Location: Ruarwe village, Northern Malawi
Duration: Minimum 3 months commitment
Start Dates: Project is on-going, and you can join at any time, depending upon availability.
Cost: £150 admin fee to confirm your place, there is no project fee however you must also cover your travel & living costs.
- Gain hands-on work experience in a remote north Malawian village.
- Ideal for those wishing to use their experience in a new and remote environment.
- Keywords: Education, Youth work, Community, Rural, Malawi
Malawi is one of the smallest countries in Africa and also one of the poorest nations on the planet with 90% subsisting below the poverty line. Landlocked between Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique, it’s also one of the world’s least developed countries and remains heavily dependent on international aid. Many initiatives have been put in place to gain financial independence and improve conditions in key areas such as education and healthcare. Although the country’s economy is showing an upward trend, it still has a long way to go before these goals are met. Malawi also struggles with a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, which hampers development and keeps life expectancy low. Currently, around 10% of the population are infected, with HIV positive patients taking up 70% of all hospital beds.
Most of Malawi’s population is rural as the country’s economy is largely based on agriculture. Conditions in many rural areas are harsh, only 57% have access to clean water and for many, access to health and education services means a walk of many hours.
This project will place you with a community centre based in rural north Malawi, an extremely remote region on the edge of the immense lake Malawi. The area has a severe lack of infrastructure; there are no roads, no electricity, and very little phone reception. The main objective of the community centre is to provide resources and materials to help the local population achieve social and economic growth, as well as provide better education and access to healthcare. The community centre, founded in 2010, runs a library, nursery, youth club, and academic tutorials, as well as having worked on one-off projects such as building science laboratories at the local secondary schools and building an ambulance boat for the transfer of critically ill patients to bigger health facilities.
The community centre is comprised of three departments: Education, Youth and Business – all areas are led by local staff and supported with the knowledge and expertise of volunteers. Your help is needed with support for the youth projects ongoing at the community centre.
As a youth volunteer your role will be to provide support for one or more of the following depending on your area of expertise:
- Assisting the Project Coordinator in planning and running junior youth club sessions three times a week, focussing on education, creativity and sports.
- Assisting the Project Coordinator in planning and running the daily nursery for 3-5 year olds during term time.
- Organising and running football and netball tournaments between the community centre teams and local teams within the area.
- Organising and running educational quizzes between local school teams.
- Running educational tutorials according to your knowledge in Maths, English and Science for school students.
- Running tutorials in IT, including Word and Excel (depending on your computer skills).
Tutorials can be taught as one-to-one sessions or in small groups.
You are also welcome to get involved with any other activities run at the centre within the areas of your expertise, knowledge and interest.
Travel & Accommodation
You will be given detailed instructions on how to get to the project location. Given the poor infrastructure in Malawi, you should factor in two days of travel to reach the project. We will work with you to tailor a travel plan suited to your needs.
Accommodation is available at a nearby eco lodge. This is a fully functioning guesthouse and, as such, you are asked to respect the on-going business, including moving rooms if necessary due to guest demands. You will be staying either in a chalet, shared dormitories or in the camping ground; you are advised to bring your own tent and sleeping bag. Mosquito nets are provided, however it is a good idea to also bring your own.
There is limited access to solar lighting (and charging) at the lodge and you can expect hot showers.
You can choose between a catered or self-catered package for your food options. With the catered option, you will eat your meals at the eco lodge at going rates (except lunch which is eaten as a group at the community centre on weekdays). For the self-catered option, you will have access to mud stoves at the lodge. Please bear in mind the village is very remote and has limited options for buying food. You will be given further details on food availability when your placement is confirmed. Please also see the “costs” section for further information.
- Minimum age 18.
- Minimum 1-month commitment.
- Relevant previous experience.
- Excellent organisational skills with strong work and personal ethics.
- Determination, self-motivation and ability to work in a team environment.
- Agree to write a monthly report on your placement progress.
- Good spoken and written English language skills.
- Travel & medical insurance.
- Necessary vaccinations.
There is an admin fee of £150 to confirm your place, and you will also need to cover your travel & living costs.
Includes orientation, in-country support and all project related activities.
What's not included:
Food, accommodation, flights, insurance, visas (if applicable) airport pickup/drop off and vaccinations. Full assistance will be provided in getting all these arranged if you choose our Premium Support.
Accommodation at the lodge is $10-$30/night depending on the type of accommodation you require (a subsidised rate of $8/night for volunteers staying for 3 months+).
The self-catered package is priced at approx. $5 per week for lunches plus approx. $20 per week for perishables and extras. For the catered option you should budget approx. $5 per week payable to the volunteer coordinator for lunch; all other costs are payable directly to the eco lodge and dependent on your personal preferences (dinner costs approx. $7 for a main meal + $3 for dessert).
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Premium Support Upgrade
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