Global Builders – Madagascar

Nothing is so difficult that diligence cannot master it.
Malagasy Proverb

Global Builders - Madagascar

A heartbreaking paradox of national wealth, Madagascar is one of only 17 designated “megadiverse” nations in the world, yet 75% of its population lives on less than $1.90/day. Despite an abundance of natural resources, over 77% of the urban population lives in slums (USA Today) and even in the capitol Antananarivo, informal settlements make up between 60 to 70 percent of dwellings. (CAHF) These are houses that have large holes in the roofs, decaying walls, dirt floors or overcrowding — and too often all of the above. With only 10% of the adult population having access to a bank account, most can’t get hands on the resources they need to improve their lot.

The Fuller Center is partnering with families in these circumstances in the town of Antsirabe, in central Madagascar, to provide the opportunities that they otherwise will never have. Families are required to begin saving prior to receiving their home to demonstrate their capacity and willingness to pay it forward. They then help to build the homes and pay the costs forward on a no-profit, no-interest loan over about five years.

The program has developed low-cost methods of building and repairing homes with families. A detached sanitation building with a latrine and bathing area is included with each new home.

Getting Involved

There are several ways that you can get involved:

  • Donate to support this specific partner. Houses cost money to build, so any donation is always helpful!
  • Volunteer on one of our Global Builders teams, which you can learn more about below. You’ll travel to Madagascar and get to know the local people and traditions while you partner with families to complete a home.
  • Join a virtual volunteer team, choosing to donate your travel costs instead of making the trip in person. This is the perfect way to stay involved and give back.

House Sponsorship Cost: $3,500

Upcoming Trips

Click on the leader’s name to learn more about the leader and trip details. Click “Join” to apply for their trip. Have a spot reserved on a “Full” trip? Complete your registration here. Or learn about sending funds to support local labor by joining as a virtual participant.

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What is a trip like?

Each trip to Madagascar will be with a group of mission-minded volunteers – typically 8-20 total – who want to experience the world, meet new people, and make a difference. No skills required. Trips last 1-2 weeks and include enough time for sightseeing.

Madagascar-Mme Nantenaina, her daughters and their relatives at the dedication
  • 7:00   – Breakfast
  • 7:40   – Daily briefing
  • 8:20   – Leave for work site
  • 8:30   – Start work
  • 12:00 – Lunch
  • 1:30   – Resume work
  • 4:00   – Afternoon tea
  • 5:30   – End of work day
  • 7:30   – Dinner

-Mix mortar and concrete
-Assist with iron framework
-Construct walls with the masons
-Coat and paint houses

Teams will likely stay at the Hotel Menabe’l.  Amenities include electricity, hot water, in-room bathrooms, and wifi. Bedding and towels are provided by the hotel.

Teams transitioning through Antananarivo have usually stayed at the Sakamanga Hotel

Local public vans will be provided to transport your team to and from the work-site. Vans will be hired to drive teams from the airport to the bus station.

You can find a list of packing suggestions in the Madagascar handbook.
A basic suggestion though is to be aware of the weather during your trip. Conditions vary with the season and packing should adjust accordingly. We also recommend bringing small hand tools if you’re able.

Madagascar has a growing tourism industry and the affordability makes most activities accessible. The activities recommended by the country hosts are:
– A visit to Lake Tritriva
– Trying the thermal baths
– A bike ride to Lake Andraikiba

Prices vary based on team size and trip duration, but most trips are 10 to 14 days and will range in cost between $2,100 and $2,500. That price covers lodging, local transportation including airport pick-up, three meals per day, bottled water, travel health insurance, and a contribution toward building materials.  Fees do not include airfare, visa fees, tips, or site-seeing (unless otherwise indicated). 

If looking to bring a group contact for more details and submit your trip proposal here. 

Are you unsure of how to prepare for such an experience or just looking for some tips on how to be better prepared? If so, we suggest you take a look at our Trip Preparation page where you will find a lot of helpful information and links – Preparing For Your Trip!

Pricing – What’s included?

Team Materials Fuller Center hat, t-shirt, country guidebook, fundraising guide, & more
Trip Support Easy contact with Team Leader and Global Builders staff
Food and Drink 3 meals a day provided by safe, sanitary local vendors
Transportation To and from work sites and airport
Lodging The Hotel Antsirabe, roughly 10 minutes from the worksite
Travel Insurance Provided by Berkley Accident and Health, with Healix Emergencey Assistance Services. More details are provided upon registration or request. 
Life-changing work Alongside your teammates and the homeowners!

Meet Some Families

Georgette & Armand

Tolisoa's Family

Voahary & Jean

Felisoa's Family

Norotiana Family

Lalah and Jean

Voahangy Family

The first week we moved in the house, my family couldn’t believe the reality in which we live. A new home built for us is like a dream! Frankly, I had no means to get even a simple home with my current work. My family lives with little amount I earn by sewing the dress of people coming to me.

Thanks to the effort of Fuller Center Madagascar to build homes with us and also to let us follow training to improve our household income, I believe in the brightness of our future life. Now, I feel peace within me and hope that our situation will get better.

My family is now planning to start a small farm next year, which will permit us to ameliorate our life.