Each year Blue Ventures awards scholarships for university students from the Western Indian Ocean region to undertake a residential six-week training course in marine science and conservation research alongside our international expedition volunteers. The programme focuses on learning how to scuba dive, conduct ecological surveys and identify species. It reflects Blue Ventures' committment to investing in people, building local capacity and nurturing marine conservation from the grassroots.
Most environmental courses in Madagascar focus on terrestrial habits, so this programme represents an important contribution to marine conservation training opportunities available in the Western Indian Ocean region. This programme is the first of its kind in Madagascar, designed to give students applied experience conducting dive surveys and assisting with community-based projects. Our scholars have gone on to work for a variety of national and international conservation organisations.
Please contact us for details about how to apply.
Western Indian Ocean scholar profiles
The six weeks that I spent in Velondriake with Blue Ventures were the most fantastic of my life up until now. As a student of Marine Science at the IHSM (Institut Halieutique et des Sciences Marines) in Toliara, it was important for me to get a deeper and more practical understanding of marine flora and fauna. Blue Ventures gave me the opportunity to do this scholarship, teaching me to scuba dive and covering all of my expenses like food, lodging and educational materials. Not only have I learned how to dive, but I have also mastered lots of important information in a short space of time, for example, about benthic species, point intercept transects, taxonomy, ground truthing, seagrass and mangroves. This all interests me enormously because it relates to my university studies. Doing this scholarship alongside international expedition volunteers was very rewarding because they were sociable and helped me with my English. It was interesting to learn about their different way of life such as their cultures, beliefs and hobbies. All of this would not have been possible without the scholarship, for which I'm truly grateful. I would encourage anybody who's interested in diving and marine biodiversity to take part in an expedition with Blue Ventures or apply for this scholarship - I promise that you won't be disappointed!
I recently graduated with an MBA in Social and Sustainable Enterprise from Colorado State University and returned to Madagascar. I'm delighted that I was accepted for this scholarship because, as a Malagasy person, I was able to discover more about my own country and the communities who live in this coastal area. I was touched by the friendliness of the people, while becoming more familiar with conservation and sustainable development issues. It was encouraging to see the environmental education and other initiatives that Blue Ventures has been able to facilitate here. The community-based sea cucumber farming was a particularly memorable experience for me as I could spend some time with the farmers and share their excitement as they were harvesting. My experience with Blue Venture has enhanced my understanding of the complementarity between conservation and socio-economic initiatives.
I'm a master's student at the IHSM (Institut Halieutique et des Sciences Marines) in Toliara, so I'm very interested in the sea and all that concerns it. My experience led me to apply for this scholarship in order to enhance my university course. I had such a rich experience and really enjoyed my time with Blue Ventures. I learned how to dive and improved my English. Now I know many species of fish found in tropical areas and especially in southwest Madagascar. I gained lots of valuable skills for the rest of my studies and made some new friends. During the six weeks that I spent with the international expedition volunteers I completed the diversity of activities outlined in the well-planned programme. The scholarship enhanced my knowledge in many ways so I can only encourage anyone interested in the marine environment to visit Velondriake or apply for this scholarship.
I have a master's degree from the IFE (Institut de la Francophonie pour l’Entrepreneuriat) in Mauritius and now I'm working for a travel agency. I've had the opportunity to travel to few places but I’ve never experienced anything like my 6 weeks in Velondriake. It was G-I-A-N-T->
G like... gorgeous, words will not be enough to express the beauty of the area. From the rising of the sun, till the going down of the same, different colours come and go. It’s such a magic place, perfect to set up some activities in sustainable ecotourism.
I like... inspirational, because nothing was ever achieved during my stay without the enthusiasm of the whole Blue Ventures team led by the expedition manager. It was really instructive and inspirational!
A like... August 23rd, which was the famous octopus day, the opening of the temporary octopus fishery closure. Wow, I can't describe what I felt when I saw the number of people going out to glean octopus in the low tide.
N like... never forget, because it was really amazing for me to see how local children could learn and use English vocabulary, especially since English is the third language for most Malagasy people. BV stands for Blue Ventures but allow me to say BraVo!
T like... teamwork. We were given science training in benthic and fish species identification, and the volunteers and staff were always there to help me remember the names of the species. I also cherished the time to be useful in doing some translation work.
Six weeks go by very quickly when the programme is so interesting and enriching! During my time in Velondriake, my knowledge about coral reefs and fish species really improved, not to mention the excellent scuba diving training. This experience would have been impossible without the scholarship offered by Blue Ventures to Malagasy students, so that they have the chance to improve their marine science knowledge. I would like to encourage anyone who's interested in conservation to consider this unique opportunity, and to participate in the course because it's an amazing and constructive experience.