SEED Madagascar

Construction and School Building

Fort Dauphin , Madagascar show on map
founded in 2000
Coordinator | Sarah
Coordinator | Sarah
Our Construction programme offers the chance to make a meaningful difference by assisting our local Malagasy team in all aspects of SEED Madagascar's construction project This volunteer program is especially suitable for:

Our short-term construction and school building are a fantastic option for those wanting to contribute to SEED Madagascar's established construction department in the stunning Anosy region of south east Madagascar and is ideal for motivated volunteers looking for a fitness-building outdoors experience that really makes a difference to the lives of impoverished communities.

Many villages do not have their own school so children can walk up to 20 km a day to access education in the nearby communities. We have built and repaired over 30 schools and constructed over 2000 benches using sustainable timber. Communities have limited access to toilets and clean running water. In Fort Dauphin as many as 30 families share a toilet facility and there is a lack of education surrounding health and hygiene. We work with the local government to evaluate and prioritise communities most in need. We build wells which provide clean water as well as pit latrines and hand washing facilities which have a direct impact on the health of local families.

Many of the activities on these programmes are labour intensive and volunteers assist full-time local teams with ongoing work. Volunteers enable the team to complete more school building projects meaning more children get access to an education.

All skills necessary to participate on the programme are taught during the placement so no pre-existing experience is required.

SEED Madagascar's construction team will provide volunteers with all equipment, it is not necessary for volunteers to bring any specialist equipment with them. All activities on the construction site are manual labour; we do not use power tools due to the remoteness of the location. Before their construction activities begin, volunteers will receive training in how to use the equipment provided. Volunteers will be guided by our specialist construction team. 

Typical day

As a volunteer on this programme you may work on a variety of community construction projects. This may be assisting in building schools as seen in Project Sekoly or building wells and latrines in rural villages or on occasion in urban settings.

In a group of like-minded international volunteers,with a team of Malagasy guides and an international group coordinator, you may get involved in digging foundations,building the walls, all the way through to painting the classroom blocks or other community buildings.

Often you will also help our carpenters to build the classroom furniture.You may also work on health and sanitation projects building wells and latrines in areas with poor sanitation, increasing access to safe drinking water and educating about the importance of hygiene.

Tasks depend on the stage of the construction process that the school is in. Typical tasks involve manual labour; cement-mixing, bricklaying, painting, decorating etc.

Volunteers work roughly 8am-4pm shifts with a two-hour break for lunch.

Details on Arrival

Construction programme volunteers may choose either a two week or three week programme on the following dates:

 Dates for 2019

  • 8th Jan - 21st or 28th Jan
  • 2nd April - 15th or 22nd April
  • 2nd July - 15th or 22nd July
  • 1st October - 14th or 21st October

Dates for 2020

  • 8th Jan - 21st or 28th Jan
  • 1st April - 14th or 21st April
  • 1st July - 14th or 21st July
  • 30th Sep - 13th or 20th Oct

Free-time activities

Swimming / Surfing

Beaches surround Fort Dauphin and they are all worth exploring. Ankoba beach is close to the office and is good for swimming. The best place for swimming is Libanona beach, 20 minutes walk from the office, although you may be hassled with people trying to sell their wares.

Some beaches are well-used defecation sites and the team in Madagascar will ensure you are aware which ones so avoid swimming or surfing there, as faecal contamination is not unheard of.

 Local Excursions

Nahampoana Reserve - private reserve close to our Lanirano Campsite - optional visit is offered at an extra cost (50000Ar) on most schedules. A great chance to get close up to Shifaka, Ringtail and Brown Collared lemurs. St. Luce and Evatra have beautiful beaches. They are both definitely worth a visit if they are not on your schedule. Talinjoo Hotel on the edge of town provides a boutique style luxury pool and restaurant for relaxation!

 Dancing - Panorama is a popular spot, complete with indoor toilets.

Pool – There are local places to play pool.

Shopping - There are a few small shops in town to buy gifts and souvenirs. There is a ‘Maki’ brand souvenir shop that sells more commercial gifts such as branded t- shirts, sun hats and bags. There will also be people following you around town with their silver bracelets, shell necklaces, vanilla pods, baskets, spears and table cloths.

 Free time in rural camps

Volunteers often spend time walking to local markets, relaxing with a book or playing card games. Villages usually have small local shops selling soft drinks, bottled water, beer, rum, soap, washing powder and biscuits. At the conservation camp in Sainte Luce free days are spent at the beautiful beach. Placements are designed for you to be independent, with a core volunteer role and some free time during which you are welcome to explore the local area. Please note that you are expected to act responsibly and take care of your own welfare at all times.

Water Sports

Program Requirements

In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Criminal Background Check
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 08:00 - 16:00

Included Services

Extra security layer by Volunteer World
Volunteer World is the world's leading comparison platform for international volunteer opportunities. We guide you through a safe and easy application process - including all necessary payments. Planning your next meaningful trip with Volunteer World gives you free access to our:
Quality Assurance
High ethical standards & transparent social impact
Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if SEED Madagascar cancels your trip
Support & Mediation
We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by SEED Madagascar.

Before your journey

Profound consulting and ongoing support (free)
SEED Madagascar (your host organization) provides consulting and is keen to answer all your questions. Once you reserved your spot, you will receive the contact details of your volunteer project.
Online preparation course (optional, from $49)
Prepare yourself and become a confident and well informed traveler. Global Travel Academy takes you on a journey before you leave home, helping you to become one of the world's greatest travelers. Our trusted partner for online learning offers courses in "International Volunteering", "Travel Health & Safety" and "Travel Safety Abroad".

On-site services

Services by SEED Madagascar
Don't let the size of the required donation put you off! SEED Madagascar is there to support volunteers in raising this donation, with a wealth of 

fundraising experience and resources available to volunteers. You may of course donate from you own savings.Your donation supports the charitable work of SEED Madagascar. Funds generated by the programme support the charity's projects in Madagascar, with 92% of all donations being spent in direct pursuit of our charitable aims in 2015.

Airport pick-up, accommodation and food are all included in the programme as follows. 

Airport Pickup at Marillac Airport

We strongly advise all volunteers to travel to Fort Dauphin by taking an internal flight with Air Madagascar . Although it is possible to travel from Tana to Fort Dauphin by Taxi Brousse (Bush taxi) we do not recommend volunteers use this method of transport without speaking to us beforehand as there have been security threats along this route recently, and the journey can take 2-3 days of hard travelling. 

We ask you to be in Fort Dauphin on the First Day (Day 1) of your programme and it is ok for you to fly in on this day. You will be met at the airport and transferred to our camp on the edge of town


Construction Volunteers will be camping for the duration of their Volunteering Programme. Bring your own tent or rent one from us locally. Bring a sleeping bag and camping mat.

 Construction Volunteers will be camping for the duration of their Volunteering Programme. Bring your own tent or rent one from us locally. Bring a sleeping bag and camping mat.  Typically you will camp on the edge of the building site on which you will be working, usually close to the edge of a village. Facilities vary and typically include long drop pit latrines, cold bucket showers and a shelter for meals. Electricity may not be available. You can usually walk to find a mobile signal on most sites. Occasionally, the build site may be in town depending on the current project work and local needs. 

Ellipse-shaped dome tents tend to be best, enabling you stand up. It must have a good level of waterproofing, a sturdy built-in ground sheet and an insect screen to provide protection from mosquitoes.We strongly recommend you take a 2 man tent for each individual. You should be looking to spend approximately £80-£150 on a tent — any less (unless in a sale) and it is likely to not be good enough quality to stand up to conditions in Madagascar. A tent repair kit (including duct tape) is also important to consider.

Tent Hire Charge

You may be able to rent a basic tent from SEED Madagascar. This must be pre-booked using your pre-departure sheet and you will need to pay the hire charge and the refundable deposit into our bank account or Charity Checkout account prior to your arrival in Madagascar. Head of Volunteering Tsina Endor, will reimburse your deposit in local currency on the return of your tent in good condition at the end of your stay with us.

  • £50 for 2 - 4 weeks 
  • £75 for 5 - 10 weeks 
  • £50 refundable deposit

Food & Beverages

On camp a team cook prepares 3 simple, tasty and nutritionally balanced meals a day for the duration of your programme. Breakfast options usually include local ‘mofo’, (crispy fried donut balls), bananas, rice pudding, local honey and cake. Lunch is a filing portion of rice and beans, varied daily. Dinner is normally rice or spaghetti with a vegetable sauce or vegetable curry and meat, fish or eggs are usually on the menu once a week. The best possible chlorine treated drinking water is always available. In the bush we collect and treat water from rivers and wells.

When volunteers are based in town there are some excellent local restaurants serving traditional Malagasy food, and an abundance of great international standard restaurants serving French cuisine such as steak & frites, seafood, fresh salads and excellent pizza!

Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Marillac Airport (FTU) in Fort Dauphin. We assist you to find cheap flights to Madagascar.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Madagascar provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in Madagascar you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Madagascar.
Costs: Prices in USD
2 weeks (min. stay)
$ 1,046
3 weeks (max. stay)
$ 1,310
Average fees
$ 480 /week

You can volunteer at the project site in Fort Dauphin /Madagascar between 2 weeks and 3 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. SEED Madagascar will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Crowdfunding Service
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Madagascar.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with SEED Madagascar during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.
  Africa Eastern Africa Madagascar  Fort Dauphin , Villa Rabemanda

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The project site is open in: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

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