While the COVID-19 pandemic impacts economies and ways of life across the world, Madagascar is particularly affected. As one of the world’s poorest countries, 75% of people live on less than $2 per day, leading to high rates of malnutrition and the inability to quickly adjust to economic crises. As tourism is one of Madagascar’s main industries, the lack of tourists and researchers is devastating local economies.
Dr. Seheno Corduant-Andriantsaralaza, Madagascar Manager of the Lemur Conservation Network, states, “The COVID-19 pandemic affects the Malagasy people twice over. The lack of tourists has affected many income activities and has led to the unemployment of nearly 44,000 people. Also, because of the lockdowns, many people cannot go out and find a way to feed their families. For many Malagasy, the only option is to live from day to day.”
How You Can Help Malagasy Communities and Madagascar’s Wildlife During COVID-19
Because of this great need, many in the international community are organizing ways to support Malagasy people throughout Madagascar.
Below are some ways you can directly help, starting with national relief and then listed clockwise around the island by region.
Tour Guide ReliefView GoFundMe
Madagascar Specialist Daniel Austin has partnered with UK-based tour operators and organizations to provide relief to tour guides in Madagascar. Partners include ZaTours Madagascar, Rainbow Tours, Asisten Travel, Eyos Expeditions, Bradt Guides, and the Anglo-Malagasy Society. Local operator Za Tours will be distributing 400,000 Ariary grants to those most in need. Guides and others reliant on tourism across Madagascar are eligible.View GoFundMe
Tourism Student Relief
Halt Poverty is providing micro-grants for tourism students across Madagascar who are struggling due to COVID-19.View Fundraising Page on Global Giving
Project Komba is organizing support through the Madagascar Research and Conservation Institute. Funds will help families on Nosy Komba buy food and other essentials by providing financial support to 65 households for four months, and buy rice for the future.View GoFundMe
Masoala National Park
Masoala Forest Lodge is delivering packages of rice and other staples to communities in the Masoala National Park region. Additionally, they are using funds to employ community members to complete projects in the area, like cleaning the marine reserve and forest trails and providing jobs for the woman’s association in their nearby village.View GoFundMe
Lemur Love has been running fundraisers to raise money for communities in Andasibe, like their recent craft auction which raised $1,400 to provide food to 70 families in Andasibe for one month. Learn more about their COVID relief programs.Donate to Lemur Love on their Website
Money for Madagascar is a UK-based organization working with Association Mitsinjo to provide relief for Andasibe communities. When donating or purchasing from their shop, you can indicate that you want to support COVID relief on the donation form.Donate to Money for Madagascar on their Website
Centre ValBio is working with the Ranofamana Guides Association to provide monthly deliveries of food and supplies to tour guides and their families in the villages surrounding their research station and Ranomafana National Park. Additionally, they are organizing virtual wildlife tours with local tour guides to increase donations to support COVID relief.View GoFundMe
Donations to Conservation Fusion support the employment of women to create masks for the Kianjavato community. Conservation Fusion and Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership have been working together with the communities in Kianjavato for many years, and continue to support these communities during the COVID crisis.Donate to Conservation Fusion on their Website
SEED Madagascar is providing support to communities near Fort Dauphin and around Madagascar. They are creating educational resources about COVID prevention in Malagasy language for social media, radio, posters, and more. Additionally, they are distributing face masks to local doctors, nurses, community workers, local authority staff, and patients of local clinics, and establishing public handwashing stations in rural communities. Learn more about their COVID relief efforts.Donate to SEED Madagascar on their Website
Villages near Tsimanampesotse National Park, and Mangily (near the Lemur Rescue Center)
Lemur Love is providing monetary support to remote villages near Tsimanampesotse National Park. Efoetse is the most extreme remote location, where it is near impossible for people to receive supplies during lockdown. Additionally, they are providing school fees and aid packages for students at La Marmaille school in Mangily, keeping teachers employed and students in school. Learn more about Lemur Love’s COVID relief programs.Donate to Lemur Love on their Website
Dr. Marni LaFleur of Lemur Love states, “Without tourists, many local economies have completely collapsed. In the south, there is also a terrible drought; this year has experienced the lowest rainfall since I started recording in 2008. Additionally, with lockdowns, goods aren’t being transported. So, people don’t have food or basic supplies like soap.”
Naturevolution is a French NGO that manages the Makay Protected Area. They are raising funds to support communities in the Makay region to offset the loss of ecotourism due to COVID-19. They stress that food shortages are causing an increase in both bush fires and poaching. This could ravage the forests of Makay and severely threaten its lemur populations if we do not help.View Fundraising Page on HellosAsso
Betampona and Malaky
Money for Madagascar is a UK-based organization working with partners in western Madagascar. When donating or purchasing from their shop, you can indicate that you want to support COVID relief on the donation form. Learn more about their COVID relief work.Donate to Money for Madagascar on their Website
Ankarafantsika National Park
Planet Madagascar is raising funds to supply their project staff with soap and personal protective equipment (e.g. masks) so that they can continue their vital work in Ankarafantsika National Park, where they are working with local residents to build sustainable forest communities. Keeping their staff employed in the region is of vital importance to the welfare of the park and the communities they support.Donate to Planet Madagascar
Learn more about the impacts of COVID-19 on Madagascar
- Coronavirus disrupts global fight to save endangered species (Associated Press)
- Conservationists Mobilize to Help Endangered Lemurs in Madagascar Through the Pandemic and Beyond (Global Wildlife Conservation)
- In Madagascar’s dry forests, COVID-19 sparks an intense, early fire season (Mongabay)
- One-two punch of drought, pandemic hits Madagascar’s poor and its wildlife (Mongabay)
- Guidelines for reducing risk of lemur exposure to COVID-19 at ecotourism and research sites in Madagascar (Lemur Conservation Network)
Do you know of other people or organizations who are supporting Madagascar during the COVID-19 crisis? Let us know.
The World Bank In Madagascar. Retrieved from https://www.worldbank.org/en/country/madagascar/overview