ACTION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY (AFES)

VOLUNTEER INFORMATION

CULTURE AND TRAVELING IN MALAWI 


We appreciate your interest to Volunteer with Action for Environmental Sustainability (AFES). The following information is provided to help understand what this program involves. However we do encourage that you should contact us through the email provided on this website so that you should receive additional advise.

Read the following information and if you have any questions or you want to contact us, we will be happy to hear from you;

CULTURE 

The Malawian culture is very rich and diverse. Malawi is a very religious country – though no worries if you are not religious, people will respect your choices. Community and family are very important in daily life. Malawi is called ‘the warm heart of Africa’ for its people’s friendly, kind and peaceful nature.

 

There are certain cultural norms that you are expected to abide to. Most of which will be explained during your introduction week. But to help you pack, let us mention clothing.

Women – you are expected not to show your thighs, so pack long skirts and trousers. All tops are acceptable as long as they cover your stomach. Open shoulders and chest are fine. You should pack comfortable sandals as well as closed shoes for the rainy season.

Men – you are expected to look decent, shorts and a t-shirt are fine, but no provocative, racist or insulting messages printed on clothing. Comfortable shoes are advised.

TRAVELLING IN MALAWI

Many Volunteers like to use the opportunity of volunteering in Malawi to travel.

Malawi is a beautiful country with many sites to visit. The Lake shore is wonderful, you can swim and dive and take boat rides. There are also many national parks where you may plan a safari. And Mt Mulanje is one of the most breath-taking sites in the country (literally – hiking is exhausting!).

AFES has many contacts in the travel industry and can help you make choices about travelling as well as help plan safaris.

ACCOMMODATION IN MALAWI

Accommodation will differ depending on your choice and amount of volunteers in your group. 

INDIVIDUAL VOLUNTEER

Individual Volunteers –

(i) As an individual, you will be placed in a descent Local Lodge with maximum security and basic utilities such as electricity and water. Preferably the Lodge will be within reasonable distance to your work place.

(ii) Alternatively you may choose to stay in a host family. You can expect to have your own room with clean linen and a mosquito net. 

Living with a host family is a wonderful cultural experience, as you are able to take part in family activities. Many people are reluctant to stay with a family, for fear of intruding, or lack of privacy. But the Malawian culture is one of family and respect. You may also chose to share meals with the family. If you chose to stay with a host family, a weakly fee contribution of US$ 45 will be charged. 

(iii) You may also wish to stay in a private house (guest flats) with water, electricity, furniture, kitchen set, beds, security guard, electrified fence etc.

The only thing you will need to do is to buy food and cook for yourself.      

GROUP VOLUNTEERS

(i) Staying at a private house (guest flats) for group volunteers is best option. Expect the house to have water, electricity, furniture, kitchen set, beds, security guard, electrified fence etc.

The only thing you will need to do is to buy food and cook for yourselves. You will be able to lock the house as well as your individual rooms.

(iv) Alternatively you may choose to stay in a host family. You can expect to have your own room with clean linen and a mosquito net. There will be electricity and running water.

Living with a host family is a wonderful cultural experience, as you are able to take part in family activities. Many people are reluctant to stay with a family, for fear of intruding, or lack of privacy. But the Malawian culture is one of family and respect.

(ii) Alternatively, you will be placed in a descent Local Lodge with maximum security and basic utilities such as electricity and water. Preferably the Lodge will be within reasonable distance to your work place.

Volunteer in Malawi Program Fee

AFES greatly appreciates having skilled volunteers come to work with us. We think it is of high value to share skills and cultures and we hope you will have a wonderful experience with us.

In order for us to cover our costs of having volunteers to stay, we need to charge a small weekly fee of US$220. This fee includes project planning and support as well as a contribution to the project. Any additional funds you are able to fund-raise for AFES will always be greatly appreciated.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION


  WHAT YOU ARE PAYING FOR YOURSELF:  (THOUGH WE CAN HELP ORGANIZE THIS UPON REQUEST)

•    Flights

•   Vaccinations, medical and travel insurance,

•    Visas (if staying for more than one month you will be expected to renew your visa).

•    Communication (cell phone, post and a small fee for internet, which you can use in the office)

•    Food – you will be expected to cook for yourself, unless you opt to have meals with your host family where we will ask for a small contribution so that their costs are covered or you chose to buys meals from a restaurant.

•    Additional travel around Malawi

 

CURRENT NEWS

One of the most biggest challenge in Malawi is access to clean water, this problem has compromised the health of many people especially affecting those in rural areas and highly populated areas of cities.

Giving clean water to these people is a permanent solutions to many water, sanitation and hygiene related problems.

Water, sanitation and hygiene projects in communities have led to a decline in the out break of highly contagious diseases like Cholera and improved the health of the biggest number of people especially the youths who makes the highest population composition of Malawi.


Income Generating Project

AfES in partnership with the Embassy of the United States has engaged in implementing an income generating project for Mpangama Women Association in Makanjira Mangochi district. The project will train the women of Mpangama in puff making, p-nut batter making and entrepreneurship.

 

Her Excellency Virginia Pulmer  the USA Ambassador to Malawi and our Executive Director Mr. Daniel Mwakameka signing the project grant agreement in Lilongwe on 18th August 2015.

The project is expected to create jobs and improve the income security of more than 2000 women of Mpangama community.

Kumponda Community WASH Project

Action for Environmental Sustainability (AFES) in partnership with Vibrant Village Foundation has partnerd with Group Village Headman Kumponda in Traditional Authority (TA) Kapeni in Blantyre District to embark on promoting water,sanitation and hygiene in 4 sub-communities of Kamwendo,Mzwanya, Chiwalo/Maluwa and Kumponda.

 

The project will maintain 4 mal-functioning water pumps, train 18 local mechanics and establish a sanitation and hygiene promotion group that will work as ambassadors in the community.  

Misuku Hills Improved livelihood and Biodiveristy Conservation Project

Action for Environment Sustainability (AFES) in partnership with Misuku Bee Keepers Association and with funding from CEPF is working on conservation of Misuku Hills since July 2014. 

Conservation activities

In collaboration with the deapartment of forest, the project has trained 7 Village Forest Areas (VFAs) namely Lupalang’ombe Kapiyira, Mwenga, Nangalamu, Chipala, Arthur and Chiwi which are currently . The project has also  strengthened the capacity of  7 Village Natural Resources Management Committees (VNRMCs) and planted about 50,000 indidginious and exotic trees during the tree planting season in 2015. This initiative has impacted a total land of about 1144 hectors inside and out side the forest reserve.

Awareness Activities

Action for Environmental Sustainability (AfES) and Misuku Beekeepers Association (MBA) is raising awareness of the need for conservation among community members in and around the Wlindi-Matip and Mughese forest reserves in Malawi.

Traditional dances and songs used in awareness event

Village savings and Loans (VSL)

AfES & MBA have also established a village savings and loan (VSL)/Community Bank system to support the sustainable use of natural resources; 20 VSL groups with more than 350 community members have been established in 41 communities around the reserve.

Women of a village savings and loan bank posing for a photo