Malawi is without a doubt a stunning nation with a lot to offer, but it also has a number of issues, including widespread poverty. What Malawi needs now is volunteers, but with so many countries out there that need help, it can be difficult to decide which one to devote your time to.
There are often two reasons for volunteering abroad: humanitarian and the desire to travel. While very different in nature, these two aspects go hand in hand. At the end of the day, it is important that volunteers travel to countries that have significance to them, regardless of their reason for volunteering abroad.
The happier you are in your surroundings, the more you’ll be able to contribute. So, when making the choice of where to volunteer abroad, you need to be aware of the options and what is going to greet you when you arrive. If you go somewhere you don’t like, you’ll have a negative experience, which will affect the communities you are there to help.
If you have your eye on Africa, read on to find out how you should choose Malawi as your volunteer abroad destination.
1. Go Where You Are Wanted
Malawi is often referred to as the warm heart of Africa, and not just because it's placed close to the equator. The people of Malawi are well known for being warm and welcoming to travelers. The communities in which volunteers are placed are often inviting and excited to have new people join their little slice of the country. In some volunteer abroad destinations, communities can be apprehensive and distant from foreign volunteers who make the journey across the world to help them, but not in Malawi.
It is also worth noting that the second official language of Malawi is English, which helps to break down barriers between volunteers and locals.
2. Go Where You Are Needed
Unfortunately, there is a growing problem within the volunteer industry. Some organizations are taking advantage of people’s humanitarian desires and sending them to nations where they are actually more of a hindrance than a help. Often these locations have immense language barriers or implement programs that do not fit the skill set of incoming volunteers. This, however, is not the case when it comes to volunteering in Malawi.
Although it may have many glowing qualities, Malawi is a very poor nation. The average total wealth of Malawi’s people ranks 185th globally, out of 187. This results in a dire need for help on many fronts, the most pressing of which being medical and educational. The people of Malawi simply do not have the money for these basic essentials, and their government is unable to provide for them either. Therefore, they frequently must rely on volunteers for necessary resources they’d never otherwise receive.
Volunteers can get involved in varying projects that support growth and development of Malawian communities, such as helping to form and maintain schools. It is possible to contribute to these types of volunteer projects in Malawi whether you are a student or a qualified teacher, assisting with lessons, activities, and engaging with pupils.
While you are volunteering in Malawi, you will know in your heart that you are doing something good, no matter how big or small your contribution feels.
3. Escape The Modern Day Life
Malawi is a developing country that faces many challenges, but it is also a serene place to visit. The slow, calm, nature of life in Malawi will be a far cry from the busy, nonstop environment most volunteers come from. From places where gadgets and technology rule the world, volunteers can enjoy their time in Malawi, where they’ll be forced back to what feels like a bygone era. Mobile signals exist in Malawi, but are scarce, along with other elements of technology. Bigger towns and cities have wifi, electricity, and other modern amenities, but these aren’t common in smaller communities where it is more common to volunteer in Malawi. Volunteering in Malawi is ideal for those who want to escape the modern world. Those who can’t help but be on their phones all day may find that volunteer work in Malawi is a very necessary opportunity to detox and break a technological “addiction”.
4. Explore A New World
Perhaps the biggest and most exciting draw for anyone to travel to Malawi (besides volunteering) is its beautiful natural setting. While you will spend most of your time working on volunteer projects in Malawi, you’ll still have enough time to see the sights. To that end, you simply can’t visit the country without experiencing its most stunning feature, Lake Malawi, known locally as Lake Nyasa. The lakes irresistible mix of clear water, wilderness, and wildlife makes it the nation’s must-see location. You will be especially lucky if your home stay or volunteer placement is located close to the gorgeous Lake Malawi, as it is a common stop for many volunteers on their downtime. However, it is not the only place worth a visit in the country.
Malawi is home to a number of national parks, including the Cape McClear Nature Reserve and the Liwonde National Park. The latter, Liwonde, is home to numerous species of large animals, including elephants and hippos. Consequently, the park rivals even the best safari reserves in Africa. Additionally, Malawi is home to incredible mountain ranges, such as the Zomba Plateau and the Mulanje Mountain. Both of these places are pure wilderness, scattered with waterfalls, rivers, and other incredible spots. If you like the idea of adventuring in the wilds of Africa after your volunteer program in Malawi, then these places have everything you need.
Luckily, while volunteering in Malawi, you will have a number of opportunities to get out into the country and explore. Most volunteer programs in Malawi take place on weekdays, leaving you with plenty of free time on the weekends to do as you please. Many volunteer organisations will even arrange trips for volunteers on the weekends, the most popular of which being safaris. Although, it will be totally up to you what you spend your weekend doing.
If you don’t have time to explore Malawi during your volunteer program, you can always extend your stay and travel independently to any and all of the beautiful locations Malawi has to offer.
5. Be Part of a Revolution
Now, this isn’t a literal revolution, of course (the last thing we want is volunteers traveling to Malawi to cause civil unrest!). However, that doesn’t mean you can’t be part of something that will change the face of the country forever during your time as a volunteer in Malawi.
For years, Malawi has gone unnoticed, a small slice of Africa struggling silently, but not anymore! The people of Malawi want change and they are working hard to make necessary changes to build a better future.
Although education is becoming more widespread, agricultural practices are developing and becoming more sustainable, and health care is slowly modernizing, for the moment, without the help of international volunteers, the progress of Malawi would stall. The people of Malawi still need the support of local organisations to help them stay on course for a self-sustained future.
By helping to create societal growth, through education, health care, and community development projects, you can help the people of Malawi form the building blocks needed to succeed. You can become part of the change that has already, albeit is slowly, begun and propel it into the future.
Through education volunteer programs, individuals can become part of the educational system that can help to develop the young minds of Malawi, by teaching them how they can become part of the solution and enabling them to live brighter and more fulfilling lives.
Medical volunteer projects help ensure that Malawians can live healthy lives and continue to fight for change, providing them not only with medical support, but also a level of health education that allows for prevention.
Other volunteer projects in Malawi, such as sports and child development programs, enable children to achieve further success and develop extraordinary skills, and give them new opportunities to learn and grow.
Still Not Convinced?
Malawi is a beautiful and vibrant country, full of friendly faces, a diverse culture, and stunning landscapes. It is a truly unique place to volunteer abroad, and one that many people would never even consider experiencing in their lifetime.
By traveling and volunteering in Malawi, you will be able to share your skills and knowledge and help locals move toward a better future, while also experiencing an awe-inspiring part of the world that very few people ever have the opportunity to set their eyes on.