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Tag: madagascar

About Us



  • Our current project is the construction of a School in village of Ampoagna
  • Renovated a day care center for intellectually disabled children on Nosy Be (March 2023)
  • In collaboration with Tim Kohlbecher and the Leo Club Charity, we constructed a fresh water well in the village of  Ampoagna (2019)
  • In June of 2018, MRCI started with the Ampoagna Clinic construction project which was then completed in November of 2018. A traditional opening ceremony was held by the local community which was attended by governmental delegates and broadcasted over national television.
  • MRCI will build toilets in Ampadinombe and in turn will receive 20 thousand squared meters of forest to rehabilitate (August 2017). Read more…
  • With thanks to a donation of over $2000 from ex-volunteer Chandler Renz, renovation work was carried out at the Church school in Ampang – the classrooms were re-floored and painted and a double toilet block was built.
  • Renovation work at Ampang Premiere school has been completed – the school building was painted inside and out and a fence was built around the school’s flagpole (April 2017)
  • A school was built in Andrekarekabe (January to March 2017).
  • A dam was built to supply running water to Andrekarekahely and Andrekarekabe (December 2016).
  • The basketball hoops in Ampangorina were repaired and the court was repainted.  A tournament was then organised and took place to celebrate the revamped court. (December 2016).  Read more…
  • The school roof in Ampangorina was repaired and tables and chairs were painted (December 2016).
  • A bridge was built to improve access to the village of Ampangorina during the wet season (November 2016).  Read more…
  • Madagascar Research and Conservation Institute has built five toilet/shower blocks (each block has 2 toilets and one shower) in total – 2 in Andrekarekabe (completed September and December 2016) and 3 in Andrekarekahely (June, August, and September 2016).  Read more here and here
  • Porches were fixed in a local shop in Andrekarekabe (October 2016).
  • Playgrounds, including swing sets, were built in Ampangorina and Andrekarekabe (August 2015 and February 2016).
  • The primary school in Ampangorina was painted inside and out (January 2016)
  • Just under $10,000 dollars was raised for community development projects through fundraisers, GoFundMe and personally – ongoing
  • School desks were renovated at Andrekarekahely Primary School (January 2016)


  • Two cars were striped and dropped to form part of our newest artifical reef, The Parking Lot. Read More…
  • A new artificial reef, consisting of a series of transplanted soft and hard corals implanted on boulder-like dome structures has been built, on the sand parallel to the reef, and in stacks close to the reef, creating ‘an orchard’ of growing new coral. The corals were obtained with the assistance of friends of our partner organisation, CNRO and Nosy be Aquaculture. In March the first set of corals were put in with a ceremony of approval of the Fisheries Minister of Madagascar and 100 of his close friends.
  • Beach cleans regularly take place during spring tides and all divers are encouraged to pick up litter during their surveys.
    A second artificial reef, known as ‘Mad-hatter’ was installed in January 2017. Survey have since begun on both artificial reefs.
  • The house reef in front of Turtle cove and two neighbouring beaches were protected and became a no fishing or anchoring zone (November 2016).  Read more here and here
  • 7 structures were installed in an artificial reef (2014).  Read more here and here
  • Staff and volunteers went on a trip to Mitsio Islands with CNRO (Centre Nationale Research Oceanographic) (2014) for a governmental biodiversity survey in a case against oil drilling in North Madagascar. The trip was a success and resulted in a report on marine biodiversity in the area being given to the government.  As of yet, no drilling has happened in that area.


  • Started our Bamboo Straw Initiative where our volunteers harvest, cut and sterilize bamboo shoots. These straws are then offered to local restaurants and establishments with the hopes of eradicating the island of single-use plastic straws. Read More…
  • In a ground breaking development MRCI concludes an agreement with the village of Ampasinomby to establish a first of its kind agroforest on Nosy Komba (August 2017). Read more…
  • In June 2017, the forest programme began their initial phase of Lepidoptera surveys. Several capture-and-release systems, each comprised of four baited traps, have been set up across different habitat types on Nosy Komba.
  • Madagascar Research and Conservation Institute hosted an international researcher studying parasitic wasps and discovered new species here that had never been known before (June 2015).  Read more…
  • Over the last 3 years, we have also discovered 20 new species of birds, reptiles and amphibians on the island that weren’t known to be here before.


  • Successfully rebuilt Maradouko school which was devasted by cyclone Enawo and held a celebratory reopening that was attended by a number of community leaders and officials (March-May 2018) Read More about the build Here and the reopening day Here.
  • The beginners class in Ampang now has 18 regular students, with new students joining each week. The class is going from strength to strength and students making real progress in their learning.
  • With thanks to volunteer Taylor Schellenberg, $700 was raised to provide schools on Nosy Komba and Nosy Be with sports equipment (January 2017).
  • In January 2017, a football tournament was organised with 3 teams from local villages and a team from the volunteer camp.
  • After requests from students, tests were developed for the Ampang beginners class and the teenagers class in Antitorana.  All students performed well.
  • Extra-curricular activities have taken place to enable volunteers to interact with their students outside of the classroom.  These “community picnics” have been a great success.
  • Two Malagasy Sakalav to English dictionaries have been produced.
  • 8 adult’s classes and 11 children’s classes have been set up to teach English on Nosy Komba and Nosy Be – ongoing.
  • Monthly environment days are held to educate local communities on relevant environmental issues.
  • Many students are taught English, leading to many employment opportunities in tourism.

 Future Goals

  • Expand the reef surveys to include more transects at different reef sites around Nosy Komba.
  • Assess the population of potentially damaging species within the MPA, such as Diodema sp. urchins.
  • Publish scientific papers on the establishment of the orchard and turtle population within our MPA.
  • Establish a women’s class in Ampangorina.
  • Refurbishment work at Maradouka school.
  • Replant the area of the forest destroyed in the fire in October 2016.
  • Organise more community sports tournaments.
  • Build a path around camp to improve access for locals during the wet season.
  • Build a school in the nearby village of Andrekarekabe where we will then provide English classes for the village.
  • Provide fresh water to the village of Ampasanombe, this will require putting in a system of water pipes and taps.
  • Work with reforestation charities to try and mitigate the effects of felling and land clearing on Nosy Komba in an ecologically sensitive way.
  • Raise community awareness on the importance of reducing plastic usage and keeping plastic litter out of our seas to protect the reef.
  • Publish a long-term monitoring report on the effectiveness of the new MPA.

Read more about our various achievements in Madagascar here…

About Us

Mission Statement

The mission for the Madagascar Research and Conservation Institute is to:

  • Provide a safe platform whereby volunteers of all diversities and backgrounds can come together in order to make a positive impact on local communities and on the environment while gain perspective on their personal growth and development.
  • Actively assist and contribute in sustainable research and conservation projects
  • Engage and assist local communities to improve their health and educational circumstances.
  • Assist local NGO’s and other conservation-based organisations to achieve their goals.
About Madagascar

About Madagascar & Nosy Be



At 592,800 sq. km Madagascar is the world’s 4th largest Island. Geographic isolation over the last 88 million years has allowed the fauna and fauna to evolve in isolation. This attributes to the unique and varied species which are found across the country.

It is estimated that 80% of species in Madagascar are endemic with new and novel species being discovered all the time. Madagascar is described as a biodiversity hotspot with 5% of all known species being found in only 0.4% of the worlds land mass.
However, since human colonisation around 2,000 years ago, Madagascar, the world’s greatest biodiversity hotspot, has lost around 90% of its natural forest habitat.

This is currently still on the rise due to demand for firewood and timber, land being used for agriculture and mining for minerals such as sapphires and nickel causing a vast loss of native forest and fragmentation of habitats.

Most famous for its lemurs, of which all the many species can be found nowhere else in the world. Nearly 60 taxa are found in the country and these unique mammals vary greatly in size, behaviour and habitat choice, from mouse-sized nocturnal species to large diurnal lemurs who live in the inhospitable spiny forests.

Habitat loss, capture for the pet trade and hunting are the main things which threaten lemurs. Species with small and unique habitats are more vulnerable than others.

Madagascar also houses over 300 species of frog, 99% which are endemic to Madagascar and many reptiles including snakes, tortoise, iguanas and the chameleon, another iconic animal of Madagascar.

The chameleon is found all over the country and Madagascar houses two thirds of all species in the world. They vary greatly, ranging from the bright and colourful tree living species Furcifer pardalis to the tiny ground dwelling Brookesia micra.

Marine habitats are also host to a high diversity of species. Numerous coral reefs, beaches and mangroves surround the island which allows the thousands of species of fish, four turtle species and many invertebrate species to thrive.

This as well as being on migratory routes for humpback whales and lots of other pelagic fish, dolphins and sharks occupying the deeper waters make the marine world in this ocean, colourful, full of life and variety.

This precious ecosystem is being threatened by pollution from towns and terrestrial runoff from deforestation. Fishing for sharks and overfishing of vital fish stocks which locals rely on for food and livelihoods.

Climate change has had a notable effect on the environment. With increasing frequency and severity of cyclones, an increase in temperature and a decrease in rainfall in just 50 years Madagascar is considered one of the most vulnerable countries to the impact of climate change.

Monitoring change and finding ways to prevent long term damage to habitats and ecosystems is therefore vital to protecting and preserving this extraordinary environment and its biodiversity.


view of nosy komba from tanikelly lighthouse

Nosy Be

Since Madagascar split from Africa 160 million years ago, it has developed an array of distinct ecosystems and unique wildlife, such as those on Nosy Be. Approximately 92% of its mammals, 95% of its reptiles, 89% of its flora and 60% of its birds are found nowhere else on Earth.

Madagascar is also home to many incredibly coral rich and species diverse marine areas, most notably around the island of Nosy Be, where one can find a variety of hard and soft corals, sponges, invertebrates, large schooling pelagic fish, a vast array of brightly coloured reef fish, including wrasse, parrot fish, trigger fish, damsels, butterfly fish… the list goes on and on. These reef fish in turn attract other rarer and larger creatures to these majestic waters.

Two of the five turtle species found around Madagascar are the Hawksbill and Green turtles. Both species are frequently found around the island of Nosy Komba where our research centre is located, not only do the visit the reef but the nest on the pristine beaches. Turtles are of great importance to the marine environment as they control the populations of smaller organisms and are indicators of wider ecosystem health. Hawksbill turtles are listed as critically endangered on the IUCN red list and green turtles are listed as endangered. Their conservation in the waters surrounding Nosy Be and Nosy Komba is crucial to their long term species survival.

Madagascar is the only place in the world were one will find lemurs, evolving in isolation from other primate species. They are synonymous with Madagascar’s endemic collection of fauna. There are over 100 species of lemur; almost all are classed as rare, vulnerable or endangered. Mostly they face dangers from human influence, primarily habitat destruction. Sadly it’s thought that at least 17 species have already become extinct since man first arrived on the shores of Madagascar, these include a giant lemur that stood the size of a human man.

Nosy Komba and Lokobe forest reserve is home to three species of lemur, the black, Hawk’s sportive, and mouse lemur. From the forests around the Turtle Cove base and visits to the forest reserve, it’s easy to observe their social and behavioural characteristics in the wild, whilst enjoying the notion of being up close to such an iconic and rare animal in its natural habitat.

Other creatures surrounding us on Nosy Komba include many of the 300 recorded bird species known to Madagascar, such as the crested drongo, Madagascar kingfisher, paradise flycatcher and tropic bird, which are all easily sighted. The brightly coloured and ornate panther chameleon is one of many in the large collection of reptiles on the island, another jewel in Madagascar’s crown. Madagascar is home to two-thirds of the world’s chameleons and is purported to be the origin of all chameleons.

Nosy Be also enjoys seasonal visits from a large number of whale sharks, the largest fish in the world reaching up to 14 metres in size, as well as migratory visits from many cetaceans (34 species found in Madagascan waters) such as the humpback whale and the recently discovered omura whale. The local dolphin population can be sighted in the waters all year round.

Nosy Be is a haven for marine life and recreational SCUBA divers alike. The marine environment is of overwhelming importance to the local communities, providing the majority of food supplies and employment. However, with a developing area such as Nosy Be, the demand and strain on the surrounding marine environment is ever increasing, with detrimental effect.

Areas such as the Tanikely marine reserve have been created to protect the sea life, and evidence shows that it works. With implemented sustainable fishing practices and a strengthened ecosystem through protective laws, there can be a healthy balance between marine life and community needs.

The wealth of Madagascar’s wildlife is clearly visible, on land and in the water, In order to preserve it for future generations and help sustain a healthy ecosystem for all its creatures to thrive, conservation initiatives are now more valuable than ever. Constant real time monitoring of population changes, habitat health and potential localised threats, are incredibly valuable, which we aim to source and help contribute to the protection of this amazing part of the world.

Become a part of the MRCI team and experience the many wonders that Nosy Be has to offer whilst actively contributing and giving something back to this majestic bio-diverse environment.


Nosy Komba

Nosy Komba (Island of lemurs) is a small volcanic island lying midway between Nosy Be and the mainland of Madagascar.  The volcanic hills fold dramatically down into the water creating sandy coves.

The island’s main settlement is the village of Ampangorinana, where one can stroll the winding village lanes lined with beautiful embroidered table cloths, woven baskets and wood carvings.  This quiet village relies on selling its unique crafts to tourists for its income.

The Turtle Cove research centre is located on Nosy Komba and is adjacent to a pristine white beach allowing easy access to the wider surrounding waters and directly the world famous Lokobe forest reserve and the National Oceanographic Research Centre.


Mamoko Island

This remote beautiful island is blessed with a small pristine forest that spills out onto sandy white beaches.  This island is very traditional and still has a monarchy in place, with a Queen as head of the islands small village population.  The village sustains itself by fishing and by charging a fee to visitors that tour the village. This village has a troop of lemurs that live amongst the villagers as well as a 100 year old tortoise.


Russian Bay

Russian Bay is a fascinating area full of mystery and intrigue.  The bays name dates back to 1905 during the Russo-Japanese war when a Russian warship anchored there.  Their orders were to attack any passing Japanese ships, but the crew took to life in Madagascar and realised that they did not wish to wage war nor to return to Russia.  Their ship was hidden in the upper reaches of Russian Bay and twice emerged to trade with pirate vessels that used to frequent the Mozambique Channel. The ship eventually ran out of fuel for its boilers and sunk in the bay years later. The last Russian sailor died in 1936.  The soldiers graves and the ships remains can still be seen today.

The marine life in the bay itself is spectacular offering wonderful snorkelling and diving, especially on the reefs outside the entrance.  In October to December whales and whale sharks are commonly sighted in the bay.  The moist tropical deciduous woods harbour abundant birdlife, reptiles and lemurs, and there is a choice of trails for day hikes.


Nosy Iranja

The Nosy Iranja Archipelago is located 40 km south of Nosy Be Island and is comprised of two islets, Nosy Iranja Be and Nosy Iranja Kely that are linked together by a most picturesque sandbar at low tide.

Nosy Iranja Be is the biggest island with an area of approximately 30 Ha. Nosy Iranje Be is home to a delightful abandoned lighthouse designed by the famous Gustav Eiffel, who also designed the Eiffel Tower in Paris.  The island has a small village inhabited by local fishermen.

Nosy Iranja Kely, is approximately 17 Ha and is characterised by large white sandy beaches that are important breeding sites for the Hawksbill and Green sea turtles.  The lush vegetation is home to a diversity of bird life and giant Coconut crabs

In early 2000, a 4 star hotel was built on Nosy Iranja Kely, with 24 lodges spread over the small island. The hotel has initiated ecotourism activities through the observation of nesting marine turtles, mainly in the south and along the east coast of the island. The human activities related to the presence of the hotel brought disturbance to the marine turtles activities in the east side of the island as the hotels night lights reduced the nesting marine turtles. However, in the south of the island, activities are carried out to preserve the integrity of the site and protect it against poachers.


Bararahamay River

The Baramahamay River is characterised by verdant hills behind sunny, white beaches.  The villages are known for their blacksmiths and boat builders.   One small village is known for its wild honey, which can be purchased from young entrepreneurs who sell the bottles of honey as well as crabs from their little pirogues.  There is also a good chance of seeing the very rare Madagascar fish eagle here.

The village has a small primary school, with more than 50 children in attendance


Lokobe Nature Reserve

Lokobe Nature Reserve is located in the south-eastern part of the island of Nosy Be.  It is Nosy Be’s only protected area covering approximately 7, 4 km² and is one of the rare localities where the primary Sambirano forest still exists.  Protection of this ancient forest stems back as far as 1927. This humid medium altitude evergreen forest is the natural habitat of the endangered black lemur, the gray-backed sportive lemur and mouse lemur.

Lokobe is also home to the Madagascar pygmy kingfisher, panther-chameleons, endemic frogs and snakes.


Madagascar Volunteer - Building Bridges to Support the Community

Building Bridges to Support the Community

Madagascar Volunteer - Building Bridges to Support the Community

Madagascar has some serious wet seasons! It’s known for flooding roads that make areas impassable for days. That’s island life and members of the local community on Nosy Komba van share many stories of how it effects their lives.

While Nosy Komba doesn’t have roads, there are many paths around the island that the Malagasy villagers use regularly. Some of these pathways become hazardous during the wet season, to the extent that it keeps people at home and sometimes prevents children from going to school.




Madagascar Volunteer - Building Bridges to Support the Community

One of the worst passages lies right next to the Madagascar Research and Conservation Institute’s (MRCI) base camp and it connects the villages on one side of camp to the main village of Ampangorina. The water runoff from the rain makes this area completely untraversable. To benefit the community, MRCI staff and volunteers took on the challenge of building a bridge over the water way.





Madagascar Volunteer - Building Bridges to Support the Community


Madagascar Volunteer - Building Bridges to Support the Community

The MRCI construction volunteers lead by construction officer, Luke Middleton, designed the bridge and MRCI funded all of the materials. To help the community further, funds were allocated to hire workers from the local community to help with the project.  Using builders from within the community ensured that we had the necessary knowledge to build environmentally appropriate structures.





Madagascar Volunteer - Building Bridges to Support the Community

Once organized, the project took about three weeks to complete. Now the villagers can safely make their way to work and children can easily get to school when conditions aren’t favourable. This is one of many examples of how we try to improve the Nosy Komba community, ensuring that our presence on the island also brings value to it.




If you would like to find out more about our construction projects on Nosy Komba, contact us today or apply online to take part in one of our volunteer programs.

Madagascar Volunteers - volunteers play basketball
AchievementsBlogCommunity DevelopmentIsland Life

Volunteers Bring Communities Together With Basketball

Madagascar Volunteers - volunteers play basketballMadagascar Research and Conservation Institute’s Community Co-ordinators, Niamh Flynn and Rojo Andofinoana Razafisalama, came together with volunteers and villagers to rehabilitate the old basketball courts in Ampangarina, Nosy Komba. The team reached out to several groups to raise funds, reconstructed the goal posts and court, and held a community tournament all within 3 short weeks. This was an impressive feat that couldn’t have been accomplished without the help of Marsellin and other members of the Nosy Komba community.

Madagascar Volunteers - volunteers play basketballNiamh and Rojo reached out to Noelle Couper at Warriors Basketball Club in Dublin, Ireland requesting support for this project. The club responded generously, being the main contributor to the near $500 raised for the project. With these funds, new goal posts could be constructed with new hoops and nets, and the courts were cleaned and repainted. Once the funds came through, the community and volunteers came together and completed the work in mere 10 days!

Madagascar Volunteers - volunteers play basketballVolunteers wanted to mark the opening of the courts by holding a tournament and the response from the community was overwhelming. Four teams were formed; BB Aliomo, BB Chicago, AS Jetno, and of course the volunteers’ team – Camp. The dedicated teams practiced continuously and were in tiptop shape for the big day. To ensure a fair match, a referee from Nosy Be was brought in to oversee the tournament. People from all over Nosy Komba came to support their teams which resulted in a fun and festive day all around! In round one BB Aliomo beat out BB Chicago and AS Jetno beat out Camp. BB Aliomo won the tournament over AS Jetno in the shootout. The day was shrouded in fun and excitement for sure!

Madagascar Volunteers - volunteers play basketballSince the reconstruction of the basketball courts and the tournament, people have been seen enjoying them every day. Villagers young and old, boys and girls can be found shooting hoops and having a great time all day and even into the night with the moonlight! It has truly brought so much joy and togetherness to the villagers of Ampangorina and Nosy Komba. Thank you to all who contributed physically and financially, your contributions will be lasting in the hearts of those who get so much enjoyment with these new courts.

To find out more about how to join our volunteers in Madagascar, contact us today or complete our online application form.