Madagascar

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US Peace Corps
Madagascar


Status: ACTIVE
Staging:


American Overseas Staff (FY2010): FP 03 (Davenport, Leif, D, $ 85,786)


Latest Early Termination Rates (FOIA 11-058):

(2008 10 %),  (2007 39 %),  (2006 25 %), 2005 30 %

Peace Corps Journals - Madagascar Feedicon.gif

Ma-map.gif
Peace Corps Welcome Book
Region:

Africa

Country Director:

Steve Wisecarver

Sectors:

Education
(APCD: Xavier Louis)
Environment
(APCD: Leif Davenport)
Health
(APCD: Boda Ranjeva)

Program Dates:

1993 - Present

Current Volunteers:

141

Total Volunteers:

733

Languages Spoken:

Malagasy, Antanosy, Bara, French, Malagasy, Sakalava, Betsimisaraka

Flag:

Flag of Madagascar.svg



Peace Corps Volunteers in Madagascar are teaching English, conducting health education and child survival activities, and working on natural resource management and community development.


Contents

Peace Corps History

Main article: History of the Peace Corps in Madagascar

Despite political and economic reform measures, Madagascar continues to face many development challenges. The education system is burdened by overcrowded classrooms, poorly trained teachers, and a severe shortage of teaching materials. Widespread poverty, a poorly educated population, food insecurity, unsafe water supplies, and inadequate health services have resulted in a high rate of infant mortality. Madagascar has one of the highest levels of biodiversity on Earth, but its natural resource base is severely threatened by deforestation, soil erosion, and the decline in overall land productivity. Peace Corps Volunteers in Madagascar teach English, train teachers, conduct health and HIV/AIDS education, and work on natural resources management and community development.

The first 10 Peace Corps Volunteers arrived in Madagascar in September 1993 to initiate the teacher training project, which eventually became the English education project. In August 1994, the environmental project kicked off with the arrival of 13 trainees. The health project began in September 1995. Since reopening in 2002, the Peace Corps has been providing approximately 75 new Volunteers per year in this country. Since the beginning, the program has had a close working relationship with the government of Madagascar.


Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyles

Main article: Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyles in Madagascar

Volunteers are posted throughout the country. Housing conditions here vary from mud houses with thatched roofs to modern cement houses with running water and electricity. Your project, the area of the country, and the availability of housing all have a role in the type of home you will have. Many Volunteers have only a pit toilet and a thatched shed for taking bucket showers. Environmental Volunteers tend to live in more remote areas (near the national parks and protected areas), while education and health Volunteers generally live in areas of greater population density.

During training, you will live with and have most of your meals with a host family. A homestay is considered one of the most important aspects of the training program and is required for this period. Trainees generally stay in a village with three or four other trainees and one or two staff members. Volunteers often form strong and lasting friendships with their host families.


Training

Main article: Training in Madagascar

Pre-service training will provide you with the essential skills needed to successfully complete your service in Madagascar. During training, you will learn what you need to know to integrate into your community and to develop and implement an appropriate work plan with your community and counterparts. Training has five major components:

Technical training, cross-cultural training, language instruction, personal health and safety training, and the role of the Volunteer in development.

The training in Madagascar is community-based, which means that the bulk of it takes place in the community instead of at a training center. Community-based training is a more difficult training model in some respects, as the learning environment is real, not artificial. Most of your time will be spent in villages similar to the one in which you will be placed as a Volunteer, living with a Malagasy family and working in village schools. The learning environment is designed to provide you with experiences and meetings that will help you develop the knowledge and skills you need in your work as a Volunteer.


Your Health Care and Safety

Main article: Health Care and Safety in Madagascar

The Peace Corps’ highest priority is maintaining the good health and safety of every Volunteer. Peace Corps medical programs emphasize the preventive, rather than the curative, approach to disease. Peace Corps/Madagascar maintains its own health unit with two medical officers, who are responsible for the medical care of trainees and Volunteers in Antananarivo as well as at their sites. The Peace Corps has further medical support from the area medical officer based in Kenya and from the Office of Medical Services in Washington. In case of severe illness, you will be evacuated to a nearby country or the United States for medical care.


Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues

Main article: Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues in Madagascar

In Madagascar, as in other Peace Corps host countries, Volunteers’ behavior, lifestyles, background, and beliefs will be judged in a cultural context very different from our own. Certain personal perspectives or characteristics commonly accepted in the United States may be quite uncommon, unacceptable, or even repressed in Madagascar.

Outside of Madagascar’s capital, residents of rural communities have had relatively little direct exposure to other cultures, races, religions, and lifestyles. What is viewed as “typical” cultural behavior or norms may be a narrow and selective interpretation, such as the perception in some countries that all Americans are rich and have blond hair and blue eyes. The people of Madagascar are justly known for their generous hospitality to foreigners; however, members of the community in which you will live may display a range of reactions to differences that you present.


Frequently Asked questions

Main article: FAQs about Peace Corps in Madagascar


Packing List

Main article: Packing List for Madagascar

This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in Madagascar and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that experience is individual. There is no perfect list! You obviously cannot bring everything we mention, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. You can always have things sent to you later. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind that you have a 100-pound weight restriction on baggage. (Luggage should be tough, lightweight, lockable, and easy to carry.) And remember, you can get almost everything you need in Madagascar.


See also

External links

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