SEED Madagascar

Program Reviews

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Philip
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I loved my time with SEED! The knowledge and passion of the staff is incredible and volunteering with an NGO in rural Madagascar is an unforgettable experience. As someone who is about to start studying biology at uni, I feel that this was the perfect programme for me - you learn so much about research and about the local wildlife. The diversity of the wildlife is mind-blowing. The lemurs and chameleons are great but there are also more varieties of frogs, spiders, snakes, dragonflies, geckos, snails, beetles, and grasshoppers than you can imagine. We even saw a baby crocodile!

The area is absolutely gorgeous. What I really loved was how you're made to feel part of the Sainte Luce community - the camp is right next to a small village where you can buy snacks and practice your limited Malagasy. If you're an adventurous person who loves nature and are considering volunteering with SEED, then do it!!! I stayed for 8 weeks but I wish I'd stayed for even longer.

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Joseph
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I wanted to do some volunteering overseas before I went to uni. My two pre-requisites for choosing who to go with were 1) the org must do genuine community-based and where possible community-owned work 2) it had to be completely off the beaten track (who isn’t tired of listening to stories about the SE ASia / Aus / NZ gap year circuit?!). SEEDMadagascar’s Pioneer programme completely hit these out of the park AND the 10 weeks I spent there opened the door to a 12 year and counting career in development and humanitarian work that has taken me not only back to Madagascar over four times (with SEED!) but around the world to other incredible places and to Geneva where I am now working with the UK Department for International Development at the United Nations. None of this would have been possible without that foundation in real community based development work that SEED provide... and as far as I am aware they are the only volunteer organisation out there that are not only based but deeply rooted in the communities they work in. If you want to work hard, have fun, gain great experience and make a difference - look no further than pioneer!

What would you improve about this program?
By being brought to the attention of more people, so more can share in the great experiences I have had! Everything else is there.
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Cindy
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Just over 9 years ago, by the recommendation of my Alma matter, I volunteered for 8 weeks with the then Azafady, pioneer program. As the projects were identified, developed and delivered by Malagasy folks, you knew the work being done was genuinely needed. However in my naivety, I didn't realize that I would gain much more from this experience than I could ever give.

One memory that stands out, is the welcome we received when arriving to the village we would be building a school and latrine for. The singing, dancing, and drumming will forever resonate with me. In that moment, it solidified for me, that what we were not exacerbating a problem but very much a part of a solution.

The program was set up in a way that really valued each volunteer, and the uniqueness of their experience. Staff were very supportive and open to your concerns and questions. There was flexibility in the programming to allow for free time to explore on our own and accompanied by staff through organized excursions.

It was a privilege to experience just a small fragment of Malagasy culture and am so thankful to all the staff, volunteers and people of Madagascar.

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Nessa
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I've volunteered with SEED Madagascar three times now, as a volunteer, a research assistant and to revisit my home in Sainte Luce, for a total of nearly 20 months. The variety of biodiversity research projects and experiences you'll encounter there is remarkable. The community and the conservation team are so warm and welcoming, so open to sharing their knowledge and culture and music, and the English and conservation students are so dedicated to learning, it feels like my heart is being torn out every time I leave. There is always more to come back for. This stunning place and truly awesome community are worth everything and anything we can do to support them into a wonderful sustainable future.

What would you improve about this program?
The English class in Sainte Luce needs more support in terms of books and other teaching resources. The schools would benefit from a sponsorship programme, perhaps twinning with a similar sized town in another country.
Holley
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A volunteering trip to Madagascar can only be described as a once in a life time experience that will change your life for the better. You cannot help but leave the beautiful country with a completely refreshed perspective of your own life and what it means to be happy. To be able to help an under privileged community in a remote region of Southern Madagascar will always be the highlight of my volunteering career with the smiles of young boys and girls etched in my mind. As a recent university graduate, I loved being a part of helping others achieve their academic dreams.

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Alexandra
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My time with SEED was unforgettable! There is no place like Madagascar and I was lucky enough to be immersed in the culture and collecting data on the diverse environment for a full 10 weeks. I had a chance to camp in the bush nearby local villages and interact daily with local children, lemurs, and geckos of all sorts. SEED is a wonderful organization and if you get the chance to volunteer for them- DO IT! The local staff is incredibly educated and friendly, and the international staff make you feel right at home. Camping in the bush is not easy, but I learned so much about the benefits of living a simpler life. Also, Madagascar is simply beautiful and the beaches are to die for! Your time spent with SEED will not be wasted.

Nicola
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I was a little worried that I was too old to volunteer in this programme, however the staff at SEED made me feel so welcome age wasn't an issue. I volunteered to teach English and again was worried as I hadn't been to university but had completed a TEFL course, and again there was no need to worry the TEFL course was all I needed. During my stay I met some wonderful people. It was the hardest but the best thing I have ever done. Its hard to see such poverty, however the people really appreciate what you are doing for their community and I can honestly say to anyone who is thinking about volunteering do it!

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Malcolm
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I spent 2 weeks working with SEED in Fort-Dauphin and in Sainte-Luce. I stayed with a SEED employee and her family and felt very welcome and well looked after. The accommodation was simple, but clean and comfortable and with a fantastic view. Not some isolated hotel - this was in among the sounds and sights of everyday Madagascar.
The teaching programme gave me a wide range of experiences - all very positive. I worked with Malagasy employees of SEED, with local administrators, business people and local people working on other SEED projects. It was the school holidays so I didn't get the chance to visit a school, which I would have liked to do.
The education programme staff were brilliant - very organised, offering support when I needed it, but allowing me independence to plan my own lessons as well. They worked hard to show me the range of different teaching environments they are working in.
I met lots of the conservation volunteers as well while staying in the bush, and was able to take part in expeditions collecting scientific data, including a nighttime crocodile hunt in pirogues.
The whole two weeks was a fantastic experience that has left me longing to return.
Thank you SEED!

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Bronwyn
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

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.

What would you improve about this program?
I honestly don't think I can think of anything that wasn't out of their control!
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Alicia
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

It is weird to say that I loved my experience here, because the experience included a stark view of the world; it is difficult to believe that the poverty of this country and its citizens can coexist in a world with other developed countries of affluence and wealth. However, I found myself completely immersed in the experience of understanding the complexities of these issues and excited to help with the current work. I really enjoyed my experience working in the Pioneer program and then participating in the Conservation program. Each program immersed you in a community and I was able to learn about Malagasy culture in a respectful, yet participatory way. You experience the poverty that you help to alleviate, and it is clear that you can see SEED's tangible impacts throughout the community.