of the flora are endemic, with palms and more orchids than in all of mainland Africa.
This incredible flora and fauna, unique in its ability to resist the region's aridity, has led naturalists to describe Madagascar's forests as "the eighth wonder of the world".
Protecting Marine Wildlife (MGM)
Madagascar's human population has doubled since 1960, leading to increased deforestation and overgrazing, which in turn has caused massive soil erosion and desertification and damage to the marine ecosystems as a result of pollution and runoff.
Through marine SCUBA and snorkel surveys you will map coral, identify reef and commercial fish and record marine species, including fish, dolphins and turtles. Diving under the supervision of a professional dive officer, you will become confident and comfortable underwater. Your results will determine the biodiversity of these waters and help formulate management plans.
Other activities include surveying mangroves, a vital buffer against elements such as tsunamis, and also documenting coastal bird and reptile populations, an important part of the coastal ecosystem.
*For volunteers on the marine project for up to 2 weeks you have the opportunity to complete your PADI Open Water training. For volunteers on the project for more than two weeks you'll need to complete the PADI Open Water and Advanced Open Water training in order to take part in the marine surveys.*
Lack of Foreign Language Teachers (MGT)
The majority of primary school age children and 36% of secondary school age children attend school. However, schools are severely under funded and there is an unequal distribution of educational resources across the country. Often poor and rural communities can only attend seriously disadvantaged public schools, meaning that there is a need for diligent volunteers who are willing to come and teach and make a difference. Depending on the time of year, for example during the long summer holidays, you may be teaching adult lessons to members of the village, held either at camp or in the church.
The vast majority of the population speaks only Malagasy and there is a lack of foreign language teachers. Your help can give children and adults a sense of confidence, encourage their enthusiasm and ambition, and even improve their opportunities for the future. To teach, you will need to be patient, flexible, a confident communicator and able to use your initiative and imagination. It would be helpful to have beginner's level French, but you will have plenty of opportunities to learn! Lessons will be fun and interactive as you develop the pupil's confidence and conversational skills.
Students will be interested in life where you come from. You may be able to get involved teaching other activities such as sports, music or science, if you are interested and have the relevant skills. There will also be the possibility of working with our field conservation programmes to arrange collaborations for environmental education.