Malawi is a beautiful country bordering Tanzania, Mozambique and Zambia. The people are extremely welcoming and although Malawi is not on the tourist map, the Mulanje Mountains and Lake Malawi attract adventure seekers from around the world.
Slow economic growth means that almost half of the population lives below the poverty line, so education is greatly valued and our volunteers provide an invaluable service.
Teaching in Malawi are either at schools or within institutions that support the community. The official language in Malawi is English, however some students may speak little or no English when starting school. Volunteers teach a range of subjects such as English, maths, history, geography, drama and sport. There is generally a curriculum to follow, from which lesson plans can be developed.
Medical placements are based in rural health centres and volunteers aid the health officer who does almost everything medically for their community.
The role does not require any technical or medical experience and you will volunteer under the supervision of the Health Officer (although if you do have experience, that would certainly be welcomed). Patients who required specific treatment are referred to a district hospital.
Typical activities of a Volunteer Health Worker will include assisting with some of the running of a rural health centre, often looking after a basic pharmacy and providing general administration for patient care, helping to maintain patient records, assisting with activities with babies and toddlers and monthly baby monitoring (weighing) and feeding.
Volunteers are allocated a teachers’ house on the school campus or live with a host family. Most accommodation is quite basic with some furniture and a small amount of cooking equipment. Not all accommodation will have electricity or running water, but it will be of the same standard as the houses lived in by the staff. Volunteers should bear in mind that they are living within poor communities and hosts will not be able to provide food. Typically, food is purchased locally by volunteers and prepared themselves.This usually works out to around an extra $15 – $20 CAD a week, depending on volunteer needs and the placement.
Is it for me?
If you are interested in really contributing to a community, then Malawi is for you. In schools you will help students to improve their English skills as well as taking charge of classes teaching core subjects. The rural health worker placements have a big community focus, and volunteers will always find themselves involved with the local village in some way. In all Malawi placements, you must be independent, self -motivated, proactive, and willing to forgo modern comforts.
Placements are located throughout Malawi, all located in rural areas within a village. As Malawi is a long 'thin' country, it is often separated into 'North', 'Central' and 'South' regions.
Volunteers have the opportunity to travel during the school holidays and at the end of their placement.
Many spend time at Lake Malawi, soaking up the sun or diving, snorkeling, kayaking or sailing in or on its calm waters. Others head off on safari in Liwonde National Park where they can expect to see rhinos, elephants, antelopes, monkeys and possibly big cats.
Malawi also has a rich cultural history to explore, from Stone Age rock paintings to colonial architecture. Wherever you go in Malawi, expect to be awed, from the depths of the dramatic Rift Valley to the peaks of Mount Mulanje.