Travel to the beautiful island of Madagascar and help build affordable homes. Turn your next summer holiday into an experience filled with culture, history, laughter, friendship and hard work. Come and build homes alongside locals, discover Malgasy food, share stories and experience unforgettable memories. No previous building experience is required—just open your eyes, be flexible and take in this amazing adventure.
Madagascar is the fourth-largest island situated east of Mozambique in the Indian Ocean, with abundant natural resources and unique wildlife. Eighty percent of its plants and animals are found nowhere else in the world. Madagascar primarily exports agricultural products such as vanilla, coffee, shellfish, sugar and fiber. It is also a producer of cotton textile, minerals and gemstone.
About Habitat for Humanity Madagascar
Madagascar’s national program began building in 2000. HFH Madagascar is currently building houses in the East, Central Highland, West, South Highland and Northwest regions. Most of the projects underway are in rural or sub-urban areas but urban slum upgrading has started to be a key component of the program. The first urban project started in the municipality of Moramanga in 2008 and in 2009 an urban renewal project started in the city of Toliara in the south of the country.
Houses are built in stages, generally starting from a core house of one or two rooms to keep it affordable and to serve more families in need. House faoundations are made of stone or fired clay bricks and then covered with concrete floors, while the walls are made of clay brick and mortar. When local climate permits, clay tiles are used for the roofs and windows and doors are made of eucalyptus. These materials are locally produced and come from renewable sources. The program is sustainable and keeps housing costs affordable for families in need. Generally the construction of a new house lasts 45 days from foundation to finish.
Types of construction for volunteers
The primary work for volunteers is in moving materials on the work site. Laying bricks in Madagascar does require special skills; bricks are not equal size and are not always geometrically straight, and masons are sometimes reluctant for inexperienced volunteers to lay bricks. The mortar for the homes consists of red mud which requires a specific thickness.
GV teams will start with a stone foundation laid, in most cases, and begin working on the walls. Toilets are built on site prior to the construction of the house for the team’s use.
Day 1 (Saturday): Arrival.
Day 2 (Sunday): Travel to host project; welcome and orientation with Habitat Madagascar staff member; meet the partner families.
Days 3-7 (Tuesday-Friday): Work from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. with lunch on-site; free time in evenings; dinner; time for team activities.
Day 8 (Saturday): Work from 8 a.m.-4 p.m.; dedication ceremony; farewell party; cultural activity; dinner on-site with the partner families.
Day 9 (Sunday): Depart for home.
Depending on the project location, the team may stay at a hotel in double-or triple-occupancy rooms with a shared bath. The first and last night, the team will stay in a hotel in Antananarivo, sharing double- or triple-occupancy rooms with a shared bath.
(For more details about what is included in this cost, visit Global Village program cost .)
Build a better world: Take the Global Village Challenge
Habitat for Humanity International is challenging Global Village volunteers to make an even greater impact on the global issue of poverty housing. We are asking all GV teams to help us raise an additional $1.1 million in the coming year to support Habitat’s building projects worldwide. Take up the challenge! Join us in sharing our story and building a better world!
Alex Harrington was born in France to an American foreign service officer and a French fashion designer. He has lived throughout France, the United Kingdom and lately in Atlanta where he taught French and theater at Emory University.
Alex is very lucky to have had the opportunity to travel to Africa every year for the past two decades; building ties in western, eastern and southern Africa (Senegal, Botswana, Ethiopia, South Africa, Zambia amongst others). Each visit increasing his love, knowledge and fascination for this continent and its people.
Alex has had the opportunity to work with amazing people at Habitat for Humanity throughout the years and is thrilled to discover Madagascar with this Global Village build.
If you are interested in being part of this adventure, please contact Alex at GVillage.Harrington@gmail.com  .