sea cucumber pen

Staff Interview: Vijay Jivan

People from all around the world come to Madagascar to volunteer for Reef Doctor and other NGOs and to work alongside Malagasy people to help improve lives and assist in conservation projects. Reef Doctor benefits greatly from the skills, experience and enthusiasm of international staff and volunteers. However, the hope is that, in the future, Reef Doctor will be staffed almost entirely by Malagasy nationals and more specifically, people from the community of the Bay of Ranobe, in order to increase project sustainability. Indeed, many positions at Reef Doctor are currently held by Malagasy staff. We would like to introduce you to one of them here.

Vijay Jivan is an invaluable member of the Reef Doctor team. As a Community Aquaculture Technician & Socioeconomic Officer, he coordinates the installation of seaweed and sea cucumber aquaculture systems, monitors aquaculture productivity, organises community meetings and conducts poverty surveys. He also participates in turtle tagging for the Reef Doctor Fano project. He is actively contributing to conservation and sustainable development in Madagascar, and intends to continue this in the future. We hope you enjoy this short interview.


Name: Vijay Jivan

Age: 29

Job Title: Community Aquaculture Technician & Socioeconomic Officer

Qualifications: Masters 1 in Science specializing in Geology

How long have you been working for Reef Doctor?: 2 years

How did you find out about the job?:
At University. I had just finished my Masters 1 and part of my Masters 2. I saw an advertisement in the University of Toliara looking for a person to carry out socio- economic surveys. I sent in my CV because I felt I was ready for a new experience and more experience. It’s better to have a lot of experience than a lot of qualifications. Reef Doctor contacted me, and we set up an interview. I got the job and started work in May 2014.

What is it like working for Reef Doctor?:
It’s hard work……but I enjoy working with the community. I like working at Reef Doctor. I like that I get the opportunity to have different experiences like diving. I learned to swim and scuba dive at Reef Doctor. I also enjoy learning all the fish species in the bay.

What is the best part about working at Reef Doctor?:
I like teaching people and sharing my experience with them. Reef Doctor is good for the Bay of Ranobe. I like working with the community and sharing my knowledge and experience to build on their future.

How does your family feel about you working at Reef Doctor?:
All of my family likes it. My aunt and uncle want me to get my doctorate in the future.

How do you feel about NGOs working in Madagascar?:
I think NGOs do beneficial work in the community. Reef Doctor has good ideas. I think Reef Doctor is a gift from God for the community. It helps people survive. Reef Doctor brings change to the lives of people we work with. For example people here had nothing as fishermen. Now they earn money as farmers. The government is trying to deal with poverty and the Reef Doctor model is helping.

Where do you see your career going in the future?:
In the future I need to change many things based on my experience I have now. I need to keep improving my knowledge. I would like to show the government that we can work with NGOs and support them. I like working in the field, I see what it’s like. [In the future] I see myself in a government position [dealing with] policy and politics.

Interview by RD Comms Officer Ivana Rubino