This program is designed as a 10 week scheme, although shorter periods (from 5 weeks) may be available by prior arrangement. Activities you may be involved in will include a number of the following on-going project areas which the Azafady currently works on:
1. Sustainable Livelihoods Projects:
School building: Volunteers help Azafady to address the high demand for schools in the rural areas around Fort Dauphin to help alleviate the problems regarding lack of education. In this project, volunteers help contructing the actual school, as well as supplying books and constructing furniture.
Improved food security: In this component volunteers assist in developing demonstration and training sites both in town, and in beautiful but very poor rural villages. Volunteers will work on improved planting and harvesting techniques and crop varieties, and help to develop project sites into thriving examples for the local community, placing special emphasis on developing these concepts in rural schools.
2. Health and Sanitation Work:
Well Construction: Clean water is of course vital to human life and a necessity to prevent the spread of diseases such as cholera that are present in Madagascar. Volunteers will help to build new wells requested by villagers and repair or improve existing ones. As a volunteer you may dig the well, mix the cement, construct the iron foundations or even decorate the base! In this work, volunteers are helping the charity work towards the Millennium Development Goal regarding health and sanitation, seeking to halve the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water by 2015.
Construction of Latrines: This hugely important work in constructing latrines in rural villages also helps prevent the spread of disease in Madagascar. Volunteers will be involved in all aspects of the construction process, guided by the experienced project construction team.
Health Education: Through songs, role play and demonstrations, volunteers work with the project’s Health and Sanitation team to inform children about the benefits of hand washing, teeth brushing and using latrines.
3. Environmental Conservation:
Building Fuel Efficient Stoves: Our design for a fuel efficient stove requires 60% less firewood, lessens cooking times and reduces eye and lung problems through the reduction in smoke. Volunteers may be involved in both the hands-on construction of these stoves in local houses and/or the promotion of them in rural communities where the local population have stipulated an interest in adopting or learning more about them,
Setting up Tree Nurseries and Tree Planting: Volunteers help set up tree nurseries to aid Azafady’s reforestation of 80 hectares of barren land, caused by ‘tavy’ (slash and burn agriculture). Depending on the time of year, volunteers also work on planting the trees themselves.
Environmental Education: Volunteers could be involved in the building of a forest information centre, the preparation and presentation of posters, or working with local children to raise awareness of the need for conservation, the importance of individual forest species and the idea of an interdependent forest ‘ecosystem’.
This project is open to all and is suitable for students, people on gap years, 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. The program gives you the opportunity to be much more than a tourist, whilst exploring a fascinating part of the world.