This organisation was founded in the mid-90s in response to emerging challenges around a major ilmenite (titanium) mining project planned in southeast Madagascar, one of the most economically impoverished yet biologically rich places on the planet. The organisation developed and began implementing a programme of environmental and sustainable development operations, becoming in 2000 a registered UK charity working in partnership with Malagasy NGO. Over the years evolving into an award-winning, internationally respected organisation, it continues working with local communities in the southeast today, implementing health, conservation, livelihoods and education projects, and raising awareness worldwide about the challenges for Madagascar’s people and wildlife.
This project is run by a registered charity that has been working on environmental, humanitarian and sustainable development projects in southeast Madagascar since 1995. Where possible and practical, we use only locally owned and operated suppliers and employs local people as guides to lead our groups of volunteers. We ensure that our suppliers are supplying us with quality goods that have been sourced / grown locally wherever possible (with regard to food products). Our local guides and staff are in full time employment with contracts, are treated as equals, paid a fair wage and not given an unreasonable workload.
We are aware that wherever we go we are having an impact on the environment. We endeavour to minimize this impact and engage in projects that not only make the environment sustainable but contribute to improving it. When visiting villages, group sizes are determined by what is appropriate to the area we are visiting and the job that we are doing. Use of motorised transport is kept to the minimum and we use public transport where possible. We ask volunteers to use water sparingly and respect the needs of local people at water collection points. We ensure animals are never fed or touched unless to do so is part of an organised visit to a park or other managed environment. We suggest volunteers avoid accepting plastic bags for everything in shops and we provide water to refill plastic bottles. We separate our waste for re-use or composting.
In the forest we use trails where they exist and disperse to prevent the creation of new trails when entering pristine areas. We use only farmed wood and we educate local people on the reasons for this. Camp-fires for 'ambience' are not allowed. Camping areas are selected in consultation with local people and in most cases are 'gifts' from the community; they rested for at least 6 weeks between visits.
We plan volunteer programs in a way which maximizes the opportunity to meet and work alongside local people, learn about the local culture and experience the local way of life. We teach our volunteers to speak the local dialect of the Malagasy language and provide orientation to present a balanced view of the country, the people, our work and local culture and traditions, religion, body language and eating habits before any volunteer visits the field.
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