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Pioneer Madagascar Programme
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Pioneer Madagascar Programme

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Construction in the southeast of Madagascar

I was on the Pioneer program for a total of eight weeks and loved almost every minute of it! The construction work challenged me just enough to drive me to improve my own skills, and if there was something I did struggle with the local construction team and the guides were always there to help. I found that the nature of our work meant that the volunteers worked together well as a team and therefore I have now made (hopefully) friends for life from across the globe.

One of the aspects I enjoyed the most was the chatting that we all started when we were working, because it wasn't just the volunteers and the Malagasy guys in separate groups, there was a lot of overlapping between everyone, resulting in me learning a lot of Malagasy while I was there. Of course we worked hard, undertaking tasks such as brick laying and levelling in preparation for pouring the concrete floor.

Another benefit of doing the Pioneer program is that if you are volunteering for 6 or more weeks, the last two weeks are spent at the conservation permanent location in Saint Luce, which meant I was able to get a view of the consvation efforts that SEED undertakes as well as making an immediate difference in the construction side of the program.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

An experience like no other

This programme has something to offer everyone. If you are considering a career in charity or with NGOs, if you are interested in wildlife and conservation, if you simply want to travel and immerse yourself in an utterly unique place and culture, then look no further. I can promise that there will never be a dull moment, that each day you will be experiencing something new and unique. During my time on the programme in 2013 I might be assisting with some light construction on one day, only to be trekking to remote communities to assess their needs and the impact of climate change the next. As an added bonus Fort Dauphin and the surrounding region is perhaps the most beautiful place I have ever been, during your time off from helping with the charity there will be myriad chances to enjoy it.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

An exceptionally well run and satisfying program

My time in Madagascar with Azafady was absolutely fantastic. I volunteered with the pioneer scheme for the maximum time of 10 weeks, from the start of January until the middle of March. During this time we undertook three separate projects, as well as assisting with conservation and reforestation work.
Our first project was finishing off a new school for a village called Mahatalaky, located about 4 hours away from the main town in the south, Fort Dauphin. Next, we proceed on to a set of hamlets on the coast, collectively know as Sainte Luce; here we constructed from start to finish a new studio for an affiliated charity, Stitch, that teaches women how to sew and gives them a channel through which to sell tbeir products. Finally, we returned to Fort Dauphin to assist with sanitation research and latrine construction.
What really sets Azafady apart from other similar volunteering schemes is the difference that the work you undertake makes. It is exceptionally rewarding knowing that what you have done will truly make a difference to the local people who have been given, simply due to where they were born, very little opportunity in life.
Azafady is an extremely well run charity, the local guides and staff make you feel entirely welcome and are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. They help you learn the local language and get immersed in the culture and community. The work you undertake is fun, challenging and above all, satisfying. I would highly recommend anyone to sign up

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    8

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Teaching English as a foreign language

My reasons for coming to teach with NGO Azafady were simple. I wanted to become a better teacher. Having qualified to teach English as a foreign language 2 years previously, I wanted the opportunity to teach in an environment where there were limited materials, so that I could become more resourceful and learn to think on my feet in the classroom. It was so much easier than I expected. Despite class sizes of 60-70 children of mixed abilities, they were lively but well behaved and eager to learn. It made the work a real pleasure.
I chose Madagascar as a destination because it is an island, and coming from Britain I never like to be too far from the sea, so a land locked country was not an option for me. The climate was appealing, not too hot or humid for my liking. NGO Azafady also fitted into my ideals – a sustainable organisation which practises what it preaches. A mixture of international and local staff who are an absolute pleasure to work with. I have made some good friends here.
After my initial donation, flight and medical costs, I came with a budget. £1000 has been more than enough to last me 3 months.
I limited my time to 3 months, as it seemed a good stretch, but it was not enough. The time flew by. I was so happy there. It's a colourful, vibrant, friendly place to be. There is poverty, but not misery. There is always something special to do and see and many beautiful places to visit.
I had a variety of working opportunities – one-to-one, small classes, large classes in schools, English centres, for tour guides and at the tourist office. I was really been able to grow us as a teacher and Azafady were keen to let me make my own choices, to ensure the experience was a positive one. I would not hesitate to recommend coming to teach English in Madagascar. I am 48 years old and after spending 10 years working in local government, I took redundancy and changed career. It was been one of the best decisions of my life. I have been whale watching, explored caves, climbed rocks, spent time reading, swam in waterfalls, cycled in tropical forests, danced at weddings and music festivals, relaxed on beautiful beaches, fed dancing lemurs and took a road trip to the southern- most tip of Madagascar; my Azafady and Malagsy friends and I stood at the tip with the whole country behind us.
IF YOU’RE UM-ING and AH-ING ABOUT APPLYING OR TAKING THIS OPPORTUNITY, SAVE YOUR RESERVATIONS AND GET ON A PLANE. IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.