Volunteer in Malawi
Frequently Asked Questions
Book your placement with £145. Then pay one-off £250 contribution to the project and volunteer with children in this wonderful country.
Malawi Specific Questions
Do I need experience?
No experience is needed, you'll be joining a group of volunteers, mostly who have never done anything like this before in a friendly village community where every volunteer is warmly welcomed. Although it sounds like a cliche just come with a smile and and some energy to get stuck in playing with the children and helping out wherever help or support is needed. Volunteers all live together and volunteer together so you will never be on your own!
If I have experience in a particular area - can I do this?
That's fantastic - let us know before you go and we can inform the coordinator before travel so they are aware.
Do I have to arrive on a particular date?
There are no fixed start dates because we know flight prices can fluctuate wildly between dates. The Malawi team will collect volunteers on any date but Monday to Wednesday is the best time of the week to arrive before the weekend when the volunteer group will go to the lake and relax.
Will I be placed with my friend/travel Buddy?
Everyone arriving with a friend are met together and placed together in the same accommodation, no one is split up!
I am worried about travelling on my own - can I buddy up with someone?
Absolutely! Add yourself to the Buddy List or pop us a message on the main Facebook Group and we'll add you to our weekly round up of travel buddies.
Will I need any jabs?
All visitors to Malawi will need some jabs and boosters. Malaria tablets are essential. The boosters which are usually advised are Diptheria, Hep A, Tetanus and Typhoid. Yellow Fever is sometimes recommended. Rabies and cholera not generally advised. It is recommended to visit your doctor or travel health clinic a few weeks in advance for further advice. (Taken from the nhs website fitfortravel 21/08/13).
Do I need a visa for Malawi?
European/UK passport holders do not require a visa to enter Malawi but if flying to Malawi from your home country you will need a return ticket or you may be asked to buy an additional flight before you board your plane. All volunteers in Malawi also require a volunteer permit, this is currently requires a form being completed after arrival at your project, the coordinator will help you with this. There is no cost for this (current as of 08/13).
Do I need to bring anything for the children?
The area is very poor, food is the main challenge for local families before toys and equipment. Volunteers might like to buy snacks to offer the children they teach a biscuit or piece of fruit at break time.
From home volunteers often take the things which will be hard to find locally : sports equipment, colouring pens, colouring books, simple wordsearches, bat and ball games, footballs and airpumps/repair kits, facepaints, balloons. Other items in demand in the local community but easily missed and can be bought locally far more cheaply than at home; painkillers, plasters, antiseptic lotion, Germalene a good local anaesthetic cream, Bonjela for children with toothache, mosquito nets (can be bought locally cheaply), underwear/bras, basic clothes (shorts , t-shirts), flip flops, sanitary items for young teens. These could be collected by all volunteers and distributed to the poorest families in the village or individual volunteers could give their own donations as prizes for competitions/tests/presentations/best boy/best girl etc.
Sustainability is an exciting area where volunteers should be scared about thinking out of the box and helping local people to help themselves. For example, you may hear about someone in the village with the confidence and the skills to start a business but does not have the money to buy a stove which might be the equivalent of 3 months wages. Volunteers could contribute to purchasing a stove which may only cost £10 to build or buy. With an extra £5 of materials to get started, the family may now be able to support itself selling bread in the local market without ever needing to live off charity or visiting volunteers. The next stage of support from volunteers could be improved marketing (i.e. from a sign on coloured card, to a cabinet to display the bread or even to help pay a deposit on a small shop) followed by product development and cakes or even hot meals. Imagine one family who started out with one stove, later running a cafe, providing jobs for more local people, from an initial start up of only £15! International charities and agencies can sometimes be too big to have the resources to spot and deliver opportunities at micro-level. They need to rely on middle-men and local agencies to distribute resources from top-down hoping it reaches those in need. As a volunteer on the ground, amongst local people, knowing what their needs are with a local coordinator to support you, you have a unique opportunity to turn local people's lives around permanently for the better, now, not 'possibly later'.
Should I bring anything for me?
Don't forget to bring a mosquito net and plenty of insect repellent. Some volunteers bring a single duvet cover to sleep inside rather than take a sleeping bag which can get rather sweaty in the heat! A single duvet cover can be easier to wash and dry than a sleeping bag.
Mosquito spirals (available from pharmacies, in the UK from larger Boots stores) are great to take, they fill up the bedroom at night time with a mosquito repellent smoke, a bit smelly but jolly effective!
Do I have to choose what volunteering I want to do before I arrive?
Volunteers heading to Malawi generally join the volunteer group on arrival with whichever project they are currently working on from informal teaching, playwork, painting walls, diy or outdoor sport activities. If you would like to work in a particular area, simply speak to the local coordinator and they will assist you to swap over or get more involved with a project of your choice.
How can I keep in touch with home?
Internet cafes are available in town for at least weekly communication with home but most volunteers these days take their mobiles to receive and send text messages with family during their stay.
Contact us for specific questions