Volunteers can now enjoy even more of what Madagascar has to offer by signing up to join us on our new research vessel, the Spirit of Malala. In an effort to extend MRCI’s community and conservation reach beyond Nosy Be and Nosy Komba, volunteers are transported aboard the vessel the Spirit of Malala, spending 7 days visiting several of Madagascar’s remote islands and villages. Through MRCI’s Island Outreach program volunteers will be involved in a range of initiatives such as teaching, small construction projects and scientific research.
Many of these island communities in Madagascar have very limited basic resources. MRCI’s Outreach Program aims to assist these local communities not only with access to education and resources, but with basic first aid assistance as well. We will have a local doctor on board and volunteers whom volunteers may choose to assist in administering basic healthcare. Contributions in the form of donations can be made such as much needed medical supplies, a list of which is available below.
Volunteers will visit the local schools and hand out donations of essential school supplies and sporting equipment as well as giving impromptu English lessons. They will also assist our forest and marine programs by participating in forest walks and snorkel surveys to identify changes in habitats and species populations. You can enjoy your free time by exploring the tropical islands, snorkeling in the turquoise waters or by joining in on a fun game of beach soccer with the village children.
Island Outreach Itinerary
Volunteers start the program by meeting at the Oasis Coffee shop at 9 am on the Monday morning. Once the group has gathered, transport will take volunteers to the Centre National de Recherches Océanographiques (the Oceanographic Research Institute of Madagascar) in Nosy Be, where volunteers will receive a short introduction to marine conservation by one of the institutes leading Malagasy marine researchers. This is followed by a fascinating tour of the marine museum, which has a large collection of specimens covering all aspects of marine life and its evolution in Madagascar.
Thereafter volunteers head to the port to join the Spirit of Malala around noon. Shortly after arriving on board volunteers will receive a safety briefing and local lunch. After lunch the boat will head to the first of the stopover points.
Time to destination: The journey usually takes around 3 hours.
Nosy Mamoko Island
This small unique island is situated at the southwest end of the greater Ampasindava Bay and is still ruled by a Queen. The pristine unspoiled forest canopy ends on white sandy beaches where you will often see wild lemurs and a 100-year-old tortoise play amongst the palm trees.
Activities: Volunteers undertake a number of activities for the 2-day stay – included is: construction projects, beach clean-ups, snorkeling for plastic waste, English classes, cultural interaction with the islanders.
Leisure activities: A visit to the local waterfall and swimming
Accommodation: Camping in tents under a grass canopy on the beach
Duration of stay: 2 nights
Time to next destination: 3 hours
Ampoagna is a small village located on a pristine long white sand beach flanked by tall pine and coconut trees. The beach is a favourite for nesting turtles.
- Activities: Volunteers will assist with the construction of the new school by making bricks and helping with general construction. Previous volunteers have already successfully constructed a clinic and water well. Volunteers also teach English to local children and conduct beach clean-ups.
- Leisure activities: Includes swimming and playing soccer with the local village.
- Accommodation: Beach houses with modern local bathrooms
- Duration of stay: 3 nights
- Time to next destination: 1.5 hours
An area steeped in history dating back to the Russo-Japanese war of 1905, when a Russian warship anchored in the bay. Instead of attacking passing Japanese ships as instructed the crew who enjoyed Madagascar so much, decided not to wage war or to return to Russian. The ship was kept hidden, but emerged twice to trade with pirate vessels in the Mozambique Channel. It finally sank years after running out of fuel. The last of these Russian sailors died in 1936 and their graves can still be visited today.
- Activities: Volunteers mainly focus on beach clean-ups and plastic removal from the many inlets and hidden beaches and bays.
- Leisure: Activities include a beach bonfire on the last night, swimming and a forest walk.
- Accommodation: Camping under the stars in tents on the beach.
- Duration of stay: 1 night
- Time to next destination: 3.5 hours
Nosy Tanikely Island Reserve famous for its pristine beach and incredible snorkeling and crystal-clear waters. Volunteers enjoy a short 3-hour stopover at the end of program to relax and enjoy the sun or visit the lighthouse and local lemur population.
- Time to Hellville: 1 hour
Arrive in Helville around 4pm on the Sunday afternoon.
About Spirit of Malala
The Spirit of Malala is a 50ft research and conservation vessel with flush toilets, showers, seating areas and cooking facilities. This boat was built in support of Malala Yousafzai, an incredibly courageous young girl, who stood up for the rights of all young women to receive equal educational opportunities. In so doing she almost lost her life. Malala is the youngest person to receive a Nobel Prize and she continues to inspire and promote equal education for women globally. The meaning of Malala in Malagasy is “My Darling”.
Volunteers will sleep under star speckled skies in tents at each of the rustic beach camps. Modest tents will be provided.
What to bring along
- Light Sleeping bag
- Sleeping roll mat
- Torch with extra batteries
- Fins, snorkel & mask (optional)
- Basic first aid kit (which you can donate at the end of your trip)
- Minimal clothing as dress is casual at all times.
- Do pack some light warm clothing for the cooler evenings.
- Trainers or hiking boots for forest walks
- Personal items
- Bath & beach towels
- Insect repellent
We encourage our volunteers to bring along items that they can donate. These items are difficult for people in remote areas to access and we will distribute them during the Island Outreach Program.
- Books: for children and adults, written in English. These can be from any genre.
- School Supplies: including pens (ballpoint and coloured); pencils (led and coloured); writing books; erasers; chalk (white and coloured); whiteboard markers; stickers; small prizes (balloons, toys etc).
- Medical Supplies: such as bandages; Band-Aids/plasters; triangle bandages; medical gloves; antiseptic/iodine; gauze; hand sanitizer; tooth brushes; toothpaste; Q-tips, cotton-wool balls; tweezers; small scissors; eye-wash; alcohol wipes; medical tape; wound dressings; burn gel.
- Balls: for sports such as basketballs, soccer balls and footballs. They can be deflated – we will pump them up once they are here!
|All year round||Every First and Third Monday of the Month|
|Volunteer Island Outreach Program|
|7 Days||$ 880.00|
|* A discount will be applied if you add an additional program when you sign up *|