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Island Outreach by Boat Volunteer Project in Madagascar

Island Outreach by Boat Volunteer Project in Madagascar

This project is currently not accepting applications.
Support marginalized & low-income communities
Start dates
Programs start every first and third Monday of the month
1 week
Volunteer hours
Up to 3 hours a day
Volunteers aged 18+ or 16+ accompanied
Rustic beach camp, hut or tent
Program fees
From CA$1026 for 1 week
What's included
Find out here
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Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

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This program is ideal for:

Volunteers who want to do a range of activities that will make a meaningful difference to island communities, but who also want to experience the excellent recreational opportunities the area has to offer.

Project details

Want to see Madagascar by boat while making a difference as an Island Outreach volunteer? International Volunteer HQ’s Island Outreach project is an incredible 7-day over-water trip where volunteers visit and stay on a number of Madagascar’s beautiful, remote islands and contribute to a wide variety of initiatives that serve local rural communities and the environment.

What to expect and how you'll make an impact

The Madagascar Island Outreach project offers volunteers a chance to participate in a 7-day island tour. You will spend the week visiting and staying on four different islands enjoying everything the beautiful scenery offers as well as a great variety of volunteer tasks that make a difference to people and animals that live away from the mainland.

The trip takes place aboard a 50ft research vessel. You’ll spend your days visiting several of Madagascar’s remote islands and villages, and your nights in rustic camps. A key focus of the trip is rural community outreach to villages with limited and basic resources. Activities include:

  • Beach and reef clean-ups
  • Education support
  • Small construction projects
  • Donation distribution
  • Help with scientific research on forest hikes
  • Snorkel surveys
  • Beach patrols

These activities all help contribute to the ongoing efforts of IVHQ’s Marine Conservation, Forest Conservation, Teaching, Turtle Conservation and Community Development projects in Madagascar.

You’ll also have a good amount of free time to explore tropical islands, snorkel in the turquoise waters or enjoy a fun game of beach soccer with the village children.

Your itinerary is weather-dependent, and while the project will generally follow a set itinerary volunteers do need to be flexible if this needs to change.

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #1: No Poverty

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #1: No Poverty

More than 10% of the world’s population live in extreme poverty, struggling to fulfil the most basic needs like health, education, and access to water and sanitation, to name a few. Growth must be inclusive to achieve sustainable development and an economy that benefits all.

Why do Island Outreach volunteering in Nosy Komba with IVHQ?

As an Island Outreach volunteer you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:

  • Contributing to a number of local initiatives that serve the community
  • Help improve infrastructure and education on remote islands
  • Developing your communication skills
  • Gaining volunteering experience
  • Immersing yourself in Malagasy culture
  • Discovering the breathtaking islands of Madagascar

Volunteer requirements

  • A good level of physical fitness and agility is required to join the Madagascar program
  • Volunteers aged 16-17 must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or friend over the age of 18 to participate in this program
  • All volunteers are required to provide a criminal background check to IVHQ prior to departure. Those aged 16-17, if unable to obtain a criminal background check, can provide two character reference letters instead
  • All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance
  • All volunteers must speak fluent English
  • While fluency in French or Malagasy is not a prerequisite, we recommend volunteers learn some basic words and phrases as this will help immensely with day-to-day volunteer work and communicating with local people.

Not sure which program to join?

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'Who is going' users image
Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

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What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience

Maren Stroup
26 Mar 2024

I gained so much from this program. I would totally recommend to anyone willing to push themselves out of their comfort zone. The Malagasy culture is beautiful and the people are so welcoming and lovely. I made many great friends I still keep in touch with today and want to go back for a longer time.

Emma Halliday
08 Aug 2023

The teaching program in Nosy Be and Nosy Komba was the most rewarding three weeks. I gained friends for life, both the other volunteers and camp staff, as well as the locals and students who I taught during my time there. Everyone was so kind and happy. It has taught me a lot about the Malagasy culture and way of life, along with things about myself and what I'd like to be doing in the future. My advice to other volunteers would be to absolutely go and enjoy every minute! It is a beautiful part of the world, with an incredible community. The classes are relaxed, and there is enough time to plan lessons during the week. The students are so eager to learn and will ask you any questions they have. There is a teaching book that keeps a record of what the students have learned previously so you have a good understanding of what to revise with them and then what to teach. Be creative with your lessons and take the time to understand where the students need more practice/what works well for them. You will love it!

Kasia Gasior
18 Jul 2023

One month was too short and I wish I could've stayed for MUCH longer! I hope and plan to return for a longer period one day :)

Ampang has my heart! I went into this program having zero idea what to expect, I just always knew I wanted to teach English in Madagascar. The whole experience exceeded any expectations by 1000x. The staff is awesome, I've made so many close friends there and I loved learning the language and about the culture. Teaching there has made a huge impact on me and I am forever grateful for the experience and opportunity.

Thomas Sirrell
06 Jul 2023

Everybody I met was amazing and so welcoming to me. I loved talking to people from all over the world and was probably the best part about the experience. The biggest impact the program had on me was discovering what a new culture is like in person. Madagascar was nothing like I’ve ever seen before and has really humbled me about my views of cultures from across the world. It was a step out of comfort zones, but it is insanely worth it!!

Tomaz Lima
18 Mar 2021

If you're thinking about going, go. Don't think too much, you won't regret it.


To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.

Academic course credit

Academic course credit through International Volunteer HQ and Intern Abroad HQ.

Academic course credit

Gain course credit from your college or university and meet your academic requirements when completing a volunteer abroad program with International Volunteer HQ!

Learn about course credit


Volunteer Abroad in Madagascar with IVHQ


The Island Outreach project is based on a 50ft boat which travels between remote islands and bays off the north-west coast of Madagascar. You’ll get well off the beaten track with the unique opportunity to visit Nosy Mamoko, Ampohana, Russian Bay and Nosy Tanikely.

Nosy Mamoko: 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.

Ampohana: A small village located on a pristine long, white, sandy beach flanked by tall pine and coconut trees. The beach is also a nesting spot for turtles and is where the Turtle Conservation project is based.

Russian Bay: 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 enjoyed Madagascar so much they decided not to wage war or to return to Russia. 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.

Nosy Tanikely: In the ocean south of Nosy Be is the island of Nosy Tanikely. On it, the Nosy Tanikely Island Reserve is famous for its pristine beach, incredible snorkelling and crystal-clear waters.

Arrival and orientation

The program orientation begins on the first and third Monday of every month. Volunteers need to arrive in Nosy Be before 12 noon on the Sunday before orientation.

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive in Madagascar. There are two options for flying to the Madagascar program - Fascene Airport (NOS) in Nosy Be is the most convenient for an airport pick-up, however you can fly to Ivato Airport (TNR) in Antananarivo. Some volunteers choose to fly to Antananarivo and take a connecting flight or two-three day bus (and boat taxi) to Nosy Be. If you are interested in taking the bus, please reach out to your Program Manager for more information once you have registered. If you want an easy arrival, we recommend flying to Nosy Be.

If flying into Fascene Airport (NOS) in Nosy Be and arriving before 12 noon, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation on Nosy Komba. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the night before your program orientation. If your flight arrives after 12 noon, you will still be met at the airport but will need to stay in Nosy Be for the night to then travel by boat to Nosy Komba the following morning. This night of accommodation will be at your own expense and you will need to book this in advance of your arrival. Your IVHQ Program Manager will be happy to send you recommendations of affordable hotels in Hellville that are within walking distance of many shops and restaurants.

If you are traveling in Madagascar prior to your volunteer program, we can arrange for you to be picked up in Nosy Be before 12 noon on the day before your program orientation. You will be taken to Nosy Komba by boat.

Orientation is hosted by our Madagascar team at the volunteer accommodation on Nosy Komba. Orientation begins on the morning of your chosen start date and covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Madagascar – an introduction to Madagascar, culture and customs, rules and expectations, safety, travel opportunities and an introduction to project and placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers.

Volunteer schedule example

It’s important to be flexible around the order of stops during the trip and to expect volunteer tasks to vary according to the research being undertaken at the time, as well as the needs of the various communities.

Your itinerary is weather-dependent, but the project will generally follow the itinerary below:

Nosy Mamoko Island: Volunteers undertake a number of activities during their two-day stay on Nosy Mamako which can include construction projects, beach clean-ups, snorkelling for plastic waste, English classes and cultural interaction with the islanders. Leisure activities include a visit to a beautiful waterfall and swimming. You’ll be staying in tents under a grass canopy on the beach for two nights before moving on to Ampohana which is three hours away.

Ampohana: In Ampohana 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 include swimming and playing soccer with the local villagers. Accommodation is in beach houses with Western-style bathrooms. Volunteers will stay on Ampohana for three nights before making the move to Russian Bay, approximately a one and a half hour journey away.

Russian Bay: Volunteer activities mainly focus on beach clean-ups and removing plastic from the many inlets, hidden beaches and bays. Leisure activities include a beach bonfire on the last night, swimming and a forest walk. You’ll stay in tents on the beach for one night before heading off to Nosy Tanikely, a trip which takes about three and a half hours.

Nosy Tanikely: Volunteers enjoy a short three-hour stopover at the end of the program to relax and enjoy the sun or visit the lighthouse and local lemur population.

Volunteers will travel back to Hellville after visiting Nosy Tanikely, approximately a one-hour journey, and arrive in Helville around 4pm on the Sunday afternoon.

Accommodation and WiFi

Volunteers on the Island Outreach project should expect accommodation to be a mixture of beach houses, huts and rustic camping in tents during the 7 day journey. The 50ft Spirit of Malala boat which you’ll travel on is fitted with flush toilets and showers. You are required to bring your own light sleeping bag, sleeping roll mat, pillow, pillowcase and bath/beach towels. For volunteers on the Island Outreach project there will be no WiFi during the trip, however there is often cellular reception.


Volunteers on the Island Outreach project will be served three meals per day prepared in the traditional Madagascan style by the onboard chef.

Meals are basic, but nutritious and tasty. Breakfast ranges from pancakes to eggs or bread with condiments. Lunch is rice or pasta based, and dinner is rice based. Both lunch and dinner will usually be either chicken, zebu (beef) or fish, all with vegetables, beans and sauce. Supplies in Madagascar are limited and meals will change seasonally depending on the ingredients available.

Depending on the location, volunteers will eat most of their meals onboard or in some cases at local diners. Volunteers will have the opportunity to purchase snacks on Nosy Be before their departure too.

Please note that the local team is not able to cater for special dietary requirements​ or requests and meals are usually carbohydrate heavy. You should not expect to eat as you normally do at home and there is the need to be flexible or prepared to supplement the food provided.


  • USD

Spots are limited. For a Registration Fee of just US$329 (approximately CA$472) you secure your spot and unlock all our preparation and training tools.

You don't need to worry about paying your Program Fee until you get closer to your start date.

Due to its unique nature, the Island Outreach project has a stand-alone Program Fee of US$590 which includes meals, accommodation, transport, tents and any resources or materials needed for project work.

Check what's required to visit Madagascar

Safety and support

Safety and support with IVHQ

Safety and support

IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.

  • All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
  • All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
  • All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
  • All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Learn more about IVHQ's safety

Essential country information

Essential country information

Capital Antananarivo
Population 26.97 million
Languages Malagasy and French
Currency Malagasy Ariary (ARA)
Time zone UTC+03:00

Weather and climate

The climate of Madagascar varies due to the topographic differences and trade winds from the Indian ocean. Typically the climate is tropical along the coast, temperate inland and arid in the south. There is a wet, warm season from November to April with most rainfall covering the eastern coast. There is a cooler, dry season from May to October. Temperatures fall between an average of 18°C (64°F) to 30°C (86°F) throughout the year, with the lowest temperature dropping to 12°C (54°F) and highest reaching 36°C (96°F).

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