SVA Malawi Nancholi
Malawi is a small landlocked country in southeast Africa with a population close to 16 million people. 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 also many other regional languages. 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. The current president is called Joyce Banda who made history when she became the first female president of Malawi.
Malawi is ranked as one of the world’s least developed countries. It is currently struggling with combating the growing problem of HIV/AIDS as well as trying to develop the economy and tackle poverty. Around 11-14% of the population are living with HIV, which is a huge percentage when when compared with a developed country such as the UK where only 0.2% of people live with HIV.
Although it is generally considered politically stable, Malawi experienced some anti-government riots in the summer of 2011.
Aims of the previous Project
The aims of the project included:
1. Teaching a variety of subjects in local primary and secondary schools
2. Working in the community through being involved with various youth groups, home care programmes and other social activities
3. Launching new health-related programmes and expanding on those which have already been established
4. Continuing to support our NGO
Details of the Project
The project was based in the township of Nancholi, about 8km from the city of Blantyre, in southern Malawi. Volunteers worked with a local NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) called Nancholi Youth Organization (NAYO).
The volunteer work will consisted of several main elements:
Volunteers will be expected to teach each week day in local primary and secondary schools, with the opportunity to teach and work with young offenders and local orphanages. Teaching can encompass English, Maths, Art, Creative Writing and Music and is considered one of the most rewarding parts of the project. During the 2013 project, a link was established between the Youth Group and Bvumbwe Young Offenders to share their talents in Music, Dancing, Sports and Acrobatic skills.
2. Community Work
Volunteers will have the opportunity to work with and expand on existing youth groups and awareness groups within Nancholi. Youth Groups can encompass numerous activities such as art, sport or music; while awareness groups include a sexual health awareness group and a female empowerment group. Volunteers will also have the opportunity to work in local community programmes such as home-based care, which is provided for those who are HIV positive. In the past, volunteers have helped set up sports teams and provided equipment in order to bring young people together and promote cultural exchange.
3. Health Programmes
Previous projects in Nancholi have focused heavily on providing resources and education for health related projects; including a village-based clinic built with SVA sponsorship in 2011 and Malaria, TB and HIV awareness and prevention projects launched in 2012. Volunteers will have the opportunity to expand on existing projects and launch new health-related projects.
4. The NGO
Much time was taken in the 2013 project to help the NGO to improve on their existing website, social media and office-based skills. Volunteers helped with IT and Journalism skills including writing blogs and sharing information in order for the NGO to reach a global audience. With the forthcoming addition of a new office and a resource centre there will be more opportunities for volunteers to aid the local community.
SVA has a huge focus on sustainability; this is clear in our desire to maintain and expand on existing projects as opposed to establishing entirely new projects. This focus on sustainability will also partially require the establishment of some income-generating activities, to keep the project going independently.
NGO: Nancholi Youth Organisation
Nancholi Youth Organisation is a small organisation that has just recently gained the status of NGO. It is situated in the heart of Nancholi and ran by people who are from the village themselves. Their main focuses are Youth and Health work, and despite the young age of NAYO they are always forward planning and coming up with new innovative ideas to benefit their home town.
For more details and current issues on Malawi, please visit
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SVA is a Scottish Registered Charity: No. SC 030081 c/o. University of Glasgow SRC, The John MacIntyre Building, University of Glasgow, GLASGOW, G12 8QQ