Project starts: Monday
Location: Mangochi District, Malawi
Minimum duration: 4 weeks
With more than half of its population living below the poverty line, Malawi is considered one of the world’s’ poorest countries. The infant mortality rate in Malawi is extremely high, due to the poor health care and malnutrition. In most cases, children in Malawi start primary school at the age of 6 years old. At the moment a preschool system is non-existent. This means that for children under the age of 6, there is little access to any form of education. There are several private nursery schools throughout the country, mostly located in large towns or cities. However, parents have to pay for their children to attend there and most of them cannot afford this. A number of rural communities have set up groups to provide children with basic care and an education. These groups are run by local volunteers. However, in most cases, they are under qualified, understaffed and the resources at these groups are very low. Furthermore, learning basic English at a young age is very important when preparing children for the lessons that are taught in English at primary schools in Malawi. However, most teachers that run the groups don’t speak very good English themselves. This is why you can provide vital support by improving the level of education and helping the current teachers improve their English and way of teaching.
As a volunteer on our teaching project, you will be supporting the teachers by assisting them in one of the local primary schools. On occasion volunteers with teaching experience can be placed in one of the community secondary schools. Volunteers contribute massively to improving the children’s’ education. You may also have the opportunity to teach adult education classes, which provide necessary skills development to rural communities. Furthermore, as part of our initiative to integrate IT to local schools and communities, you can help teachers develop and improve their computer skills. In the morning’s volunteers will assist teachers with curriculum subjects, including English, Maths, and Sciences. Most days you will finish teaching in the morning between 11:00 and 12:00 and have a lunch break back at the volunteer house during the hottest part of the day.
In the afternoons you will organize and run sports activities and coaching sessions, including sports like football, netball, volleyball, and rounders. Volunteers that are with us for a longer period of time will have the opportunity to organize sports matches or mini-tournaments for the children, or even with a neighboring school or village teams.
Football and Netball
In Malawi, football is the most popular sport for boys and netball is the most popular sport for girls. Existing teams in these sports usually meet every afternoon to train or play matches. As a volunteer, your role will be to work alongside the local team coach or teacher (if there is one) and assist them.
Basic nutritional and hygiene advice
The involvement of volunteers encourages more children to participate in sport and the training sessions. This is very important regarding their health and fitness, personal development, such as learning team skills and involving them in a positive activity in their free time.
Additional sports that you may coach or get involved in include volleyball, cricket, or swimming. We try to encourage new sports, so if you have a particular sport in mind that you would like to coach feel free to let us know. However, we ask volunteers to be patient, as these sports are not played as commonly in Malawi.
Volunteers will stay in a comfortable, shared house in a rural village in the Mangochi District. The volunteer house is located on the shores of the stunning Lake Malawi. The area in which volunteers are based (and Malawi in general) is very safe. However, the house is fenced and gated for additional security and privacy.
The bedrooms in the volunteer house are large shared rooms (2 – 4 volunteers per room), generally with single or bunk beds. Mosquito nets are provided and the rooms either have en-suite facilities, or an adjacent bathroom. The bathrooms all consist of western style flush toilets and showers.
Three meals a day are provided.
Breakfast usually consists of french toast, eggs, porridge or pancakes, and tea and coffee.
Lunch usually consists of sandwiches, pasta, soups, wraps, or similar; or a packed lunch can be provided if you are not returning to the house in the middle of the day.
Dinner will be a hot meal prepared for you by our cook.
In Malawi there are three school terms each year, the longest holidays are during the summer, with shorter breaks around Easter and Christmas. The exact dates vary each year and often arent confirmed until last minute.
During the school holidays, volunteers are involved in additional classes that are usually held in the mornings.
The volunteer house is right on the edge of Lake Malawi in the Mangochi District. It’s approximately a 40-minute drive from Mangochi Town, which is a large village where 6.500 people live.
School life in Malawi
If you have not spent time at a school in Africa before, you should be prepared that schools in Malawi are certainly not like those you will be more familiar in your home country. There can be very little structure and time is often not a priority (although this does not apply to you, as we expect you to set an example and be punctual). Resources are extremely limited at most schools, so you will need to be creative in planning your lessons. You may have little more than chalk and a blackboard and if you have this you’re off to a good start. Do not expect all of your students to have exercise books and pens, or pencils either. The initiative, motivational skills, flexibility, patience and a positive sense of humor are all useful traits to have as a teaching volunteer in Malawi. If you don’t have them already you probably will do by the end of your volunteer programme.
During free time, volunteers can relax at the volunteer house, swim in the sparkling waters of Lake Malawi and explore the local area.
Weekend trips can be organised by the project staff enabling you to visit:
Liwonde National Park, offers a variety of wildlife and large herds of elephant, where you can enjoy the combination of a vehicle safari, walking safari and boat safari in search of the numerous hippo in the rivers.
Cape Maclear, a popular tourist village at the edge of the lake. Enjoy snorkelling, boat rides on Lake Malawi, exploring the craft stalls and sunbathing on the beach during the day. In the evening there are a couple of lively bars to let your hair down.
Zomba Plateau, is a cool forest where you can relax, take in the great views, trek and even go horse riding if you wish.
Although organised weekend excursions are not included in the program price, we do recommend doing a couple of these groups trips during your stay. This way you will be able to see a little more and make the most of your time in Malawi.
- Make a real difference to the lives of some of the world’s poorest children
- Help with sports coaching sessions such as volleyball, football, netball and rounders
- Play football matches against the village team
- Stay in a lakeside volunteer house with views over beautiful Lake Malawi
- Feel part of the community and experience the hospitality and culture of the friendly community
- TEFL course certificate or relevant experience
- Police clearance
- Fully completed application form, medical history form and motivation form
- Copy of return flight itinerary
- Acceptance subject to availability