There are a number of charities and non-governmental organisations based in the UK and active in Madagascar. You can find details of many of them below, along with a handful of Malagasy organisations with close ties to the UK. Please feel free to contact us with any suggestions for additions or corrections to this list.
Akany Avoko Ambohidratrimo
Akany Avoko is a children’s home that offers a range of educational and cultural activities to some 150 children.
Akany Avoko Faravohitra
Not to be confused with Akany Avoko in Ambohidratrimo (although when founded in the 1960s they were affiliated), this inspiring home for vulnerable girls is located in a large house in central Tana. It accommodates 40 or so children aged 5–18, usually victims of abuse or those with behaviour issues, drug problems, or who are in trouble with the law. AAF takes care of all aspects of the girls’ lives and their rehabilitation. They welcome donations of supplies or money; or you can sponsor a girl via Small Steps for Africa (see below).
Andrew Lees Trust (ALT)
The UK-based ALT was set up in 1995 and in 2010 achieved a long-term goal of launching a fully Malagasy NGO (Andry Lalana Tohana) to carry its work forward. The trust develops social and environmental education projects in the south to increase access to information and education that empowers local populations to improve food security, reduce poverty and manage natural resources more sustainably. ALT’s Project Radio broadcasts vital information and delivers education to nearly a million isolated rural listeners.
This multi-award-winning organisation, with field projects mainly along the west coast, has had great successes in marine conservation projects and wide-ranging community work from education to family planning schemes. The volunteering programme is universally praised and the scientific research to which it contributes wins regular international acclaim. Staff-to-volunteer ratios are high, scientific training is rigorous and PADI scuba-diving training is included. Flexible expeditions of 4–12 weeks or more are offered.
The Dodwell Trust
This British-registered charity founded by explorer and broadcaster Christina Dodwell in 1995 runs a learning centre and primary school for disadvantaged children in Ampefy, and collaborates with projects for community development and reforestation.
Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust
Since the 1980s, this Jersey-based charity has been working in Madagascar with a core mission to save the rarest species from extinction. It is now one of the biggest conservation organisations in the country, with projects at nine sites and a team of more than 45 local staff.
Education for Madagascar
This organisation, set up in 2010 and now run by a small international team, subsidises the education of hundreds of poor children in Madagascar. They have a broad range of projects from tutoring and international school exchanges to library creation and coding & robotics teaching, as well as health, gender equality and permaculture projects.
FAMadagascar was set up by a husband-and-wife team who were foster carers and teachers in the UK. Recognising the needs and rights of children to grow up in families, and the crisis of overcrowded centres in Madagascar, they moved to Antananarivo in 2015 with the purpose of assisting the government and NGOs to place children in families. Their organisation, now headed up by qualified Malagasy social workers, supports families at risk of abandoning their children due to poverty and works closely with the government to assist in establishing a national foster care system in accordance with UN regulations.
This small but highly effective Scottish charity has worked to alleviate poverty and environmental degradation in the highlands since the mid-1990s. It has dozens of project sites in the Fianarantsoa province focusing on improving primary health care and primary education, promoting natural resource management and developing income-generating schemes. It is currently working on revitalising the silk industry, community forest management and adult literacy programmes. Feedback occasionally has volunteer openings; contact the charity for details.
Friends of Madagascar
FoM hold an annual Saturday meeting every spring with speakers covering topical issues about Madagascar, usually at a venue in Warwickshire. To register interest in the next meeting, please e-mail the organisers.
Kitchen Table Charities Trust
The charity established by newsreader John Humphrys has raised money for a number of projects of small charities in Madagascar, including through an auction by JLA that funded a healthcare facility for the commune of Talatavolonondry.
Madagascar Development Fund
This NGO set up by former British Embassy employees aims to improve health care and sanitation, and provide clean water; to improve access to primary education by building and renovating schools; to reduce poverty; and to establish community environmental projects.
Madagascar Conservation & Development
Since 2006, the international network behind this online journal has been providing a space to share scientific knowledge and understanding with a view to creating and preserving a sustainable natural environment for future generations of humans, animals and plants of Madagascar.
Madagasikara Voakajy is a Malagasy conservation organisation with strong British links (it is Fauna and Flora International’s partner on the island). Its mission is to promote livelihoods that decrease environmental exploitation, gather and publish robust scientific data, carry out community conservation education, and conserve critical habitats for focal species.
Money for Madagascar
This long-established and well-run Welsh charity funds a large number of projects to help destitute children, vulnerable women and girls, families escaping poverty and communities in ecological hotspots, as well as providing disaster relief. It only funds projects that have been planned and initiated by Malagasy people. MfM describes its approach as ‘no frills’: their low overheads allow donations to be channelled where they are needed. Donations may be made via the charity’s website, where there is also a shop selling ‘alternative’ gifts.
Operation Fistula works to revolutionise care for women suffering obstetric fistula – a devastating child birth injury that leaves women incontinent. Founded in 2008, it was established as a local entity in Madagascar in 2019. They have a deep partnership with the Ministry of Health, and are in a global partnership with UNFPA to scale its mixed model of community and national-level capacity-building – funding surgeries and other care interventions for women – while ensuring quality case management using data collection and analytics.
This British-Malagasy charity (formerly known as Azafady) works in the southeast, aiming to break the cycle of poverty and environmental degradation. Projects focus on sustainable improvements in community health, increasing food security, poverty reduction, facilitating sustainable use of natural resources, and providing vital education, water and sanitation infrastructure. Volunteering opportunities are for 2–10 weeks.
Small Steps for Africa
Established in 2008 to fundraise for a water project in Uganda, this British mother-and-daughter-run charity now focuses on Madagascar, supporting local projects that provide care and education to vulnerable and impoverished children.
The Tossing A Starfish Charity (TASC) gets its name from a man who was spotted throwing beached starfish back into the ocean. When challenged that the few he could rescue wouldn’t make any difference to the thousands dying on the beach, he tossed another into the water and replied ‘I’ve made a difference to that one’. This UK charity provides housing, sanitation and education to some of the poorest people in the Vohipeno region, and arranges an annual sponsored bike ride in Madagascar.
Almost half of Malagasy people have no clean water, and around nine in ten still have nowhere decent to go to the toilet. Deadly diarrhoeal diseases are common. WaterAid facilitates various partner organisations and government ministries in Madagascar to cooperate in solving these crises and putting hygiene at the top of the agenda by helping communities in setting up and operating their own water and sanitation facilities using low-cost technologies.
Errors or omissions in this list of organisations? Please let us know.