Development Activities


In 2002-2003 our research teams made monthly visits to local schools near our Mahatsinjo and Vatateza camps. We forged relationships with the students and teachers, gave presentations highlighting the region's unique biodiversity, introduced our research project and methods, and offered instruction in English language. In November 2003, we hosted school groups from both regions for visits to our habituated lemur groups. Although the children live in the regions many of them (roughly half) had never seen lemurs up close. We held another school visit in 2007 at Mahatsinjo and hope to make it an annual event.

In 2002, we started our public awareness campaing. We printed 1000 Malagasy brochures highlighting the lemurs of Tsinjoarivo (illustrated by Stephen Nash of Conservation International) and distributed them widely in Tsinjoarivo commune. We also printed and distributed more than 200 lemur t-shirts with the slogan "Miaro ny varika, Tia ny tanindrazana" (Preserve the lemurs, love the land of the ancestors). In 2004, we built and installed five permanent education plaques: one at Tsinjoarivo town center, two at Mahatsinjo and two at Vatateza. The plaques showcase diversity of lemur species at Tsinjoarivo, as well as details of the family history and behavior of the Sadabe (incorporating results from the 2003 research).

Mahatsinjo students
Mahatsinjo School

In 2004-2005 we collaborated with the Madagascar Ankizy Fund to facilitate the donation of a public school for the Mahatsinjo region. Previously, the only school was a private school which was held in the church (often cancelled during the rainy season due to rain damage to the building). Parents were obliged to pay high monthly fees to support the teachers' salaries. The new school, "Sekoly RAH King Mahatsinjo", was built during 2004 and inaugurated in 2005. It is maintained by the Madagascar Ankizy Fund, which pays the salary of four teachers. Inscription is free, and roughly 200 students from Mahatsinjo and nearby regions benefit from this free, high-quality education. The National Ministry of Education and Scientific Research recognized the RAH King school and supplied one principal teacher starting in November 2007. Eventually, this school will become an EPP (Ecole Primaire Publique) and management will be transfered to the Malagasy government.

Laura teaching

Finally, in June-August 2008 SADABE hosted a preschool educator, Laura Danielson, who gave daily instruction in English for Mahatsinjo schoolchildren. Laura provided instruction in spoken and written English, counting, calendars, and arts & crafts. This cultural exchange is valuable for promoting specific English language skills, encouraging a general enthusiasm for learning, and lessening the perceived divide between locals and foreigners.



Medical and dental care is extremely limited in Tsinjoarivo commune, especially the remote regions east of Tsinjoarivo town, where there is not a single doctor or dentist. For example, for people at Mahatsinjo, the nearest doctor is located at Tsinjoarivo town (roughly 15 km away - 4 hours by foot), and the nearest dentist is in Ambatolampy (75 km away). Many people in Tsinjoarivo commune do not receive needed medical and dental care due to this distance, as well as lack of money. Starting in 2007, SADABE has hosted annual Madagascar Ankizy Fund dental missions at Mahatsinjo, held at the RAH King School.

Teams are led by dentist and professor Dr. Laurence Wynn, and include upper-level dental students (from Madagascar and New York). In 2007, during 8 days the team treated more than 200 patients from Mahatsinjo and surrounding regions, including many with badly infected teeth and gums. The team provided extractions of teeth that were too badly decayed to be saved, restorations for teeth with minor decay, endodontic reconstructions (root canals) and education in oral health. In 2008, the team treated even more patients, and an education team provided free toothbrushes, antibiotics, and painkillers and collected data on oral health which will be useful in planning future clinics.

Dr. Wynn
Dental Team 2007