Volunteer in Malawi
Call today about spaces Autumn/Winter and Summer 2013
At this rural youth project you can be one of few volunteers to get a real glimpse of life in this developing country helping at this rural youth and community project. After securing your place with £125, help at this project and in return receive free volunteer accommodation and volunteer support during your stay.
Here you will have the opportunity to get involved with this friendly youth and community group with a variety of very different tasks which may include one or more of the following: organising activities, assisting with a feeding programme for local orphanages, providing one to one mentoring, support with training, assisting teachers and mentors with group sessions, perhaps teaching your own classes, visiting village orphanages, teaching English, basic writing and maths, arts and craft, sport, health education and general maintenance.
Based near Zomba and only approximately 3 hours from the airport, at Blantyre (transfers from Lilongwe also available but transfer times longer) free accommodation is provided and English is spoken by most of the staff.
Specific duties are allocated after arrival to each volunteer based on the volunteers interests and local need. An open mind and the willingness to get stuck in is essential for success for this project as living conditions can be quite 'rustic' living alongside poorer families and organisation minimal as the volunteer programme develops.
Interested but not sure? For the less confident or less travelled try a volunteer placement at an established African project first ideal for first timers such as Morocco, Ghana or the live-on-site Uganda school project where volunteers, children and support staff are all in one place!
Malawi placement map
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Book now on 01603 627 007 and contact people travelling to the same project!
Images from Malawi
Book your placement with £125. Pay one-off donation payment of £100, then stay for free in an amazing country in Africa.
We have been sent some of the most lovely photos from volunteers at play and at work, they are truly inspirational.
Photo Album by Alicia Flewitt
Photo Album by Emma Hynd
Photo Album by Natalie Tempel Merzougui
Photo Album by Thomas Ruelle
If you would like to book over the phone or simply ask more questions please call us on 01603 627 007
See related video ‘How to book’
If you know where and when you want to go, then you can book online.
You can also change your date of arrival or country at any time.
Trip info for Malawi
Book your placement with £125. Pay one-off donation payment of £100.
Change lives and volunteer in Malawi2012 - 2013
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Volunteer in Malawi
At this time the project is still growing on a weekly basis and so your role as the volunteer may change. Currently most volunteers are teaching local children in our schools basic English and maths. We also have some volunteers that are working on building our schools and renovating the volunteer house. In the future we hope to have more projects and a wider range of duties available to our volunteers, but now these two duties are the ones that require the most physical need. Our volunteer teachers work along side our local volunteer teachers. Together they teach the children through various games, songs, dances, art work, and work on the blackboard. The working hours are Monday-Thursday 8:00am-10:30am and then again from 2:00pm-4:30pm. We ask that you try your best to always be on time and ready to work. If you need help with teaching activities and games please talk with the project coordinator or seek advice from other volunteers. The teaching is laid back, mostly we just want you to have fun with the children and speak English to them in any form of teaching activities you can create. Our volunteer builders are working in the community to help locals build our school houses. The work is dirty and in the rainy season can be quite muddy! We are also working on the volunteer house and some home stays to build a suitable toilet and kitchen facilities. The weekly and daily schedule for the volunteer builders is not set, as most work can be completed during anytime of the day. Although we would recommend getting an early start on the projects because during the early afternoon the Malawian sunshine can be very hot. If you’re building we ask that you work hard and manage your time efficiently. If you have special skills please be open and willing to teach the locals.
Other volunteer opportunities
Tikondwe would like to develop activities such as sports and music programs for the local communities. If you are interested in starting a program we would love to hear your ideas and are happy to help you in your efforts.
The local teenagers enjoy playing netball and football. If you have experience in playing or coaching any sporting activities and would like to get locals involved we welcome you to do so.
As you know Africans love to sing and dance, and this is true of Malawians as well. If you are interesting in teaching music to our local communities please let us know. If you have special talents we would love for you to teach them.
Don’t be shy about introducing yourself to the local volunteers and local families in the villages. As we say many times, the Malawian people are very warm and love to talk with you. For them and the children it is commonplace for new people to arrive, and you will soon see how quickly everyone accepts your presence. Please keep in mind that the local field officers and teachers are also volunteers. They are working for free with us because they have the same belief that youth education is the key to a successful future.You will soon realise, if you weren’t already aware, that Malawi is a laid back country. Things that are scheduled to happen at a particular time may be delayed, or you may find out that plans have been altered at the last minute. The best thing that you can do is try to go with the flow. Use your initiative and skills to help everything run as smoothly as possible.
School Feeding programs. The children in the community are very poor and sometimes their families cannot afford to eat during the day. For this reason we found it important to offer a feeding program in our schools, to make sure the children are at least receiving one meal a day. By providing a meal during school time it will promote education, because the children will want to attend school to have their meal. Due to lack of funding we have in most cases had to cancel our feeding programs in our schools. We hope in the near future we will be able to offer the program again. The cost for one school (approx. 30-40 children) is about £10 per week. If you would like to sponsor our feeding program please let us know, we would be more than happy to discuss the program with you.
Local orphan families. At this time we do not have an orphanage building; our local orphans live with other families in the community. We do have plans for the future to construct an orphanage. During your stay with us you will have the opportunity to visit these local families who are taking care of the orphans. This visit usually takes place once a week on a Monday afternoon. You are welcome to play with the children and visit with the adults in their homes. We ask that upon your visit if possible to make a small donation, such as food, money or clothing to help the orphans and the family. You may want to donate toys, however for the children their need is greater than a toy, so please keep that in mind during your visits. Even a small donation of £1 can feed an orphan for almost 2 days
Useful Items to Take
Ok so now you are all excited about your trip to the project in Malawi, but at a loss as what you should prepare. We have devised three lists of items below that will help you when you are packing. The first list is for you, items that will personally be needed for your stay. The second list is of items that the local orphan families are in need of. The third list is for the children and the school supplies that we currently need. In addition to these three lists the project is also in need of monetary donations to help fund the feeding program, renovations of the volunteer house, toilets and kitchen. Also we need funds for the renovations of the current school houses, such as cement floors and benches for the children to sit on, and a new construction of a three school buildings. If you would like to fundraise in your community and need any more specific information about the project we will be more than happy to help you. All supplies volunteers donate for the project should be shown to the project coordinator upon arrival and will be kept in the supply safe and distributed to schools and teachers when requested. This will help maintain an even supply for all schools and teachers.
Things for yourself : This list has been created by interviewing past and present volunteers as to what items they have found useful and what items they didn’t have but wished they would have brought with them. Please note they are in random order and none are 100% required for your stay, however the items with a (*) should seriously be considered for your comfort.
1. Solar charger, Power monkey (please not that the volunteer house and home stays do not have electricity)*
2. Tall candles and matches or lighters (very useful at night)*
4. Mosquito net to cover a twin sized bed*
5. Bedding, such as sheets a pillow and pillow case*
6. Mosquito repellent spray (50% DEET is BEST) *
7. Appropriate footwear for walking on dirt roads, such as trainers or hiking boots*
8. Footwear for showering, such as flip flops*
9. Travel first-aid kit with sterile needles *
(this is recommended in case of emergency. The local hospital is hours away from where you will be staying) kits can be purchased from Superdrug
10. Light weight and light color clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty*
11. Sun cream*
12. Small lock for suitcase*
13. Towels for showering*
14. Hat, sunglasses, umbrella, raincoat
15. Cleaning wipes, baby wipes. Unscented because of the mosquitoes
17. Multi vitamins
18. Dry shampoo
19. Rehydration packages
20. Food from home to keep you happy for a few days
Would like to bring to your attention on 8th November 2011 at 5am (GMT) the government of Malawi through Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) raised the fuel price with 34.4%, this meant that prices of every commodity here in Malawi will increase and this includes transport. Please note all transport costs are ‘pay as you go’ after arrival. These can only be approximate.
From Blantyre Avirport: Taxi direct to the project- APPROX £90
Public transport option:
1 -Taxi from the airport to bus station.
2 -bus/minibus from bus station to Zomba
3 -taxi from Zomba to Domasi Totaling approx. £50
From Lilongwe Airport: Taxi direct to the project- APPROX £160
Public transport option:
1- Taxi from airport to bus station
2- bus/minibus from the station to Zomba
3- Taxi from Zomba to DomasiTotal approx.- £70• The volunteer should confirm the mode of transport (taxi or public) with the project leader prior to arrival so the arrangements can be made in advance. Please note: In most cases the arrival time is late to the project (Domasi), in these cases the volunteer will be taken to a nearby lodge which costs approx £10 a night. This fee is payable by the volunteer upon arrival. Mobile Phone (Essential)To make the journey as smooth and as stress free as possible a mobile phone is essential. Upon arrival please ask your taxi driver to take you to buy a Malawi SIM if you so wish. The cost is less than £1.(Your phone will need to be unlocked for the SIM to work)
Using the Internet
There is no Internet at the project. The closest Internet cafe is located in Zomba, about one hour from the project. As of October 2011 the price was 8 Kwacha per minute. You can also purchase Internet for your mobile if you have a Malawi SIM.
Safety in Malawi
Overall we believe that Malawi is a safe place, however as a foreigner you need to be aware of your surroundings and be on your guard. Take extra care when going to largely crowed areas as this is where thieves will be on the look out for your personal items. We understand that you may be travelling with large amounts of money and also your passport, so we recommend to keep them as close to you as possible and never leave your bags unattended or in the care of someone you don’t trust!
Taking Taxis: Keep in mind that most taxis are just locals with a car so it is important to keep your bags close. You will have to bargain the price, and it is best to agree before you start your journey.
When using public transport: Minibuses are the main use of public transport and in most cases they are very full and if you are travelling with a large bag/case it will have to be placed in the back of the bus. We recommend that you try to keep your bags with you if possible, but if it must go in the back always check on it when the bus is making a stop to make sure your bag is not removed. It is also best to keep valuables out of sight and make sure your bags are fully closed at all times.
Going out at night: At night it is very dark in the village as most places don’t have electric. Please use common sense when going out at night. Try and inform someone of the location you plan to go to. Have a torch and your mobile if possible. You can also ask a local to walk with you if you are not feeling confident to walk in the dark, in most cases volunteers are escorted during night-time mainly because it is dark and the road is not easy to see.
General health information
Please be aware that the Malawian summer in Domasi (September–April) and November – March is very rainy. Malawi is also known for its Malaria carrying mosquito’s that breed in stagnant water. You can reduce the risk of Malaria by employing certain tactics such as taking Malaria tablets, wearing mosquito repellent spray (50% DEET is recommended) and also wearing long light weight clothing during the night time. We are not doctors so we recommend that for all other health concerns you consult your local doctor!
In the first instance it is best to contact your GP. You may also find it useful to visit your country’s Department of Health website for up-to-date vaccination and travel health information. We would suggest you have all the recommended jabs that are required for your visit to Malawi, but this is completely at your discretion.
Currently we have 3 housing options for volunteers. The volunteer house, home stay, and the guesthouse. The volunteer house is very basic! At this time there is no electric, kitchen or indoor plumbing! We do have an outdoor water tap, toilet and shower (cold water only) facility. It is important that you keep the house tidy and clean at all times as you will be sharing the house with other volunteers (9 beds in total) and also at times, some rodents. Please note that food costs will be discussed upon arrival as they have NOT been included in your volunteer payment fee. The home stay option is in a local families home. In most cases the home stay is living is very basic as, with no electric, kitchen, shower, no indoor plumbing. However with this option you will get a chance to see and experience exactly how the local people live. Please note that food costs will be discussed upon arrival as they have NOT been included in your volunteer payment fee. In most cases your local food contribution should be about 5000 Kwacha a week (£20), which is payable on every Monday during your stay if you chose to eat local food. The local food is very simple and the staple diet is ‘nsima’, which is made from Maize flour and water. The guesthouse is a hostel type of accommodation that is about a 30 minute walk from the volunteer house. This option is not included in the volunteer fees and is payable to the owner of the guesthouse. The guesthouse is chosen by some volunteers because it does have electric, indoor plumbing, toilet, shower and kitchen facilities. The guesthouse is not affiliated with Tikondwe in anyway. If you chose to stay there you are responsible for all fees.
Please let us know your housing options in advance of your arrival so we can make the arrangements. Rules and regulations at the volunteer house and home stay Visitors should be approved in advance, either by the project coordinator or your home stay family. Smoking and alcohol are allowed, however we ask that you use your discretion and please respect the property and the local villagers. Any illegal drugs are not allowed!! Clothing washing, housing care, and cooking:The local family helps with the maintenance of the volunteer house including all clothes washing, house cleaning, and some cooking. Each volunteer is responsible for supplying their own washing powder and other cleaning supplies they wish to be used. Each volunteer is also responsible for providing the required food items for cooking, such as oil and charcoal. Volunteer house should be kept tidy and clean, at all times!
Items for the local orphan families
We ask that you make donations when visiting local orphan families in the community. Think of the things that have been in your house that you don’t use, why not give them to people who need them. Making a monetary donation is greatly appreciated and can really go along way.
2. Pots/sauce pans/frying pans
4. Plastic washing bowls
6. Brushes to clean clothes
7. Hot water flasks
8. Pots with lids that can keep rice warm
9. Tall candles
10. Old cell phone with chargers (Nokia is good, UK plug)11. Clothing/shoes
Items for the children and our schools
At the current time the children’s English levels are very basic. So if you would like to bring teaching materials we would ask that you provide us with elementary supplies.
1. CHALK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And lots of it!
3. Paper of all kinds
4. Small writing exercise books
5. Pencils/pencil sharpeners/pens
6. Seal tape/ sticky tack to hang things on the walls
7. Laminated cards with pictures/words
8. Math/English posters
9. CD players (battery operated only)
10. Children shoes
11. Old ‘hand’ clocks for teaching time
12. Math flash cards
13. Small plates/bowls/cups/spoons (for feeding time during school hours)
14. If you would like to bring games, please make sure they can be used for many children. Bigger is better and durable..
You can exchange money at the airport and at local banks in Malawi. Upon arrival your taxi driver can take you to a local bank to exchange your money if you request in advance. US dollars or UK pounds are very common and easy to exchange. Bank cards can also be used to withdraw money, only in larger cities such as Zomba, Blantyre, and Lilongwe. Please note that some times there may be long lines at the cash point/ATM machines and some may not be working due to electrical outages.
These are some items that are suggested to be purchased before arriving at to Domasi if you haven’t already brought them in with your luggage. Domasi is a small rural village and has very limited food and other supply shops. Zomba is the town closest to the project where you can buy supplies, however it is about a hour journey away by bike taxi and minibus. This list has been created by interviewing past and present volunteers as to what items they have found useful and what items they didn’t have but wished they would have brought with them. Please note they are in random order and none are 100% required for your stay; however we recommend these items for your comfort.
1. At least 4 days worth of food goods
2. A package of bottled water (20 bottles)
3. Large supply of toilet paper
4. Individual juice boxes
5. Tall candles
6. Washing bowl/brush
7. Personal plate/bowl/cup/spoon/knife/fork
8. Tupperware food storage box
9. Tall candles and matches or lighters (a must at nighttime)
11. Mosquito net to cover a twin sized bed
12. Bedding, such as sheets a pillow and pillowcase
13. Mosquito repellent spray (50% DEET is BEST)
14. Sun cream
15. Towels for showering
16. Hat, sunglasses
17. Rehydration packages
When purchasing food items, please be aware that currently the project doesn’t have a kitchen or refrigerator, food should require little cooking. Buying food items that only require hot water or a fire and a pot is a good starting point.
For volunteers from the UK and USA you will be given a 30 day free visa upon arrival at the airport. If you are staying longer than 30 days you must go to the visa office (Zomba is the closest) to extend before your 30 days is expired. The extension process is fairly easy and can be completed in one visit, as of October 2011 the cost for an additional 30 days was 5000 Kwacha. Should you be staying longer than 6 months please contact Joshua in advance of your arrival to discuss obtaining a longer visa. Currently you are ok to volunteer on a tourist visa if you are staying in Malawi less than 6 months. Should you have any questions please feel free to contact Joshua directly to discuss, as we know the visa issues should be taken with serious care and concern.
Book your placement with £125. Pay one-off donation payment of £100, then stay for free in an amazing country in Africa.