Help us protect ecosystems and make a difference to the lives of rural people in Southwest Madagascar
It was a wonderful experience and I learned so much!! I met amazing people and created memories that will last me a lifetime!! After this, I have a clearer idea of what to do next, about how to protect what I love and what it means to live in this type of conditions……I consider this one of the best experiences of my life!
“It was incredibly enjoyable and I learned a lot while being here. I also became more confident at diving and being in a different environment.”
“We learned so much about marine conservation and protection, aquatic life, coral restoration, fisheries management, etc. The effort Reef Doctor puts in the presentations and training is amazing and really unique among volunteer projects as far as we can tell. We also learnt about the life as an aid worker in a developing country and how an NGO should communicate with the local villages and people. It was an amazing time.”
“It’s been one of the most incredible experiences to be a part of. I really enjoyed working hands-on with great projects like UVC’s, coral transplants, and the building of an artificial reef. The team here really cares about the work they do and it reflects in their work and attitudes on camp. I had such a fun time getting to explore the beautiful bay on dives, and trips to Mangily or Tulear on the weekends. I’ve also made some amazing friends here who I’ll be friends with for a long time to come.”
“It was a unique and amazing experience and I will not forget it. I learnt a lot about marine sciences and scientific diving, I gained experiences in diving and I discovered an amazing country. And the most important for me, I met amazing and passionate people with which I grow as a person.”
“Great to experience a project such as Reef Doctor and take part in scientific practice first hand. Real team atmosphere, feels like we’re making a difference and I am sad to leave.”
“A great group of people all working together to protect a very special area of Madagascar. Through hard work and dedication excellent progress is being made with space for future growth. Loved every minute of my time with Reef Doctor, I will definitely be recommending this program to my friends and colleagues. .”
“Happy times next to and under the sea and awesome people to hang out with. Very moving to be around people who care so much about helping the reef and the locals.”
“I have had a very positive experience with Reef Doctor. My knowledge of marine life and conservation has drastically improved and it has been great to partake in such a worthwhile programme. Furthermore, I have met some amazing people and have had some unforgettable experiences.”
“I didn’t think it was possible, but Reef Doctor combined my love for gardening/farming and diving/snorkelling into one. Whether cleaning coral tables underwater or paddling out and monitoring the seaweed farms just under the surface. I rose and fell asleep with the sun and not a day ever felt like work. I absolutely loved every minute! I reignited my passion for conservation and discovered a new found love for aquaculture. I danced under the stars in nightclubs, I swam under the moon in bio-luminescence, I hiked through the Madagascar plains and sailed down the coast, I watched the sun come up just as I was getting ready to drop down into a dive and watched the sun go down to the sweet sounds of gasy guitar, I got in heated volleyball matches in the local community and drank cold beers alongside the best friends a girl could ask for after adventure filled days. I fell in love with Madagascar and can’t wait to return.”
“The knowledge, experiences and people met will never be forgotten and I have Reef Doctor to thank for that. I will be back Madagascar.”
“I came here not knowing what to expect, and I’m leaving two months later with some of the best memories and experiences. Madagascar has definitely stolen my heart!”
“These past four weeks have taught me many valuable things that will not only form part of my career, but my life as well. The weeks that I have spent here have given me the opportunity to scope and be a part of the many different projects that this NGO has to offer. Even though it has been a short time, Reef Doctor staff integrated me in such a way that I was able to learn from and participate in all of the projects that make this organisation what it is. It is hard to believe the amount of activities that I was able to form part of in the days that I got to spend here. It was amazing to work with the staff and see how much they know about the reefs and all the different species. From benthic to fish, I have learned many valuable things that will help me in my future career.”
“I stayed 5 weeks with Reef Doctor and it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. The work they do and how much they help the malagasy community is impressive! You can feel the difference that they are making and that YOUR work is very appreciated there. I’ve learnt a lot of interesting facts about the whole sea ecosystem, fish and corals, and really enjoyed all the presentations I had. Even if you are a beginner in scuba (as me) you can help out in many things after just a short period of training. But Reef Doctor is not just about diving! You can help out in the seaweed and sea cucumber farm, help teaching English to the kids, cleaning coral (which was one of my favorite activities) and lots of other stuff. There was always a lot of stuff to do and I never got bored.”
“I had an awesome time at Reef Doctor. I had been so excited about it ever since I got the email saying I was accepted onto the Research Assistant/DiveMaster Internship program and I was not disappointed. I feel like everything I learned about coral reef ecosystems, the dynamics of socio-economic pressures on ecosystems, alternative livelihood programs, conducting scientific underwater surveys, leading dives, training new volunteers, and adjusting to a new lifestyle were all invaluable experience for me that I can apply to future jobs, education, careers, and just general life perspective and attitude.”
“One of the most memorable months of my life. I feel I gained invaluable experiences.”
“I had a good time here and felt like I was actually contributing to the work here, which is not always the case with other volunteer organisations (in my experience). I am also happy I chose Reef Doctor to volunteer with because I really got to see what it is like go work for an NGO and heard about the good and the not so good sides of it. I also feel, that the money I spent to come here is doing good here for the community and is actually helping to make a difference, so I am happy about that. Overall I had a good experience and would like to thank everybody for the time and effort they put into training me.
“When you join a volunteer program in a field that you know little to nothing about, you don’t really expect to make a huge difference in the short time you’re there, but in just one week we managed to do just that. From the Mangrove Planting Festival to the Coral Tree that the staff and volunteers envisioned, built and placed at Rose Garden dive site, we were able to put our own mark on the preservation for the future of the sea.”
“Arriving as an open water diver with the extent of my fish knowledge coming from having watched Finding Nemo multiple times as a child and leaving an Advanced Open Water diver, trained in Emergency First Response and being able to identify 40 or so fish as well as types of benthos and invertebrates in the space of 5 weeks is something I’m very proud of. I’d like to thank Reef Doctor for making that possible”
“The Malagasy staff here at Reef Doctor are really wonderful. They infuse the camp with the Malagasy spirit of kindness and they work very hard”
“The interaction between staff and volunteers was excellent, and everyone was made to feel that they were part of the team whether it was work related or with the diving and leisure activities. The diving was excellent and it was good to see that Health & Safety was of such paramount importance. I must take this opportunity to make a special mention to Manjo who was an excellent boat captain and was extremely professional in his attitude and outlook. I thoroughly enjoyed not only the experiences of Madagascar, Reef Doctor and the ethos of the project but also challenging myself to do something that was a little outside my personal comfort zone”
“Reef Doctor was an amazing learning experience and we feel fortunate to have been a part of the organization.”
“I had a great time with Reef Doctor in Madagascar. It was an amazing experience and has helped me realise that I am keen to continue studying marine conservation in the future. I really enjoyed helping out with the seagrass surveys and being part of the sea urchin predation surveys. The other volunteers that I met and the staff were all very nice and helpful, I hope to keep in contact with a lot of them. I loved the people in the village and I like that they are also involved in some sort of way with Reef Doctor and what it does. Thank you for the great opportunity and wonderful experience”
“I would thoroughly recommend the experience to anyone looking to spend a few weeks or months in the sunshine, diving into the amazing underwater realm, learning about a new country, and helping save a beautiful, but seriously threatened ecosystem.”
“My time as a research assistant at Reef Doctor was truly unforgettable. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so welcomed into a team and I would have happily spent many months there. One of the best things about it was having a free reign to get stuck into the things that interested me most and I really valued being able to contribute to the research and surveying side of things. The experience of living and working in Ifaty really opened my eyes to the real-life side of conservation and has inspired me to pursue a career in it, so perhaps one day I’ll be back at Reef Doctor!”
Whether it’s a gap year diving break, furthering your studies abroad, or just a break in your travels to do something different, volunteering with Reef Doctor is an experience you’ll carry with you for the rest of your life. Our volunteer programmes are a unique opportunity to experience Madagascar, its people, and its culture, whilst contributing to conservation and sustainable community development.
You can make a lasting impact by assisting our team in a variety of research, conservation, management, and community development projects. Take part in the on-going monitoring and restoration of coral reefs, community education, aquaculture, turtle conservation, and much more!
Our programmes are designed with the community at their heart; our work is directed at helping local communities develop and grow while conserving their culture and resources. A Reef Doctor expedition is all about making a difference and you’ll be contributing to helping us fulfil our long term ecological and social objectives in the Bay of Ranobe.