As a grassroots development organisation the charity works directly with local communities ensuring that the work is requested by, as well as being useful to, the people of Madagascar. Although there is a skilled and dedicated team made up of Malagasy and non-Malagasy staff in the south-east of the country, much of the work is dependent upon our volunteers.
Over the course of the Programme, as a volunteer you will have the opportunity to learn how a small NGO operates and the inherent challenges that it faces when working in a developing country. More specifically you will be working on projects in the field and gaining understanding of the resource needs of impoverished village communities and how this impacts on conservation efforts.
The programme is led by some of the most competent conservation and development workers on the island. You will be an integral part of the team and gain an insight into real grassroots conservation and development.
The southern littoral forest in Sainte Luce is one of only three significant areas of this forest type remaining in Madagascar, having been reduced by over 90%. As the forest has both high biodiversity and a heavily reliant local population, the charity works to combine scientific research with community conservation to build knowledge and capacity in that area. The areas are at high risk from the local mining industry. Together with the local village, the charoty works to communicate the consequences of mining and to formulate a strategy to mitigate the negative impacts.
Currently, research work focuses on biodiversity, collecting data about species present, their distribution, density, behavious and habitats. The data is used to better manage the forests, support the local community and protect the species concerned. The research findings are incredibly important as the formulated conservation strategy will be key in helping to protect and conserve species before they are lost forever.
Project Ala aims to increase and improve viable habitat for three nocturnal species of lemur in Sainte Luce littoral forest, through corridor reforestation coupled with strengthened local and regional capacity to support the conservation of lemurs and their nocturnal habitats. This new programme is important as the lemurs that live within Sainte Luce are endangered and endemic to south east Madagascar.
Another exciting project is Project Rufus, which involves conducting collaborative research and local conservation awareness raising to enhance the longterm survival of Pteropus rufus, the Madagascan flying fox, and contribute to an international body of knowledge regarding their life cycle and behaviour.
Volunteers also run regular environmental education classes for local children.
You will be living, working and travelling amongst some of the most beautiful and remote parts of Madagascar. The town of Fort Dauphin, where the programme is based, is set in a stunning location in the southeast of the country, with beautiful beaches and close proximity to some of Madagascar's famous nature reserves.