Volunteer Malawi

EKARI welcomes you to join our team by volunteering in Malawi, Africa. We strictly adhere to the policies below in order to fulfill our Volunteer Program mission, which is working to empower those most in need in Phalombe, Malawi, Africa.

Volunteer Testimonial

Tina left her home and job in Germany to volunteer with EKARI Foundation for one and a half years starting in January 2014. To improve our administrative and program processes, Tina worked in our field office with our Malawi team, coordinated with our U.S. office on a regular basis, and spent time in the field monitoring our community programs. Learn more about volunteering in Malawi with EKARI Foundation by listening to Tina’s testimonial.

Length of Volunteer Appointment

Continuous 3 months; time of year to be determined based on volunteer job description. We currently accept individual volunteers (maximum 4 at a time) and volunteer groups (maximum 15 volunteers at a time) in Malawi.

Why 3 months?

EKARI Foundation believes that sustainable and lasting change occurs when local community members are empowered and supported to be change makers in their own communities. We believe that local community members have the potential to emerge from poverty through their own efforts and that our volunteer positions are designed for volunteers like you to come alongside communities, in humble service, to assist in harnessing that potential.

EKARI Foundation further believes that handouts and short-term time commitments create dependency from local community members on outside support and can minimize the communities EKARI aims to serve by neglecting to account for the skill, talent, knowledge, and resources communities have to contribute. EKARI’s approach is to encourage local community members to discover their potential and contribute to the development and success of their community, demonstrating that they have worth and something of value to share.

The time commitment that you pledge to as a volunteer for EKARI Foundation sends a message to the local community that they are worth investing in; that you want to learn from them and empower them to be change makers in their community. The yield with this approach is sustainable change.

Age Requirement

College junior or equivalent (minimum 2 years completed of higher education)


Accommodation is available at a nearby lodge or EKARI’s home.


To volunteer in Malawi, individuals are responsible for the cost of airfare to and from Malawi, travel insurance, and on-the-ground expenses including accommodation, food, internet, phone, visa, and medical among others.

Prices below are provided in Kwacha (MWK), Malawi’s currency. Exchange rates vary daily in Malawi. Volunteers are responsible for checking their country’s exchange rates against the Kwacha and for providing the Kwacha amounts listed below.

Volunteers should budget MWK150,000 to MWK300,000 total per month depending on choice of accommodation and amount of travel within Malawi. We can assist each volunteer to create a monthly budget. Items to include within a volunteer budget are listed below.

Accommodation and Food

Local accommodation at a nearby lodge is available for MWK5,000 per night; breakfast is included, but volunteer is responsible for lunch and supper, ~MWK2,000 per day. The total per month equals approximately MWK210,000.

There is an option for accommodation at EKARI’s home based upon availability and need. Accommodation at EKARI’s home is free; volunteers pay MWK85,000 per person per month for food and utilities.

Accommodation outside of volunteer activities to be covered by volunteer. A weekend stay in the nearby tourist town of Zomba may cost ~MWK35,000.


Volunteers pay MKW35,000 each way for transport by EKARI to and from the airport.

Depending on volunteer activities, we ask that volunteers provide an amount for transport to the field provided by our In-Country Director; ~MK10,000-MK40,000 per month. This does not apply to those volunteers who do not requiring field transport outside of our In-Country Director’s regularly scheduled visits to the field. Volunteers are responsible for field transport related to volunteer activities on public transport.

Transport outside of volunteer activities to be covered by volunteer. Phalombe is a rural community. A 2 hour bus ride to and from Blantyre, Malawi’s commercial capital, costs ~MWK6,000.


For internet access, there is a local internet cafe or volunteers can purchase a dongle for ~MWK12,000. Internet access using airtime will be needed for a majority of EKARI volunteer activities in order to report to our U.S. office. Plan on spending MWK15,000 per month.


There is a health clinic and hospital nearby; cost for regular visit ~MWK4,000 – MWK8,000.


Volunteers should also budget ~MWK25,000 per month for miscellaneous items such as extra food, personal airtime, transport to renew Visa, etc.

Volunteer Prep Course

Good intentions are not enough. This is why EKARI Foundation partners with Omprakash in order to prepare volunteers for their time in Malawi. Volunteers are required to participate in Omprakash EdGE, a four week online course that “… encourages participants to think critically about international aid and volunteering, and works to push back against problematic trends in ‘voluntourism’.” Omprakash created a unique course specifically geared toward EKARI Foundation’s volunteer program. The course cost is 250 USD; to be paid by volunteer. (EKARI can waive the requirement for this course if volunteer has extensive international volunteer experience.)


EKARI Foundation is a community-based, low budget organization that relies on the generosity of our supporters to continue to empower the students we support and their communities. Prior to volunteering in Malawi, we ask each volunteer to contribute and/or fundraise 100 USD to 250 USD (sliding scale based on volunteer’s ability to contribute and/or fundraise) on behalf of our organization.

Documentation Requirements

EKARI Requirements

In order to volunteer in Malawi, an applicant must complete a criminal background check or provide a police clearance certificate from country of origin (volunteer to cover cost), sign child protection policy, and sign waiver of release and liability – see below.

Malawi Visa Requirements (volunteer to confirm prior to entry):

A majority of volunteers will need to acquire a visa prior to entry into Malawi from their nearest Malawi Diplomatic Missions abroad office. Click here for information from Malawi’s Department of Immigration and click here for more information from the Malawi Tourism Guide website.

For a continued stay longer than 12 months, further documentation may be required. Volunteer to confirm.

Pre-Travel Requirements

Prior to volunteering in Malawi EKARI Foundation highly recommends that volunteers visit a travel clinic prior to departure for an update on vaccines and for medications. Malawi is a high risk area for malaria; please note that Doxycycline has been phased out in Malawi and is no longer used as a preventative drug for malaria.


During Volunteer Experience

We highly encourage volunteers to blog and post to social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter during their volunteer experience in Malawi.

Post Volunteer Experience

We highly encourage volunteers to correspond with community members that they created relationships with during their volunteer experience in Malawi. To protect volunteers and EKARI Foundation beneficiaries, all correspondence with EKARI Foundation beneficiaries must pass through EKARI Foundation. As part of our child protection policy, all correspondence with children encountered in a school setting or through one of our Complementary Student Programs, even those not supported by EKARI Foundation, must pass through EKARI Foundation. Correspondence with those adults outside of EKARI Foundation may occur at the volunteer’s own discretion. We highly encourage volunteers NOT to openly give out their personal information during their volunteer experience.

Post Volunteer Expectations 

EKARI Foundation expects that our volunteers will be our biggest advocates within their communities subsequent to their volunteer experience. To spread awareness, volunteers are required to support EKARI through social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, or by blogging.

Volunteer Malawi, Africa Job Descriptions

Volunteer activities will be agreed upon in advance based on Volunteer Job Descriptions, but are subject to change based on EKARI and volunteer need. Volunteer positions are not limited to the list below. If you do not see a volunteer position of interest to you, please contact us.

Research Assistant (Malawi)

Teaching Assistant/Student Mentor (Malawi)

Complementary Student Program Mentor (Malawi)

Process Improvement Mentor (Malawi)

Apply to Volunteer in Malawi, Africa

Step 1: Potential volunteer to contact EKARI Foundation about his/her interest in volunteering in Malawi.

Step 2: EKARI ‘meets’ with applicant in person, by phone, or via Skype to discuss volunteer’s interests and fit with EKARI’s volunteer program mission and needs as well as to review Volunteer Job Descriptions.

Step 3: Potential volunteer submits volunteer application to EKARI and reviews child protection policy and release and waiver of liability forms.

Child Protection Policy

Release and Waiver of Liability

Step 4: Applicant is considered and informed as to whether or not application has been accepted.

Step 5: Volunteer completes criminal background check with our partner, Verified Volunteers (Create an account and log in through the volunteers portal; select “Get Verified” and enter GOOD DEED code: shulsp5; Fill out the 4 steps, enter any necessary credit card information and click COMPLETE). OR volunteer provides a police clearance certificate from his/her country of origin. Once cleared, volunteer is accepted to EKARI Foundation Volunteer Program.

Step 6: Volunteer signs child protection policy and release and waiver of liability forms.

Step 7: Volunteer reviews Pre-Departure Volunteer Information (including Kretzmann & McKnight article).

Step 8: EKARI and volunteer finalize logistics of volunteer stay and activities.

Step 9: Volunteer takes action to empower the students and communities part of EKARI Foundation in Phalombe, Malawi, Africa!

Step 10: Volunteer becomes EKARI’s biggest advocate subsequent to volunteer experience through financial contributions and/or by spreading awareness to his/her community.

Learn more about our Programs