Considering a volunteer placement in Malawi? Ganet’s Adventure School is a great place to start if you are independent and want to make a real difference in a community. It’s a very progressive village school which welcomes volunteers and is a great way to learn about village life in Africa.
“Having travelled the length of Africa, this the best run and most worthwhile such project which I came across. The children’s exuberance and desire to learn is infectious. After being taught mainly by female teachers, it took a couple of days to stop the kids calling me ‘madam’, but I didn’t take it personally!” Steve, UK
What kind of placements can I do?
We tailor each placement to the volunteer and to the needs of the school, to ensure that you do something worthwhile for the school and for you. Placements are arranged to take into account your interests and experience. These are some of the possibilities:
- Teaching assistant (you can choose to specialise in different subjects)
- Working on permaculture garden or construction projects
- Working on crafts/small business projects with the mothers group
- Let us know if you have other ideas for projects or placements!
How do I apply to volunteer?
In the first instance, email firstname.lastname@example.org telling us a little about yourself, including what you might want to do at the school and if possible a CV/resumé. Then we will be in touch with further details and then can arrange to call you to answer your questions. From there we will put you in contact with Gertrude Banda, the school’s director, who will agree with you on a suitable placement at the school.
What are classes like?
The school teaches the Malawian government curriculum for primary schools, and currently teaches primary school classes for Standards Five, Six and Seven. Lessons you are involved in will be taught in English. Class sizes are under twenty, which allows teachers to spend plenty of time with each pupil and improves results. Many schools in Malawi have over 100 pupils in a class!
Subjects include: English, Mathematics, Science, Health Education, Social Studies, Agriculture, Physical Education, General Studies, Music, Creative Arts and Religious Education
How long do placements last?
You can volunteer from two weeks up to six months or more, depending on how long you want to stay and what project you are working on.
Where do I stay?
We recommend that volunteers stay in Nkhata Bay, which is around 4km away from the school. Nkhata Bay is right by the beautiful Lake Malawi, and there are various backpacker lodges to stay at. From Nkhata Bay you can cycle or take a minibus to Mkondezi village. Living costs range from about $10 per day, although it for longer placements it may be possible to rent a house in Mkondezi village or Nkhata Bay, which would reduce this figure.
What other costs are there?
To ensure that volunteers are not a burden on the school’s scant resources, volunteers are asked to make a donation to the school. All of this money goes direct to the school, and goes towards staffing, construction and materials.
Is this volunteering scheme part of a profit-making company?
No, Ganet’s Adventure School is a small village school which is subsidised by its supporters around the world, and your placement is arranged direct with the school. In the UK, Ganet’s Adventure School Fund is a charitable trust which as part of its work helps to put volunteers in contact with the school.
When is the school open?
Semesters roughly follow those of the UK, with the first semester lasting from September to December, then the second runs from January until Easter and the final semester runs from Easter until June. Contact us for exact term dates.
Is it safe?
Malawi is a beautiful, peaceful country, with friendly, welcoming people. Mkondezi village (where the school is) is a welcoming place, and Nkhata Bay (where volunteers stay) is a lively town. As long as you take sensible precautions, you are unlikely to have any problems with crime.
What about health?
You are responsible for your own health, and will need to get the appropriate vaccinations before you travel, arrange your own health insurance and also bring your own malaria medication and any other medications you may require. Healthcare is available in nearby Nkhata Bay and Mzuzu (1 hour’s travel away).
What else do I need to do before I go?
You will need to arrange your own visas if needed, and don’t forget to bring a smile!