Small-scale livelihood projects are widely used in forest conservation and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD)+ initiatives; however, there is limited information on how effective these projects are at delivering livelihood and conservation benefits. We explored local perceptions of the effectiveness of small-scale livelihood projects in delivering livelihood and conservation benefits in eastern Madagascar. Our results suggest that small-scale livelihood projects vary greatly in their ability to deliver livelihood benefits, and that the type of livelihood project (e.g., agriculture, beekeeping, fish farming, or livestock production) has a significant impact on which livelihood benefits are delivered. Many small-scale livelihood projects, regardless of project type, are perceived to contribute to forest conservation efforts. Our study highlights that small-scale livelihood projects have the potential to contribute to both improved livelihoods and enhanced forest conservation, but also illustrates the need for more information on the factors that lead to project success.