County News

Gold Project to Madagascar 2023

In August I was lucky enough to take part in a GOLD (Girlguiding overseas linked with development) project to Madagascar. We travelled over there for 3 weeks and spent time in both Antananarivo and Mahajanga. During the 3 weeks we supported Girlguiding in Madagascar (FIM) with their goals of creating a young leadership qualification and an offer for university aged members of FIM.

For the first week, we took a 17-hours bus journey, yes it was as painful as it sounded, to Mahajanga on the coast. Each morning we layered up in suncream and bug spray and visited a local bakery for breakfast. We ran many workshops and focus groups trying to understand what they wanted for both their aims. On the final day in Mahajanga we ran an activity morning for FIM members of all ages. Following this, we helped at a beach cleanup and then swam to lunch at a local restaurant. To finish the day, we had a closing ceremony in a karaoke bar with lots of singing, dancing and laughing. The random power cut halfway through songs meant it was just as chaotic as you would imagine.

After a 13-hour bus journey back to the capital (managed to shave off 4 hours!) we continued to run focus groups and workshops as well as 2 days of leadership training. We fed back on our findings to the international team ready for the following year’s team and on the final day of our trip, we treated ourselves to a trip to a lemur park to see the native animal.

Overall, it was such an amazing experience I was able to be a part of. It helped grow my confidence leading and running activities, developed my understanding of Girlguiding not just in UK but in Madagascar too and I have made friends I hope to have for life. I would highly recommend the GOLD adventure to everyone and anyone! – India