Malawi is calling
Malawi is a small country in south east Africa with a population of close to 16 million. It is often referred to as ‘the warm heart of Africa’ due to the friendly nature of its people. The official languages are English and Chichewa, although there are many other regional languages spoken. Malawi is heavily reliant on agriculture and its main export is tobacco. Malawi is home to the third largest lake in Africa, Lake Malawi, as well as the third highest mountain in Africa, Mountain Mulanje.
Malawi gained independence from Britain in 1964, and a 30 year long period of one-party rule under President Hastings Kamuzu Banda followed. Banda lost power in 1993 and Malawi held its first democratic multiparty election in 1994. Although it is generally considered politically stable, Malawi experienced some anti-government riots in the summer of 2011. Following this, the previous president, Bingu Wa Mutharika died in 2012. After presidential disputes Joyce Banda, the first female president of Malawi, gained presidency in May 2012, bringing a huge change to Malawi’s democratic government. Malawi is currently struggling with combating the rapidly growing problem of HIV/AIDS as well as trying to develop the economy and tackle poverty. Malawi is one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world.
AIMS OF THE PROJECT
DETAILS OF THE PROJECT
The project will take place for 7 weeks with the option to travel either side of these dates. The exact details of the project this summer are being finalised but it will be similar to last summers project which worked with the following organisations detailed below.
Disability support group
Volunteers will work with a community based organisation, FDYD, which provides support for the disabled youth. The Forum of Development for Youth with Disabilities (FDYD) was established in 2009 with an aim to create an environment for young people with disabilities to exchange personal experiences and discuss current issues that affect the disabled youth of today. FDYD welcomes anyone aged between 7 and 40. FDYD also welcome the parents of those with children with disabilities to come along to find support and share experiences.
Volunteers role within FDYD will be to work with the youth on various activities such as educational workshops, sport exercises, art sessions and various outdoor activities such as growing vegetables. In 2014 volunteers funded the build of a new classroom block for FDYD which allowed for the transition of sessions taking place in the owners home to an established classroom block with space for everyone, an office and an extra room in which the youth can learn computer skills.
Volunteers will work alongside local women that are involved with the organisation CECOWDA. The local women and volunteers will meet weekly to discuss different topics such as gender equality. Volunteers will also work with the women to organise a women’s empowerment day which proved to be very successful in 2014. This will include debates between different generations taking place as well as various performances which highlighted the talent the women and girls in the community have. Working with CECOWDA allows volunteers to promote cultural exchange and form friendships for life.
The Umunthu Foundation (NGO) is supported by AVERT to help tackle the problem of HIV/AIDS in Bangwe, Malawi. The Umunthu foundation offers free HIV testing and counselling. Volunteers will have the opportunity to participate in weekly session with local women that are currently living with HIV. The women we work with are very keen to teach volunteers traditional dancing and cooking methods. Volunteers will be expected to exchange some of our culture. In the past we have danced to ceilidh music and cooked traditional dishes. Discussions will also take place to discuss differences and similarities between our cultures.
Orphan care Centres
Volunteers will be working with local orphan care centres to help secure sustainable donations that will help improve the health of the children and tackle malnutrition. Previous years have seen the success of monthly donations of money, rice and eggs to support the centres
Every weekend volunteers will have the opportunity to travel around Malawi, exploring all the cultural sights that it has to offer. In the past volunteers have visited:
Previous activities volunteers have taken part in include:
Project costs to be fundraised are approximately £6000, although fundraising is split up into two parts. £300 will be raised through individual events such as sponsored cycles, car boot sales etc and £3000 is done as a group throughout the year through group events. Flights will cost approximately £700 and vaccinations/anti-malarial medication will cost between £100 and £200 depending on your doctor’s recommendations. Insurance for your time out there will also have to be considered.
This year the Malawi Bangwe project is taking 10 volunteers.
NGO: UMUNTHU FOUNDATION
P.O. Box 90372
Bangwe, Blantyre 9
Cell: (265) (0) 888 868 031