Get sporty in Africa!
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Duration: 4-12 weeks
Trip code: MASC
Become a teaching and sports coach volunteer in primary and secondary schools by magical Lake Malawi and make a difference to the lives of local Malawian kids. Most of our Malawi teaching placements require that you attend a weekend TEFL course in preparation, so you'll add a coveted teaching qualification to your CV as well as gaining valuable teaching and sports coaching experience. Explore the magical country of Malawi in your free time and discover the wonders of Africa on this rewarding volunteer trip.
Maximum group size 12.
Introduction and Orientation
Arriving at your volunteer house on a Monday evening, you’ll have the rest of the night to settle in, catch up on any jetlag, try out a little local flavour at dinner and meet the other volunteers you’ll be staying with.
The next morning, Tuesday, we give you the day to prepare for your Malawian life, and will provide an orientation covering all the basic things you’ll need to know about the area, and how to get along here on a day-today basis.
Covering a range of topics, this introduction will let you know about the following –
After lunch you’ll take a tour of the local area and the town so you have a chance to familiarise yourself with the area. At the local market you’ll have a chance to begin your Malawian trip in style and blend in to your new surroundings, with the chance to buy some local material to make a wrap around skirt.
During your time teaching your daily routine will vary as there’s a lot of different material to be taught! As with our regular teaching programme, your mornings will be spent in the classroom, assisting teachers and teaching basic curriculum subjects. In the afternoons however, you’ll split off from the regular structure, and instead of helping out with extra-curricular clubs and activities, focus entirely on coaching sports. For your first few days in the classroom, you’ll most likely remain an observer as you adapt to alternative teaching methods, larger class sizes, get to know your class and teacher, and figure how you’ll be most useful. Keep your eyes peeled though and remain proactive, as it’s always helpful to get stuck in as much as you can and as soon as possible to make the most of your volunteering experience! At first you’ll start out by assisting, but as your confidence grows, or if you’re a bit of a specialist in a particular area, you’ll have the opportunity to start creating lesson plans, and lead classes yourself.
Volunteers will mainly be working in a teaching role in local primary schools, however, if your teaching skills are a little more advanced you may have the opportunity to extend your educational reach and help out some older students in secondary schools, and you will coach sports in the afternoons.
For an idea of your average day, you’ll need to be prepared for an early start as the Malawian school day begins and ends earlier than in the UK - you’ll need to leave for your placement by 7am. By 11am you should have finished your morning’s teaching and be able to take a leisurely lunch break during the hottest part of the day. Between Monday and Thursdays, afternoon sports start up and are usually rocking on by the time it’s cooled off a little, sometime between 2pm and 3. By 5pm your day will be done, and you’ll be back at the volunteer house for a well earned rest. Friday afternoon is your designated free-time, so go ahead and enjoy an early start to your weekend!
Helping out with the sports and games clubs, you’ll be letting off a little steam with friendly games of football, rounders, netball, volleyball, or any other games or inventions you can come up with – feel free to use your imagination! If you are particularly talented in a particular area, have a specific interest in, or are qualified to coach sports, then this programme should be perfect for a volunteer like you.
You are not expected to do anything you are uncomfortable with during your trip, so if you have a problem with standing up in front of a class full of kids at first, don’t worry, you can still address the problem of large class sizes and ensure that all of the children are receiving sufficient attention ad help! If you do feel uncomfortable at any stage, please do not hesitate to ask for help from your class teacher.
The school holidays run with a fairly similar structure to the UK, though the dates are less rigid. The longest holiday is in the summer, with shorter ones at Easter and Christmas, but don’t worry – you can still help out during the holidays! The school runs morning activities and some lessons during the breaks which are organised and initiated by volunteers, with the support of the project coordinators and school heads. Teaching Arts & Crafts, music, drama, helping improve English and reading skills, giving wildlife and environment classes as well as helping organise and coach sports, your input during the holidays is highly valued as it helps to keep a lot of children off the streets and gives them something valuable to do, keeping them out of trouble. Of course, as with any children worldwide you’ll need to be motivated enough to keep your classes interesting, and keep the children coming – it is the school holidays after all!
Free time (Friday afternoons and weekends) can be spent on a number of things, and as your volunteer house is right on the banks of Lake Malawi, swimming through the sparking waters after a hot day is especially popular. Otherwise, you’ll have the chance to just relax at the house, or take a trip to see a little more of the area. Weekend excursions are not included in the price, though for around £100 you will receive transportation, 2 nights accommodation, three meals a day and have a staff member with you to act as a guide. Trips can be paid for locally, and include wildlife spotting in Liwonde National Park, water sports, boat rides and beach relaxation at Cape Maclear - a popular tourist village, and a forest and horse trek experience in the forests of the Zomba Plateau.
Once your booking is confirmed, you should arrange to fly into Lilongwe International Airport (LLW) where a member of our project staff will meet you and take you to the volunteer house at Lake Malawi, around three and a half hours drive from the airport. You will also be driven back to the airport at the end of your stay.
You must arrive before 14:00pm on your project start date. That way you’ll have the rest of the night to settle in, catch up on any jetlag, try out a little local flavour at dinner and meet the other volunteers you’ll be staying with before the orientation and tour on the Tuesday. If you arrive outside of this time/ date we will have to arrange a private transfer for you which costs USD175 per person (one way). This is payable to the in-country project co-ordinator
As the airport is some hours from the project, your return flight at the end of your programme must be booked for after 11am on your end date.
Fourteen kilometres south of Money Bay, you’ll be staying in our lakeside volunteer house in a rural village in the Mangochi District at the southern end of Lake Malawi. Fenced and gated to offer privacy and security, the house is safe and comfortable with plenty of space and garden areas to enjoy the sunshine and look out on the lake. Bedrooms are shared and spacious with bunk beds and mosquito nets, and either have en-suite bathrooms or a shared bathroom with western style facilities. Water for your shower will be cold, but welcome after hot day’s work! Electricity is usually available, but you should bear in mind that power cuts, lasting for anything up to a few hours or longer, are a common occurrence. Mosquito nets will be provided at your volunteer house.
A cook at the house will prepare all your meals, a housekeeper will attend to all cleaning (although volunteers are expected to do their bit to keep the house tidy and clean up after themselves), and night watchmen will be at hand for that added bit of security. With three meals a day provided, you’ll have plenty to keep your mind and body active!
Your average breakfast selection will include toast or pancakes with tea or coffee, lunch will either be good old-school style packed lunch if you’re not returning to the house during the day, or be a self-service choice between pasta, soups or sandwiches. Dinner will be a hot meal, prepared in the house in the evenings by the cook. Most dietary requirements can be catered for, though ingredients and supplied be limited, seasonal or expensive, so be prepared a smaller variety of foods than you may be used to.
Please speak to the co-ordinator on arrival if you have specific dietary requirements or allergies. Please be aware you must take responsibility for your own allergies and carefully monitor the food that you consume.
You don’t need to bring water purification tablets on this trip unless you want to keep a few spare, as all water will be boiled and filtered for you while you are here. Alternatively, you can buy your own supply of bottled water.
To get to your teaching placement, you’ll either walk or be driven in the project’s vehicle – this of course varies depending on which school you are teaching at.
The minimum age to participate in this hugely rewarding experience is 18.
To teach in most of our school placements in Malawi you will first need to complete a basic weekend TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course (this is not included in the trip price, but is available for an extra cost). Even if you have previous experience or other limited teaching experience we would still recommend this course as skills can only be improved, and it will help you gain some alternative knowledge and confidence before your trip! We can help you to arrange this.
Any sporting or coaching skills you have would be a plus here, but are not a necessity. Simple enthusiasm and a love of sport and teaching are all that we require for you to coach our teams!
During your working day, first (and continued) impressions count, as Malawian classroom appearance asks that you remain modestly dressed during working hours. Women should wear long skirts (below the knee) and keep shoulders and cleavage covered, whereas men are expected to wear smart trousers, and a shirt with a collar.
To really get the most out of this placement you’ll need to be able to keep yourself positive, have a good sense of humour, strong communications skills, patience, be proactive, motivated, have a love of kids and education, and be willing to get yourself involved! Add in some creativity, a couple of eggs and a pinch of salt and you’ve got yourself one delicious volunteer Teacher cake!
Lastly, if you wish to make improvements, or have any positive suggestions to contribute during your stay you should remember to remain respectful and considerate to alternative cultural views and beliefs. Levels of judgement on what is, or is not appropriate, and difference of opinion are things which you should expect and be prepared to encounter along the way. If you have any suggestions or want advise over a situation you are uncomfortable with, please remember to discuss it with the project co-ordinators – they have years of experience and are full of valuable knowledge so don’t be afraid to approach them!
You will need to apply for a visa before you travel to Malawi. Visa rules are subject to change. Please check the Malawi High Commission website for up to date visa information.
On this particular programme, as you’ll be working with children, you’ll need to undergo an enhanced DBS previously known as CRB, or Criminal Record Bureau check and will need to have a clean criminal record.
DBS checks may list past convictions, cautions, reprimands, warnings, and if applicable will show whether or not you have been barred from working with certain vulnerable groups. Non-conviction information such as fixed penalties may also be included.
There is an addition cost for the DBS check, please speak to your travel advisor at the time of booking. The DBS process is in 3 stages:
1. Once we receive your booking payment, you will then be sent an online application link for the DBS check, which you will need to complete.
2. Once you have completed the application, the DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) will need verification of your identity - to do this you will need to take 3 original documents to your nearest crown post office and use their DBS and ID verification service. This costs approximately £5 and is payable directly to the Post Office.
3. Once the post office verification is done it usually takes up to 2 weeks for your DBS to be processed, and your DBS will be sent to you directly in the post.