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Volunteer in Malawi

Volunteer in Malawi and explore one of the smallest countries in Africa that will surprise you with its beauty...

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Volunteer work in Malawi

Malawi is one of the smallest and yet also one of the most beautiful countries in Africa. This nation's people are known for their contagious smiles even in the face of the dire conditions that they often have to live with. As it is one of the least developed countries in the entire world, there are several opportunities for you to become a volunteer in Malawi. Whether you are all excited about volunteering in education or you would like to learn more about the various wildlife volunteer opportunities in Malawi, you have come to the right place.

Given the low life expectancy of the Malawi people along with the high infant mortality, your work as a volunteer in Malawi can really make a difference to the lives of the local people. Also, keep in mind that even the Malawian government relies heavily on foreign aid to address the needs of its people. As such, there has been a longstanding volunteer tradition in Malawi, which makes this country a great place for you to engage in worthwhile, meaningful charity work.

If you would like to learn more about what being a volunteer in Malawi is all about, we are here to help. We will not only introduce you to the volunteer opportunities in Malawi. Additionally, we will provide you with useful tips as to how you can prepare for your time abroad as a volunteer in Malawi.

While you are likely passionate about volunteering and contributing as much as you can to these volunteer projects, you should be able to enjoy yourself outside of your charity work, too. As such, we are going to recommend some of the best spots for you to visit as a volunteer in Malawi. We definitely encourage you to read on if you are at all curious to find out whether becoming a volunteer in Malawi is for you.

Volunteer opportunities in Malawi

As already mentioned, you will find yourself faced with tons of different volunteer opportunities in Malawi if you are at all interested in becoming a volunteer in this country. Whether you would like to support the local community or whether you are interested in protecting Malawi's wildlife and volunteering in wildlife conservation, there is plenty for you to do.

As with all our volunteer projects, we recommend that volunteers choose a project that best matches their individual skill set, interests, and passions. After all, this will make your time as a volunteer in Malawi all the more worthwhile. Simply read on to find out what volunteer opportunities in Malawi are waiting for you in this beautiful Southern African nation.

Animal and wildlife conservation

Malawi's wildlife is certainly worth protecting. Not only is this country home to 192 species of mammals, but you will also find 664 bird species here. From rodents to elephants, bats, and primates, out of the 192 mammal species in Malawi:

  • 1 is in critical danger of becoming extinct,
  • 2 are in danger of becoming extinct,
  • 4 species are vulnerable to becoming extinct,
  • 11 species could be threatened soon if the current trend continues.

Whether you want to become a primate release or a wildlife center assistant, those who love animals and want to protect them will find plenty of volunteer opportunities in Malawi. As part of your charity work, you will likely not only get to engage in research and population monitoring activities. Instead, education will be key to make sure that the local population does their part to protect these species alongside foreign volunteers.

While volunteering at one of Malawi's beautiful wildlife reserves, you will likely be working alongside trained vets and other professionals. However, responsible tourism might be yet another focus of your wildlife volunteer project in Malawi. As such, you might be asked to offer wildlife tours to tourists. If you would simply love to work with animals while doing good at the same time, becoming a wildlife conservation volunteer in Malawi should certainly excite you.

Provide education for children and adults

Given that Malawi's population mainly consists of rural dwellers that work in farming, many of these people have not had access to proper education. However, you can do your part to change this as an education volunteer in Malawi. Whether you want to work with adults or children, becoming an education volunteer in Malawi is the way to go if you would like to change the lives of your students.

From teaching them English and math to playing sports with them or engaging in various other extracurricular activities, volunteers will likely enjoy a lot of freedom as an education volunteer in Malawi. In turn, you might even get to make up your own lesson plans. As such, being a volunteer in Malawi can help prepare you for a career in teaching once you return home. Your work as a volunteer in Malawi will thus be key to raising the overall level of education in this country and making sure that the future of the people of Malawi is starting to look a little brighter.

Medical and healthcare

Like most African countries, Malawi struggles with the poor health of its people. Luckily, you can do your part to change this by becoming a healthcare assistant volunteer in Malawi. Once again, you will be working alongside trained medical professionals, while helping them meet the healthcare needs of the local population. Of course, anyone with a background in the medical field is more than welcome to become a healthcare volunteer in Malawi.

However, even if you are lacking said background, you can still become a volunteer in Malawi. In particular, you might want to volunteer in health education and outreach. Since HIV/ AIDS continues to be a huge problem for most African countries, Malawi is no exception. If you are passionate about making sure that AIDS will take the lives of fewer and fewer innocent people in the future, taking part in HIV prevention projects and support groups as a volunteer in Malawi will be for you.

Alternatively, your focus as a healthcare volunteer in Malawi might be the prevention of Malaria. However, no matter which project you choose, one thing is for sure: By becoming a healthcare volunteer in Malawi, you will be changing lives!

Support community services

Would you like to do whatever you can to support the local population? Are you interested in making Malawi a better place to live and giving the local youth hope? In this case, you might want to think about becoming a community volunteer in Malawi. Of course, there are plenty of volunteer projects for you to choose from in this field as well.

How about becoming a volunteer sports coach, for example? The local youth will certainly thank you for all that you do as a volunteer in Malawi. Or how about helping to plant a vegetable garden that the entire community can benefit from? If you are passionate about women's issues, becoming a volunteer in Malawi is a great idea as well. From volunteering at a local daycare to projects that generate income for women, your help will really be felt by the local community.

Whether it is volunteering in childcare or offering computer classes to the locals, there is much that you can do to help as a community volunteer in Malawi! As such, one of these projects will likely fit your individual skill set, which will make your work as a volunteer in Malawi all the more beneficial for everyone involved.

Things to know before you volunteer in Malawi

Before starting your volunteer job in Malawi, it’s important to think about the cultural norms you’ll need to adjust to. In addition, learn about the precautions you might need to take. The following list might help you with that:

Safety & Precautions

If you will be visiting this African nation for the first time as a volunteer in Malawi, there are some precautions that you will want to take for your own safety. In order to get all of the required vaccinations, you should plan to see your doctor in advance before you get on the plane as a new volunteer in Malawi, for example. In particular, here are the top things to consider in regards to your safety, health, and the local religion in Malawi:


While crime will probably not be an issue during your time as a volunteer in Malawi, we nevertheless ask you to consider the following guidelines. Better be safe than sorry!

  • Be super careful when visiting market areas
  • Avoid quiet, desolate areas after dark
  • Make copies of all of your important documents and store them in a different place than the originals
  • Keep your car doors locked and your car windows closed
  • Don't accept drinks/ food that are offered to you by a stranger
  • Be wary of strangers that simply seem too friendly
  • Choose one of the larger coach services instead of small minibuses for public transportation
  • Don't drive after dark since Malawi roads can be hazardous due to potholes, animals, bad lighting conditions, and the like

Health advice

If you want to stay safe on your trip, you should plan ahead and get the required vaccinations in advance. Talk to your doctor about your health conditions so that he/ she can advise you. All travelers should certainly be getting the following vaccines before becoming a volunteer in Malawi:

  • MMR
  • Diphtheria/ Tetanus/ Pertussis
  • Chickenpox
  • Polio
  • Hepatitis A
  • Malaria
  • Typhoid

In addition, you might like to get a flu shot before heading to Malawi as a volunteer. Depending on the duration of your stay as a volunteer in Malawi and where you will be volunteering, the following vaccinations are recommended:

  • Hepatitis B
  • Rabies
  • Yellow Fever

Religion in Malawi

As a future volunteer in Malawi, you should know that the majority of the population is Christian. Moreover, about 25 percent of the population identifies as Muslim, while a mere 5 percent identify as practicing other religions. You will also find people practicing traditional African religions in Malawi along with about 300 Jews. Particularly if you are a Christian volunteer in Malawi, you should thus be able to find a church near you.

Who can volunteer in Malawi?

As you will have noticed by now, there are many different projects that expect different skills and abilities from their volunteers. While you can find out the specific requirements for each project on their program page, here are some general requirements that apply to most projects in Malawi:

  • You need to be at least 18 years old for most of the volunteer projects. When in doubt, we advise you to get in contact with the local project manager, as in some projects you can also volunteer when you're 16 years old.
  • You need to have basic English skills to join a volunteer project in Malawi. Please note that some teaching projects might ask for more advanced skills though.
  • Depending on the project you're interested in, you might need to provide a criminal background check and a health declaration before volunteering.

Visa regulations to volunteer in Malawi

You have made it to the last section of this guide, which is another really important aspect while planning your trip: getting your volunteer visa for Malawi.

Please consider that the following information is based on a best practice approach, which has been made according to the best of our knowledge and in cooperation with several volunteer organizations. That’s why you should please make sure to discuss your visa requirements with your contact person on Volunteer World. If in doubt, we also recommend getting in touch with the Malawian embassy or consulate in your country.

General immigration information

There are some general requirements volunteers should comply upon their arrival in Malawi:

  • Please check the current validity of your passport. The passport should be valid at least 6 months after your expected return home date. However, we strongly recommend traveling with 6 months validity on your passport at all times.
  • Make sure your passport has at least two blank Visa pages. Malawi requires that you have adequate unused pages in your passport, allowing for any necessary stamps upon arrival and departure
  • Please check if a transit visa is required for any connections.
  • Make sure to be in possession of a valid return ticket for your travel home..