Difference between pages "Effective Talent Management" and "Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Madagascar"

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Some alterations that are radical have been witnessed by Human Resources in the last decade in the manner it functions, a number of these modifications are because of outsourcing to countries that are other decrease overheads and so that you can lower your expenses. The advances in engineering and convenience with that your Internet could be utilized by people throughout the globe have dramatically converted individual capital management.Due for this technology growth firms now have access to an international workforce, ultimately causing improvements in the way they sponsor and practice. Employees currently frequently work at home and can be positioned in a completely different region to the principal office of the business they work for, instruction needs to be intended and implemented in such a means it will effectively make them for their fresh role.The tasks of a HR office are many and varied, a few of the different features carried out by this section contain recruiting employees, teaching staff and maintaining worker records. That it can manage easily and efficiently each function posseses an essential part within the company and types the foundation. time have had to change and transform so that you can meet up with the new requirements and requirements of global property management.The primary concern human resource specialists have to handle in the current competing earth will be to determine and apply profitable methods to employ and retain good-quality personnel, or in other words, 'talent'. This can be referred to as talent management.Talent management is not unconcerned with managing and coordinating the different abilities individuals have to provide in a organisation. This really is done by learning and analyzing every individual on the abilities, figure, temperament and talent, in terms of answering a certain opening inside the business. Everyone has diverse skills to provide and also the hard element for a business is determining the ones that fit in with the prevailing firm culture - powerful HR procedures will have the ability to recognize they and employ them appropriately.Talent within an employee can entail all kinds of elements, from their instructional requirements and skills, preceding encounter, recognized advantages and extra training they have undertaken, with their talents, potential and purpose, qualities and personality. Most firms practise TM indirectly, this could be something to their location within the education firm and improvement programs, from your recruiting and variety of folks, to various techniques and performance management that reward high-fliers and achievers. How required a company is in talent management generally depends on how big the business as well as their motivation to personnel as well as their future.Succession planning is just a simple substance of a company tactic, empowering your organisation the ability to acknowledge likely high artists so you can plan for the near future regarding staff adjustments. It is important official recruiting techniques are in area, whether you are recruiting from the active staff or trying to find refreshing talent, also there must be a definite career path for workers who want to advancement, this should incorporate appropriate classes or ongoing coaching to prepare them due to their new function. Sequence planning instruments might be caused to assist you discover and acquire current and future talent inside the organization, elevate employee dedication and preservation through distinct job routes, and simplicity fees associated with determining successors.A powerful solution can display the accomplishments of specific users of staff and whether they're accomplishing well inside their present responsibilities. It may also help in identifying those who must be compensated, anyone who may require a for whatever reason and those who might handle, even reap the benefits of, added responsibilities. Advancement and staff teaching needs, campaigns and demotions are typical part of the process as well as all elements.Talent Administration won't become successful if a system is not in position clearly identifying performance benefits should be covered by a successful performance management answer. If a employee is regarded as regular then they should be honored to reveal this, as the high achievers inside the business must acquire larger advantages otherwise they'll become demotivated.Outsourcing your employment process will save your organization income and increase the candidate choosing procedure, in addition to slicing fees, and provides you that advantage over others available in the market.
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{{Living_conditions_and_volunteer_lifestyles_by_country}}
 +
 
 +
 
 +
===Communications===
 +
 
 +
===Mail===
 +
 
 +
Few countries in the world offer the level of mail service considered normal in the United States. If you expect U.S.  standards of mail service, you will be in for some frustration.  Mail takes a minimum of two to three weeks to arrive in Madagascar. Some mail may simply not arrive (fortunately this is not a frequent occurrence, but it does happen). Advise your family and friends to number their letters and to include “Airmail” and “Par Avion” on their envelopes. Packages take six to nine weeks by airmail and about six months by surface mail. If someone is sending you a package, it is a good idea to keep it small and to use a padded envelope; that way it will be treated as a letter.
 +
 
 +
Despite these delays, we encourage you to write to your family regularly and to number your letters. Family and friends typically become worried when they do not hear from you, so it is a good idea to advise them that mail service is sporadic and that they should not worry if they do not receive your letters regularly.xxxxxxxxx
 +
 
 +
Volunteers in Madagascar may receive packages but are responsible for all duty fees, which may be imposed on food and cosmetics and are based on the items’ value. Also be aware that packages containing valuable items may occasionally get lost or held up.
 +
 
 +
Your address during training will be:
 +
 
 +
"Your Name", PCT Peace Corps
 +
 
 +
Corps de la Paix
 +
 
 +
B.P. 12091
 +
 
 +
Poste Zoom Ankorondrano
 +
 
 +
101 Antananarivo
 +
 
 +
Madagascar
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Once you have become a Volunteer, you will receive your mail directly at your assigned site.
 +
 
 +
===Telephones===
 +
 
 +
You will not likely have routine access to a telephone during training, although it is possible to buy a cellphone and phone credit in Mantasoa or the nearby market in Manjakandriana, a regional town, if you make a field trip there as a stage. If you have an unlocked GSM phone, it is possible to buy a Sim card and credit almost everywhere. The training site, Mantasoa, has telephones for emergency use.
 +
 
 +
You can buy phone credit everywhere, and it is possible to call the United States, although credit is expensive. If you are living in a rural site, you may not have good cell service.
 +
 
 +
===Computer, Internet, and E-mail Access===
 +
 
 +
Few Volunteer homes have electricity, so bringing a personal computer to Madagascar is not recommended. Computers are available for use by Volunteers at the Peace Corps office.  Although some of the major cities have Internet cafes, it is best to assume that, at best, you will have only limited access to the Internet and e-mail.
 +
 
 +
The staff at your post in Madagascar would like to request that you set up a unique email address to use during your Peace Corps service. You can leave this address with all friends and family before you leave. And having the email address that we request will greatly facilitate communication with you once you are at your site.
 +
 
 +
Please set up an email account at yahoo.com that looks like this: pcvfirstnamelastinitialmg@yahoo.com. So, for example, if your name in Samson Thomas, your e-mail address would be: pcvsamsontmg@yahoo.com. We appreciate your assistance in helping us communicate with you!
 +
 
 +
===Housing and Site Location===
 +
 
 +
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 hjhjhjhjhjhjhjfor 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.
 +
 
 +
===Living Allowance and Money Management===
 +
 
 +
As a Volunteer, you will receive a modest living allowance that will allow you to live on a par with your colleagues and co-workers. The amount of the allowance is based on regular surveys of Volunteers and the cost of living in Madagascar. The living allowance is usually deposited quarterly, in local currency, in Volunteers’ bank accounts, so an ability to manage funds wisely is important. The allowance is currently equivalent to approximately $128 per month. In addition, you receive a monthly travel allowance.
 +
 
 +
You will also receive a leave allowance of $24 per month, which is standard across all Peace Corps countries and paid in local currency along with your living allowance.
 +
 
 +
Volunteers suggest you bring cash and credit cards for vacation travel. The amount depends on the amount of traveling you plan to do while serving in Madagascar. Some local banks offer ATM cards, but only for local accounts. Only a few Malagasy establishments accept credit cards, so they are mostly useful for travel to other countries.
 +
 
 +
The local currency is the Malagasy ariary (MGA). The current exchange rate is approximately 2,150 ariary to the dollar.
 +
 
 +
===Food and Diet===
 +
 
 +
The staple food in Madagascar is rice, which is eaten with vegetables, beans, or meat. Many fruits and vegetables grow in Madagascar, and with a little creativity one can enjoy a varied diet. Most Volunteers prepare their own food. Some, after becoming more familiar with their site, hire someone to help with household work, including cooking. Meat and dairy products are available in the larger towns, but they can be expensive.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
If you are a vegetarian, you will be able to eat well in Madagascar after you learn about local foods and their preparation. Some Malagasy are not familiar with vegetarianism and will not be prepared to serve a vegetarian meal if you are a guest in their home. However, a sensitive explanation of your preferences will be accepted. Most vegetarian Volunteers have no difficulty after an initial adjustment period.
 +
 
 +
===Transportation===
 +
 
 +
Volunteers’ primary mode of transport is public buses and taxi brousses (small vans usually loaded with people and goods). Buses and minibuses travel among towns on irregular schedules (i.e., when full), so travel in Madagascar is never a timed affair.
 +
 
 +
Many Volunteers use mountain bikes. If you plan to ride a bicycle, wearing a helmet is required, and we ask that you bring one with you from the United States. If you do not have one when you come, Peace Corps will provide you a helmet, but it will likely be one that was used by former Volunteers. The Peace Corps issues men’s bikes to Volunteers, which can be difficult for a woman in a skirt to ride. Many female Volunteers wear shorts under their skirts to solve this problem. Volunteers are not allowed to drive or operate motor vehicles or motorcycles (two- or three-wheeled) in Madagascar.
 +
 
 +
===Geography and Climate===
 +
 
 +
Madagascar is south of the equator, so its seasons will be the opposite of what you are accustomed to. At the winter solstice, for example, when the sun is directly over the Tropic of Capricorn, the weather is warm. Conversely, at the time of the summer solstice in June, the weather is cool.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Madagascar has a tropical climate with rainy and dry seasons.  During the rainy season (November to March), southwest tradewinds drop their moisture on the eastern mountain slopes and blow hot and dry in the west. North and northwest monsoon air currents bring heavy rains in summer, decreasing as one moves southward, so that, for example, the rainfall in Fort Dauphin is half that in Tamatave. During February and March, eastern Madagascar can be hit by cyclones, which may impact other areas, particularly in the north. The dry season runs from April to October.
 +
 
 +
Seasonal changes in temperature in Madagascar are also influenced by altitude and latitude. From December to April, the coastal regions are very hot and dry in the west but very hot and wet in the east. Average midday temperatures in the dry season are 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30°C) on the coast.
 +
 
 +
From December to April (summer), the central plateau is warm, with periods of rain. In June, July, and August (winter), the central plateau gets very chilly, while the west coast is warm and dry and the east coast is warm with occasional showers.
 +
 
 +
===Social Activities===
 +
 
 +
There are several radio stations in Madagascar, some of which play popular music. Many Volunteers bring shortwave radios so they can listen to international broadcasts (BBC, Voice of America, Radio Nederlands, etc.). Madagascar has no cinemas.
 +
 
 +
The most common form of entertainment is socializing with friends and neighbors. Music is very important to the Malagasy, and singing together can be a lot of fun. While Volunteers are encouraged to remain at their sites to develop relationships with people in their community, the Peace Corps recognizes that occasional trips to the capital or to visit friends are also a necessity. Vacation time is allotted for non-work-related and approved absences from one’s site.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
===Professionalism, Dress, and Behavior===
 +
 
 +
One of the challenges all Peace Corps Volunteers have is attempting to fit into the local culture and act like a professional while at the same time maintaining one’s own cultural identity. It is not an easy thing to resolve, and we can only provide you with guidelines. You will be working as a representative of a government ministry and will be expected to dress and behave accordingly, whether you are in training, traveling, or on the job. While some of your counterparts may dress in seemingly worn or shabby clothes, this is undoubtedly due to economics rather than choice. The likelihood is that they are wearing their best. A foreigner who wears ragged, unmended clothing, however, is likely to be considered an affront.
 +
 
 +
Malagasy regard one’s dress as an expression of one’s respect for others. Neatness of appearance is valued more than being stylish. Unfortunately, just one inappropriately dressed Volunteer could cause a Malagasy host agency to form a negative opinion about the Peace Corps and share it with other officials at national and regional meetings. Volunteers are therefore expected to dress appropriately to avoid jeopardizing the credibility of the entire program.
 +
 
 +
Following are Peace Corps/Madagascar’s guidelines for Volunteers’ dress. (They have been formalized in response to advice from people in Madagascar and other countries where the Peace Corps works and are meant to inform, not to offend.)
 +
 
 +
* Women’s dresses and skirts should fall to or below the knees.
 +
* Men and women should wear shorts only at home, when exercising, or when doing work for which Malagasy counterparts are also wearing shorts. If shorts are worn in public, they should be of walking length for both men and women.
 +
* Hair should be clean and combed. Men’s hair should not be longer than shirt-collar length, and beards should be neatly trimmed.
 +
* Men should not wear a hat indoors.
 +
* Flip-flops should not be worn as professional footwear.
 +
* Female Volunteers should wear appropriate undergarments, including bras and slips.
 +
* Excessive body piercing or tattoos should not be visible.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
===Personal Safety===
 +
 
 +
More detailed information about the Peace Corps’ approach to safety is contained in the Health Care and Safety chapter, but it is an important issue and cannot be overemphasized. As stated in the Volunteer Handbook, becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer entails certain safety risks. Living and traveling in an unfamiliar environment (oftentimes alone), having a limited understanding of local language and culture, and being perceived as well-off are some of the factors that can put a Volunteer at risk. Many Volunteers experience varying degrees of unwanted attention and harassment. Petty thefts and burglaries are not uncommon, and incidents of physical and sexual assault do occur, although most Madagascar Volunteers complete their two years of service without personal security incidents. The Peace Corps has established procedures and policies designed to help you reduce your risks and enhance your safety and security. These procedures and policies, in addition to safety training, will be provided once you arrive in Madagascar. At the same time, you are expected to take responsibility for your safety and well-being.
 +
 
 +
===Rewards and Frustrations===
 +
 
 +
Although the potential for job satisfaction is very high, like all Volunteers, you will encounter numerous frustrations.  
 +
 
 +
Perceptions of time are very different from those in America.  The lack of basic infrastructure can become tiring. Host agencies do not always provide expected support in a timely manner. The Malagasy generally perceive Americans as very rich. Adapting to a new culture as a Peace Corps Volunteer is often described as an intense series of emotional peaks and valleys.
 +
 
 +
As a Volunteer, you will be given a great deal of responsibility and independence in your work—perhaps more than in any other job you will ever have. Often you will need to motivate yourself and others with little guidance. You might work for months with little visible impact and without receiving feedback on your work. Development is a slow process. You must possess the self-confidence, patience, and vision to continue working toward long-term goals without seeing immediate results.
 +
 
 +
The AIDS pandemic strikes across all social strata in many Peace Corps countries. The loss of teachers has crippled education systems, while illness and disability drains family income and forces governments and donors to redirect limited resources from other priorities. The fear and uncertainty AIDS causes has led to increased domestic violence and stigmatizing of people living with HIV/AIDS, isolating them from friends and family and cutting them off from economic opportunities.
 +
 
 +
As a Peace Corps Volunteer, you will confront these issues on a very personal level. It is important to be aware of the high emotional toll that disease, death, and violence can have on Volunteers. As you strive to integrate into your community, you will develop relationships with local people who might die during your service. Because of the AIDS pandemic, some Volunteers will be regularly meeting with HIV positive people and working with training staff, office staff and host family members living with AIDS. Volunteers need to prepare themselves to embrace these relationships in a sensitive and positive manner. Likewise, malaria and malnutrition, motor vehicle accidents and other unintentional injuries, domestic violence and corporal punishment are problems a Volunteer may confront. You will need to anticipate these situations and utilize supportive resources available throughout your training and service to maintain your own emotional strength, so that you can continue to be of service to your community.
 +
 
 +
To overcome these difficulties, you will need maturity, flexibility, open-mindedness, and resourcefulness. Judging by the experience of former Volunteers, the peaks are well worth the difficult times, and most Volunteers leave Madagascar feeling they have gained much more than they sacrificed during their service. If you are able to make the commitment to integrate into your community and work hard, your service could be a truly life-altering experience.
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 +
[[Category:Madagascar]]

Revision as of 14:53, 1 September 2015



Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in [[{{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Madagascar| |6}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Madagascar| |7}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Madagascar| |8}}]]
As a Peace Corps Volunteers, you will have to adapt to conditions that may be dramatically different than you have ever experienced and modify lifestyle practices that you now take for granted. Even the most basic practices— talking, eating, using the bathroom, and sleeping — may take significantly different forms in the context of the host country. If you successfully adapt and integrate, you will in return be rewarded with a deep understanding of a new culture, the establishment of new and potentially lifelong relationships, and a profound sense of humanity.
  • [[Packing list for {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Madagascar| |6}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Madagascar| |7}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Madagascar| |8}}]]
  • [[Training in {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Madagascar| |6}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Madagascar| |7}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Madagascar| |8}}]]
  • [[Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Madagascar| |6}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Madagascar| |7}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Madagascar| |8}}]]
  • [[Health care and safety in {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Madagascar| |6}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Madagascar| |7}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Madagascar| |8}}]]
  • [[Diversity and cross-cultural issues in {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Madagascar| |6}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Madagascar| |7}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Madagascar| |8}}]]
  • [[FAQs about Peace Corps in {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Madagascar| |6}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Madagascar| |7}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Madagascar| |8}}]]
  • [[History of the Peace Corps in {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Madagascar| |6}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Madagascar| |7}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Madagascar| |8}}]]
See also:

Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyles by Country Pre-Departure Checklist
Staging Timeline

For information see Welcomebooks

[[Image:Flag_of_{{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Madagascar| |6}}{{#if:{{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Madagascar| |7}}|_{{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Madagascar| |7}}|}}{{#if:{{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Madagascar| |8}}|_{{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Madagascar| |8}}|}}.svg|100px|none]]
[[Category:{{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Madagascar| |6}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Madagascar| |7}} {{#explode:Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in Madagascar| |8}}]]


Communications

Mail

Few countries in the world offer the level of mail service considered normal in the United States. If you expect U.S. standards of mail service, you will be in for some frustration. Mail takes a minimum of two to three weeks to arrive in Madagascar. Some mail may simply not arrive (fortunately this is not a frequent occurrence, but it does happen). Advise your family and friends to number their letters and to include “Airmail” and “Par Avion” on their envelopes. Packages take six to nine weeks by airmail and about six months by surface mail. If someone is sending you a package, it is a good idea to keep it small and to use a padded envelope; that way it will be treated as a letter.

Despite these delays, we encourage you to write to your family regularly and to number your letters. Family and friends typically become worried when they do not hear from you, so it is a good idea to advise them that mail service is sporadic and that they should not worry if they do not receive your letters regularly.xxxxxxxxx

Volunteers in Madagascar may receive packages but are responsible for all duty fees, which may be imposed on food and cosmetics and are based on the items’ value. Also be aware that packages containing valuable items may occasionally get lost or held up.

Your address during training will be:

"Your Name", PCT Peace Corps

Corps de la Paix

B.P. 12091

Poste Zoom Ankorondrano

101 Antananarivo

Madagascar


Once you have become a Volunteer, you will receive your mail directly at your assigned site.

Telephones

You will not likely have routine access to a telephone during training, although it is possible to buy a cellphone and phone credit in Mantasoa or the nearby market in Manjakandriana, a regional town, if you make a field trip there as a stage. If you have an unlocked GSM phone, it is possible to buy a Sim card and credit almost everywhere. The training site, Mantasoa, has telephones for emergency use.

You can buy phone credit everywhere, and it is possible to call the United States, although credit is expensive. If you are living in a rural site, you may not have good cell service.

Computer, Internet, and E-mail Access

Few Volunteer homes have electricity, so bringing a personal computer to Madagascar is not recommended. Computers are available for use by Volunteers at the Peace Corps office. Although some of the major cities have Internet cafes, it is best to assume that, at best, you will have only limited access to the Internet and e-mail.

The staff at your post in Madagascar would like to request that you set up a unique email address to use during your Peace Corps service. You can leave this address with all friends and family before you leave. And having the email address that we request will greatly facilitate communication with you once you are at your site.

Please set up an email account at yahoo.com that looks like this: pcvfirstnamelastinitialmg@yahoo.com. So, for example, if your name in Samson Thomas, your e-mail address would be: pcvsamsontmg@yahoo.com. We appreciate your assistance in helping us communicate with you!

Housing and Site Location

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 hjhjhjhjhjhjhjfor 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.

Living Allowance and Money Management

As a Volunteer, you will receive a modest living allowance that will allow you to live on a par with your colleagues and co-workers. The amount of the allowance is based on regular surveys of Volunteers and the cost of living in Madagascar. The living allowance is usually deposited quarterly, in local currency, in Volunteers’ bank accounts, so an ability to manage funds wisely is important. The allowance is currently equivalent to approximately $128 per month. In addition, you receive a monthly travel allowance.

You will also receive a leave allowance of $24 per month, which is standard across all Peace Corps countries and paid in local currency along with your living allowance.

Volunteers suggest you bring cash and credit cards for vacation travel. The amount depends on the amount of traveling you plan to do while serving in Madagascar. Some local banks offer ATM cards, but only for local accounts. Only a few Malagasy establishments accept credit cards, so they are mostly useful for travel to other countries.

The local currency is the Malagasy ariary (MGA). The current exchange rate is approximately 2,150 ariary to the dollar.

Food and Diet

The staple food in Madagascar is rice, which is eaten with vegetables, beans, or meat. Many fruits and vegetables grow in Madagascar, and with a little creativity one can enjoy a varied diet. Most Volunteers prepare their own food. Some, after becoming more familiar with their site, hire someone to help with household work, including cooking. Meat and dairy products are available in the larger towns, but they can be expensive.


If you are a vegetarian, you will be able to eat well in Madagascar after you learn about local foods and their preparation. Some Malagasy are not familiar with vegetarianism and will not be prepared to serve a vegetarian meal if you are a guest in their home. However, a sensitive explanation of your preferences will be accepted. Most vegetarian Volunteers have no difficulty after an initial adjustment period.

Transportation

Volunteers’ primary mode of transport is public buses and taxi brousses (small vans usually loaded with people and goods). Buses and minibuses travel among towns on irregular schedules (i.e., when full), so travel in Madagascar is never a timed affair.

Many Volunteers use mountain bikes. If you plan to ride a bicycle, wearing a helmet is required, and we ask that you bring one with you from the United States. If you do not have one when you come, Peace Corps will provide you a helmet, but it will likely be one that was used by former Volunteers. The Peace Corps issues men’s bikes to Volunteers, which can be difficult for a woman in a skirt to ride. Many female Volunteers wear shorts under their skirts to solve this problem. Volunteers are not allowed to drive or operate motor vehicles or motorcycles (two- or three-wheeled) in Madagascar.

Geography and Climate

Madagascar is south of the equator, so its seasons will be the opposite of what you are accustomed to. At the winter solstice, for example, when the sun is directly over the Tropic of Capricorn, the weather is warm. Conversely, at the time of the summer solstice in June, the weather is cool.


Madagascar has a tropical climate with rainy and dry seasons. During the rainy season (November to March), southwest tradewinds drop their moisture on the eastern mountain slopes and blow hot and dry in the west. North and northwest monsoon air currents bring heavy rains in summer, decreasing as one moves southward, so that, for example, the rainfall in Fort Dauphin is half that in Tamatave. During February and March, eastern Madagascar can be hit by cyclones, which may impact other areas, particularly in the north. The dry season runs from April to October.

Seasonal changes in temperature in Madagascar are also influenced by altitude and latitude. From December to April, the coastal regions are very hot and dry in the west but very hot and wet in the east. Average midday temperatures in the dry season are 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30°C) on the coast.

From December to April (summer), the central plateau is warm, with periods of rain. In June, July, and August (winter), the central plateau gets very chilly, while the west coast is warm and dry and the east coast is warm with occasional showers.

Social Activities

There are several radio stations in Madagascar, some of which play popular music. Many Volunteers bring shortwave radios so they can listen to international broadcasts (BBC, Voice of America, Radio Nederlands, etc.). Madagascar has no cinemas.

The most common form of entertainment is socializing with friends and neighbors. Music is very important to the Malagasy, and singing together can be a lot of fun. While Volunteers are encouraged to remain at their sites to develop relationships with people in their community, the Peace Corps recognizes that occasional trips to the capital or to visit friends are also a necessity. Vacation time is allotted for non-work-related and approved absences from one’s site.


Professionalism, Dress, and Behavior

One of the challenges all Peace Corps Volunteers have is attempting to fit into the local culture and act like a professional while at the same time maintaining one’s own cultural identity. It is not an easy thing to resolve, and we can only provide you with guidelines. You will be working as a representative of a government ministry and will be expected to dress and behave accordingly, whether you are in training, traveling, or on the job. While some of your counterparts may dress in seemingly worn or shabby clothes, this is undoubtedly due to economics rather than choice. The likelihood is that they are wearing their best. A foreigner who wears ragged, unmended clothing, however, is likely to be considered an affront.

Malagasy regard one’s dress as an expression of one’s respect for others. Neatness of appearance is valued more than being stylish. Unfortunately, just one inappropriately dressed Volunteer could cause a Malagasy host agency to form a negative opinion about the Peace Corps and share it with other officials at national and regional meetings. Volunteers are therefore expected to dress appropriately to avoid jeopardizing the credibility of the entire program.

Following are Peace Corps/Madagascar’s guidelines for Volunteers’ dress. (They have been formalized in response to advice from people in Madagascar and other countries where the Peace Corps works and are meant to inform, not to offend.)

  • Women’s dresses and skirts should fall to or below the knees.
  • Men and women should wear shorts only at home, when exercising, or when doing work for which Malagasy counterparts are also wearing shorts. If shorts are worn in public, they should be of walking length for both men and women.
  • Hair should be clean and combed. Men’s hair should not be longer than shirt-collar length, and beards should be neatly trimmed.
  • Men should not wear a hat indoors.
  • Flip-flops should not be worn as professional footwear.
  • Female Volunteers should wear appropriate undergarments, including bras and slips.
  • Excessive body piercing or tattoos should not be visible.


Personal Safety

More detailed information about the Peace Corps’ approach to safety is contained in the Health Care and Safety chapter, but it is an important issue and cannot be overemphasized. As stated in the Volunteer Handbook, becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer entails certain safety risks. Living and traveling in an unfamiliar environment (oftentimes alone), having a limited understanding of local language and culture, and being perceived as well-off are some of the factors that can put a Volunteer at risk. Many Volunteers experience varying degrees of unwanted attention and harassment. Petty thefts and burglaries are not uncommon, and incidents of physical and sexual assault do occur, although most Madagascar Volunteers complete their two years of service without personal security incidents. The Peace Corps has established procedures and policies designed to help you reduce your risks and enhance your safety and security. These procedures and policies, in addition to safety training, will be provided once you arrive in Madagascar. At the same time, you are expected to take responsibility for your safety and well-being.

Rewards and Frustrations

Although the potential for job satisfaction is very high, like all Volunteers, you will encounter numerous frustrations.

Perceptions of time are very different from those in America. The lack of basic infrastructure can become tiring. Host agencies do not always provide expected support in a timely manner. The Malagasy generally perceive Americans as very rich. Adapting to a new culture as a Peace Corps Volunteer is often described as an intense series of emotional peaks and valleys.

As a Volunteer, you will be given a great deal of responsibility and independence in your work—perhaps more than in any other job you will ever have. Often you will need to motivate yourself and others with little guidance. You might work for months with little visible impact and without receiving feedback on your work. Development is a slow process. You must possess the self-confidence, patience, and vision to continue working toward long-term goals without seeing immediate results.

The AIDS pandemic strikes across all social strata in many Peace Corps countries. The loss of teachers has crippled education systems, while illness and disability drains family income and forces governments and donors to redirect limited resources from other priorities. The fear and uncertainty AIDS causes has led to increased domestic violence and stigmatizing of people living with HIV/AIDS, isolating them from friends and family and cutting them off from economic opportunities.

As a Peace Corps Volunteer, you will confront these issues on a very personal level. It is important to be aware of the high emotional toll that disease, death, and violence can have on Volunteers. As you strive to integrate into your community, you will develop relationships with local people who might die during your service. Because of the AIDS pandemic, some Volunteers will be regularly meeting with HIV positive people and working with training staff, office staff and host family members living with AIDS. Volunteers need to prepare themselves to embrace these relationships in a sensitive and positive manner. Likewise, malaria and malnutrition, motor vehicle accidents and other unintentional injuries, domestic violence and corporal punishment are problems a Volunteer may confront. You will need to anticipate these situations and utilize supportive resources available throughout your training and service to maintain your own emotional strength, so that you can continue to be of service to your community.

To overcome these difficulties, you will need maturity, flexibility, open-mindedness, and resourcefulness. Judging by the experience of former Volunteers, the peaks are well worth the difficult times, and most Volunteers leave Madagascar feeling they have gained much more than they sacrificed during their service. If you are able to make the commitment to integrate into your community and work hard, your service could be a truly life-altering experience.