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SEED Madagascar

Wildlife & Biodiversity Conservation

Fort Dauphin, Madagascar

The SEED Conservation Programme works to integrate scientific research with community conservation to build knowledge and capacity for sustainable conservation efforts

The SEED Conservation Programme works to integrate scientific research with community conservation to build knowledge and capacity for sustainable conservation efforts. The conservation project is located within just one of three remaining areas of sandy coastal forest where very little biodiversity research has been carried out. The areas are at high risk from the local mining industry. We work with the local village community to communicate the consequences of mining and to formulate a strategy to stop or mitigate the negative impacts. 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. 

Currently research focuses on biodiversity, collecting data about species present, their distribution, density, behaviour and habitats. The data is then used to better manage forests, support the local community and protect the species concerned. Volunteers also run regular environmental education classes for local children, and assist with English teaching.

Conservation volunteers provide vital manpower to support long-term research staff with collecting research data on the coastal forest ecosystem. 

Conservation and Pioneer programmes are also offered as an internship for up to 10 weeks, to assist in academic or professional development and/or to gain credits for a college or university course. This is open to anyone, although most interns are students or graduates. Some universities will provide funding for students wishing to intern with NGOs.

Conservation and 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. Facilities at campsites are basic, especially when working in the bush, and you will be using long drop pit latrines and washing in cold water drawn from a well ( water warms quickly in a bucket placed in the sun!)

Fort Dauphin Camp Site—Lanirano Camp—All Programmes

A 10 minute taxi ride (4000 MGA day / 8000 MGA night per person), or a 40 minute walk (but never walk at night!) from town centre and the charity office, Lanirano Camp Site is in a beautiful setting next to a lake. Facilities include electricity, western style toilets, and cold water showers. Pioneers usually return to this camp site every 3 weeks for about 4 days at a time, whilst Conservationists can return to Fort Dauphin at 4 weekly intervals in line with our programme schedule. Construction volunteers may return for a weekend break if the school build is close enough to town for this to be practical. Laundry can be done for around £1.50 per plastic bag full.

Sainte Luce Camp Site— Conservation Programme

SEED have a permanent camp site on the edge of the forest and a short walk from the village of Sainte Luce. There are long drop pit latrines and a screened shower block where you can take a cold water bucket shower. There is a typical Malagasy style open sided Long House where you take meals, and a research centre which has solar panels where you can charge mobiles and camera batteries (weather dependant). A short walk gives access to small shops selling beer, soft drinks, biscuits, snacks, locally brewed coffee and mofo, and washing powder sachets. You can find a mobile signal here.

Packing list essentials: travel bag, day pack, passport, insurance/medical details, money, money belt/secure bag , mobile phone, padlocks, waterproof two-man tent (if not renting), 2 season sleeping bag, camping mattress and pillow, large water bottle, head torch with batteries, walking boots, sandals, warm clothes, everyday work clothes incl. at least one pair of long trousers for walking through the bush, swimwear, sunscreen, sunglasses, sunhat, insect repellent, towel, sanitary wipes. 

Typical day

The SEED Madagascar Conservation Programme has a very varied daily schedule depending on study activity and location, but a typical day in the field starts with breakfast at 7am. This is followed by a 3-4 hour expedition in the forest conducting research until just before midday, when you will return for lunch. A typical activity is walking a lemur transect through a fragment of littoral forest - once spotted, with the help of the local guides, you will be recording critical data including the number and sex of lemurs, or observing their behaviour. Another day, you could find yourself identifying reptile and amphibian species by "sweeping" through the forest floor.


We take a two-hour break during the heat of the day to eat lunch, nap, relax or sunbathe, as well as time to evaluate the morning's progress or have a Malagasy language lesson. The afternoon work session then starts around 2pm. Work continues until about 5pm, but will vary depending on the time of year. Then it is back to camp for a bucket shower!

Evenings are very sociable affairs and generally volunteers discuss their days amongst each other whilst having supper together at around 6pm, and preparing for the next day, sometimes with talks on interesting topics from the Research Assistants or visiting staff members. On some evenings you will find yourself doing nocturnal research: walking through the littoral forests searching for nocturnal species of lemurs or reptiles typically from 7pm to 11pm.

Work with the community will involve helping with the environmental education classes or Conservation Club with the children on a Saturday morning. These aspects are both fun and rewarding.

Details on Arrival

The dates of the volunteer program are as follows. Volunteers can choose to leave at the end of any of the two week time slots. Volunteers can stay for a maximum of 10 weeks (5 modules). 

Dates for 2018

Module Dates

  • 9-22 Jan
  • 23 Jan - 5 Feb
  • 6 - 19 Feb
  • 20 Feb - 5 March
  • 6-19 March
  • 3 - 16 Apr
  • 17 - 30 Apr
  • 1 - 14 May
  • 15 - 28 May
  • 29 May - 11 Jun
  • 3 - 16 Jul
  • 17 - 30 Jul
  • 31 Jul - 13 Aug
  • 14 - 27 Aug
  • 28 Aug - 10 Sep
  • 2 - 15 Oct
  • 16 - 29 Oct
  • 30 Oct - 12 Nov
  • 13 - 26 Nov
  • 27 Nov - 10 Dec

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
Hiking

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).
Language Skills
You need to speak English (intermediate level)
Health Declaration
required
Required Documents
Medical Form (Provided by us)
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

Suitable for

Singles
Couples
Groups
50+

Any questions? Just ask. We at SEED Madagascar are happy to help you.

Contact Project Coordinator
Contact & Reservation
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Included Services

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We refund your fees if SEED Madagascar cancels your trip
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Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by SEED Madagascar.
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.

Accommodation

We advise all volunteers to spend one night in Antananarivo before flying down to Fort Dauphin.

Conservation and 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.

SEED have a permanent camp site on the edge of the forest and a short walk from the village of Sainte Luce. There are long drop pit latrines and a screened shower block where you can take a cold water bucket shower. There is a typical Malagasy style open sided Long House where you take meals, and a research centre which has solar panels where you can charge mobiles and camera batteries (weather dependant). A short walk gives access to small shops selling beer, soft drinks, biscuits, snacks, locally brewed coffee and mofo, and washing powder sachets. You can find a mobile signal here.

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 

Camping
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.
Vaccines
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)
$1,050.00
4 weeks
$1,885.00
6 weeks
$2,425.00
8 weeks
$2,965.00
10 weeks (max. stay)
$3,370.00
Average fees
$431.00/week

You can volunteer at the project site in Fort Dauphin/Madagascar between 2 weeks and 10 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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