Volunteer in Malawi
Communities in developing countries like Malawi face difficulties in everyday life local NGO's and charities have set up projects to help. There is the option to volunteer at wildlife sanctuaries, community projects, hospitals and schools which are in desperate need to help all year round.
Volunteer Programs in Malawi
Search structured, free and low cost volunteer opportunities in Malawi.
Top Reasons to Volunteer in Malawi
By applying you will be able to make a difference and also get one of the most rewarding experiences of your life:
- For such a small country there are so many different areas you can help
- This country is definately off the beaten track compared to more touristy destinations in Africa, but this means you get a more real and authentic experience
- Local people are extremely friendly and warm, they have been through a lot as a nation and it will be a great feeling to give back and help
- Whether you are passionate about helping people or animals, we have short and long term projects to match you interests
Location of Projects
Most programs running in Malawi are based in Lilongwe but there are also placements in more rural regions of the country. You could also combine experiences by visiting neighbouring countries. If you are still researching options you can find more programs on our Africa volunteer directory.
Types of Volunteer Programs in Malawi
Community Development Projects
Volunteer programs in Malawi can included teaching English at community projects and at school, working on childcare projects - all need assistance all year round. People are needed for educational projects, you will be really appreciated by local people and staff. Most schools in Malawi are now open to all children unlike in the past when it was only the rich who could afford it but many are unfunded with basic conditions. As an international volunteer can help to assist and bring relief to classroom situations.
You will be able to help lead English lessons, or play sports and do music lessons, creativity is essential on these volunteer programs. The children will love the chance to be with you and learn from you, its great to see the smile you can put on their face. These are great opportunities to build personally and really help children and communities. Using any ideas you have and putting them to use by leading educational lessons will be really enjoyable and rewarding. We have similar opportunities on our Tanzania volunteer directory.
Medical Volunteer Programs
Rural communities in Malawi are in desperate need of assistance, usually the nearest hospital or clinic is miles away and local lack the transportation to seek help. Outreach teams and organisations arrange clinics which go direct to comunities and perform check ups, minor surgery, advice and also assistance. Usually skilled professionals are encouraged to apply but there are also spots available for general assistants with no medical background. These placements can be an eye opening experience but also extremely rewarding when you get to see the difference you make on the ground.
Building & Construction Volunteer Programs
A lot of buildings like schools, houses and community centres in Malawi have been built through donations and constructed by international volunteering organisations and you can help further by signing up. Usually these programs are organised by organisations like Habitat for Humanity and are all pre-planned and structured mixing both skilled and un-skilled workers to help in areas of need.
Expect most volunteer opportunities to be in rural areas though and please be aware that your accommodation will be basic, on some cultural exchange programs you might also be staying with a host family where you will be able to integrate into a family and see how real African people live their lives whilst also eating local food. On other programs you will get to stay in a hotel or hostel accommodation.
How to Apply
You can find limited free and low cost projects in Malawi by applying with small NGO's but then some costs be incured like flights, transport, accommodation and meals. Most programs are organised by large voluntary organisations, they offer packages which include can include:
- Airport pick-up and transfer to base
- All food and accommodation
- Training materials and teaching materials
- 24-hour in-country support and a 24-hour emergency phone line
- All pre-departure support and services
Expect local people to be very friendly and remember this is a developing country and lacks the infrastructure of Western countries or even compared to volunteering in South Africa. By joining local organisations and working with other international volunteers you can genuinely make a difference. Everyday will be different and this will be like nothing you have ever done before. If you would like to volunteer in Malawi for free, this is possible, you will need to apply with local NGOs but sometimes they will expect you to fund your own accommodation.
For most general positions no previous experience is required when applying to work in Malawi.You will need to be aged 18 and over, be able to speak English and work as part of a team whilst also being able to adapt to new surroundings. This will be an amazing experience but before departing try to read as much as possible about this country, culture and tradition.
Health & Safety
Malawi is a very safe destination but always take precautions for example don't drink to excess, try to walk around with someone at night and don't flash valuables in public or attract too much attention to yourself. Food and drink is really tasty but basic, pack Imodium or something to help with diarrhea, sometimes the food in this region can be a shock to your system especially when you first arrive. Try to drink lots of bottle water to avoid dehydration and also buy fresh fruit in local markets which is really cheap. You will find most local people are very friendly, don't think everyone is out to mug you but also be a little cautious if someone is being overly friendly. Pack a sink plug, you might be suprised how useful this is like cleaning clothes to washing your face.
Reviews & Testimonials
Wondering what to Expect from Volunteering in Malawi? Sometimes working conditions can be rustic and hot - the climate is warm all year round so pack accordingly. This is quite a destination for the adventurous where you will experience the real Africa with poverty and all. If you are looking for another challenge read information about going to volunteer in Zambia. You will get to meet likeminded people from all over the world in Malawi, all there to do good like you. This country may be less touristy than other destinations in Africa but it is also very beautiful, be sure to visit Lake Malawi which is spectacular. The experience of volunteering in Malawi will stay with you forever.