Madagascar is one of the world's most impoverished and least developed countries in the world, with 77% of its population living below the international poverty line of $1.25 per day. The majority population work in subsistence agriculture, and 50% of children under three years of age suffer retarded growth due to a chronically inadequate diet.
Island-wide, about 1 in every 10 children die before the age of five from easily preventable diseases, rising to as many as 4 in 10 in rural areas. Poor hygiene is linked to typhoid, polio, acute respiratory infections and trachoma, the most common cause of blindness from infection.
Sustainable livelihood volunteer community projects aim to increase food security and household income in order to reduce poverty for marginalised communities in south east Madagascar. Running for over 10 years, this project involves working on a variety of sustainable development projects, while gaining first-hand experience of the resource needs of impoverished communities and how these impact on conservation efforts.
Besides the physical work of community upliftment projects, an educational component is also included in volunteer work opportunities. This may include teaching English to children in rural villages or unemployed young people in Fort Dauphin, health education in the form of songs and role-play to inform children about the benefits of hand washing and using latrines, or environmental education to raise awareness of the need for conservation of local forests.
This project is open to all and is suitable for student volunteering, gap year volunteering, career breaks or retirees. The work and lifestyle can be challenging but is incomparably rewarding. Be prepared for adventurous road journeys, physical work and long walks to reach remote and beautiful project sites as you discover a fascinating part of the world.