There are numerous volunteer opportunities in Malawi. A good initial contact is Volunteer Abroad (www.volunteerabroad.com), which has listings of current options. Otherwise, local grass-roots opportunities include the following:
Billy Riordan Memorial Trust (www.billysmalawiproject.org) Has an established clinic in Cape Maclear and provides medical care in the area. The trust needs medical volunteers (doctors, dentists, nurses, lab technicians etc).
Butterfly Space Involved in a number of projects in Nkhata Bay, as is neighbouring Mayoka Village.
Cool Runnings Involved in a variety of projects in the Senga Bay area.
Panda Garden Based in Cape Maclear, Panda Garden is always on the lookout for divers and others to help with bilharzia research in the lake.
Ripple Africa (www.rippleafrica.org) Recruits volunteer teachers, doctors, nurses and environmental workers for projects in the Chintheche district.
Wildlife Action Group (www.wag-malawi.org) Uses volunteers to assist in the management and maintenance of forest reserves near Salima.
Most opportunities for foreigners are in the aid and tourism industries. To find work in tourism such as managing a lodge or teaching diving, check the businesses' websites for recruitment notices and send your CV on spec. You will likely work informally, at least initially, entering the country on a tourist visa and being paid cash or into your bank at home. Your employer can help you obtain a temporary employee permit after you've arrived in Malawi.
There is much to be said for being on the scene; making contacts, showing your enthusiasm to get involved and demonstrating your passion for Malawi will open doors. Of course, working here is all about the experience of living in Africa and pay will be minimal, although the package may include board and lodging.
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