Lake Malawi Research Diver Internship

founded in 2008
The Maru Research Center
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Coordinator | Justin
Coordinator | Justin
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.
Be a vital member of our research team by collecting data on the Lake's fish and water quality using land-based and SCUBA-based techniques. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+

 The Research Diver Internship program aims to train volunteer researchers in fisheries monitoring, water quality monitoring, and underwater population and biodiversity monitoring techniques. Lake Malawi is the most biologically diverse lake on the planet Lake Malawi, home to nearly 1000 endemic species of tropical freshwater fish, and it is vital that people who are dedicated to their conservation, monitor the health of the Lake environment. The goal of the program is to pair international volunteers with local Malawians so that they can learn about each other while learning about the Lake.  As volunteer researcher, after your training, you will contribute to the Maru's effort to build a local database of information on the Lake's fish, fisheries, and water quality, that can be used by environmental managers to make more informed decisions about how to best ensure that the Lake's resources are used sustainably.  Everyday you will be going out to test the water quality of the lake and the rivers that feed into it, monitor the fish catches of fisherman in the Kande area, and most days you will also be out at Kande Island diving to keep track of the beautiful cichlid fish that live there.  The research methodologies we will teach you are internationally recognized and will help prepare you for further work in the conservation sector in Africa.   You will be staying at our lakeside Research Center along the famous golden sandy beaches of the Chintheche Strip.  

Typical day

A typical day at the Maru will involve you hiking to rivers and fishing villages in the morning to collect catch and water quality data and then going on a survey dive in the afternoon.  If you opt to develop you own independent research program you will also fit that in-between our regular research schedule.  In the evenings you can relax on the beach, play volleyball with the local community, or explore the nearby village.  

8am- Breakfast

9am- Walk down the the local fishing village to speak with fishers about their catch, and conduct our fisheries monitoring program.

11am- Head down to Kande River to sample the water quality there using a variety of biotic and abiotic indicators.

12:30pm- Staff Lunch.  Everyone gathers together to discuss the results of the morning surveys and have a hearty Malawian lunch.

2:30pm- Gear up and head out on our boat to Kande Island to conduct an underwater population and biodiversity survey using SCUBA.

4:30pm- Input on the day's data in the Center's database.

6:30pm- Dinner

Free-time activities

On the weekends during your volunteer period and perhaps before/after it Malawi has fantastic sites to visit from National Parks full of elephant, buffalo, lions, and other African wildlife, to mountain hiking trails, to teeming market towns were you can purchase local handicrafts.

Water Sports


In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 08:00 - 16:00

What's Included

Services by The Maru Research Center

The Maru is an independent research center.  Our research goals and funding do not come from far-away donor agencies or university foundations but are collaboratively developed by Maru staff in dialogue with local Malawians, international partners, and importantly by volunteers and interns who, through their first-hand knowledge of the local area, have valuable insights on what can and needs to be achieved.  The reality is that research requires money.  Volunteers are also our financial backbone.  We believe that this approach to research funding is both sustainable and responsible.  The fees we charge go to fund all of our operations and the costs of hosting volunteers including but not limited to your



Research Methods Training

Monitoring equipment

Scuba Diving Gear maintenance 


Accomodation is on-site at the Research Center.  Rooms are basic but comfortable and have electricity plugs and mosquito nets provided.

Bedroom (Single)
Food & Beverages

All meals are provided for during your vounteer period.  They are primarily vegetarian and as much as possible created from local ingredients.

Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees. An airport pickup isn't included within the program fees either.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Lilongwe International Airport (LLW) in Lilongwe. We assist you to find cheap flights to Malawi.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Malawi provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in Malawi you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Malawi.

Dates & Fees


Details on arrival

Volunteers can start at anytime of the year

This program is paused due to COVID-19

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1 - 24 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
1 week (min. stay)
4 weeks
12 weeks
24 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees
$250 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated. The Maru Research Center will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with The Maru Research Center during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Why book with Volunteer World

Extra security layer by Volunteer World
Volunteer World is the world's leading comparison platform for international volunteer opportunities. We guide you through a safe and easy application process - including all necessary payments. Planning your next meaningful trip with Volunteer World gives you free access to our:
Quality Assurance
High ethical standards & transparent social impact
Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if The Maru Research Center cancels your trip
Support & Mediation
We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by The Maru Research Center.

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Lake Malawi Research Diver Internship

Be a vital member of our research team by collecting data on the Lake's fish and water quality using land-based and SCUBA-based techniques.


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