Volunteer

Want to volunteer?

Over the years MOET has had volunteers from the UK, Germany, Canada, USA, Italy, and more. There is plenty to help with at the school – whether it’s teaching, admin, permaculture, sport – however you can make yourself useful. You will be working alongside teachers and staff, under the guidance of Mr Majonanga, the school’s director. As well as helping out at school, volunteers can be very useful by carrying out tasks on behalf of FOMOE and maintaining contact with us here in the UK.

Photos of some of our more recent volunteers at work:

Johannes Volunteer pic - British Council Exchange teacher Jane with daughter Daisy (aged 10) Volunteer pic - Kate with MOET children Sue, Hilary and Kate

Johannes                                             Teacher Jane with daughter Daisy                      Kate                                  Sue, Kate & Hilary

What you need to know:

  • Volunteers are not required to pay anything for the volunteering itself. The only costs are your own travel to Malawi, (which you will have to arrange), immunisations, DBS check (£7), accommodation (which FOMOE can help to arrange: most visitors stay in the volunteer cottage) and some spending money
  • Volunteers must be over 18, and committed to making a contribution to the school’s work.
  • We encourage volunteers to fundraise and raise awareness as much as possible for FOMOE before going out to MOET
  • Whilst volunteering we expect regular updates/photos/videos to use in our marketing to inspire others

In the past, we have found that the volunteering programme has been really worthwhile for both visitors and the school. MOET is a warm-hearted, lively and welcoming place.

You’ll be sure to have more questions all this!   MORE INFORMATION can be found in our Volunteering FAQs below.

Want to know more detail?

Contact Kate Bernard – past volunteer and now FOMOE’s Volunteer Co-ordinator. Please send her an email: volunteer@fomoe.org.

FAQs

 

What will I be doing?

This will vary depending on your skills, what you’d like you get involved with, what the staff need help with, and how long you’re staying.

It is likely to include:

WORK WITH THE CHILDREN

  • Helping in classrooms.

Most lessons are taught in English. Children in Standard 5 and upwards are usually good enough to communicate with! It will be particularly useful for you to help in English classes. If you’re comfortable with taking some of your own lessons, the teachers and children appreciate this! The teacher may allocate you a certain topic. Bringing your own ideas for new ways to learn and teach will be welcomed.

  • Helping with school clubs

School clubs meet on Thursday afternoons. There is plenty you could get involved with: including AIDS awareness, drawing, reading, permaculture, and more. See the video on Fomoe’s Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Fo9byJCSAs.

  • Vocational skills

MOET has a vocational skills programme in the afternoons for children in Standard 5 and upwards. The school has a few computers and volunteers can be really useful by teaching basic IT skills to small groups at a time. The school also has a piano – if you’re at all musical, MOET choir needs someone to revive it! See Fomoe’s Youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2INiupFAYco&spfreload=10

  • Sports

If you’re into sport you could to get involved on Thursdays or at breaktime – it’s mainly netball, basketball and football, but the kids (and teachers) love learning new games too!

OTHER

  • Ex-MOET students

The school encourages its former students to come back to MOET for extra support. It would be really useful to be able to teach IT skills to these guys.

  • Permaculture

As well as in school, MOET delivers permaculture training and resources in surrounding villages. See ‘The Projects’ section of the FOMOE website. This is something you could go along and contribute to as a volunteer.

  • FOMOE Stuff

Because we’re a UK-based charity, we find it really useful to have a volunteer out in Malawi! In the past, volunteers have helped with admin in the school office, improving communication for the secondary school sponsorship programme, and providing news and photos for the website. We will agree a list of FOMOE tasks with you before you go.

 

So… there’s lots for volunteers to do! Your own interests, ideas and contributions then will also be welcomed. It’s up to you how much you take on. MOET staff are really grateful for the help, but you’re not expected to stay all day every day.

Where will I stay?

Volunteers can stay in Mpemba cottage. We can help you arrange this through Mr Majonanga, MOET’s director.

LOCATION

  • The cottage is right on the shore of Lake Malawi – the beach is at the bottom of the garden.
  • It’s 15 minute’s cycle ride from the school (bikes provided).
  • It’s in a fenced-off compound, shared with a friendly Malawian family. Sayiwala (the dad) is the watchman and will help you out with things.
  • You can find the rough location if you type in

‘Makokola Retreat’ to Google maps. (This is a hotel 2 minutes walk down the beach – which has wifi)
It’s about half an hour away from Mangochi town.

Lakeside_Volunteer page                       Malawi map_volunteer page

FACILITIES

  • Fairly basic but fine
  • Kitchen has hob, fridge, and freezer
  • No washing machine – can hand wash in the sink or in the lake
  • 2 double bedrooms, 2 toilets, 1 shower

Mr Majonanga will correspond with the owner and propose a price.

This depends on how long you’re staying.

Likely to be around £90 a month

 Cottage pic 3_volunteer page  Cottage pic 2_volunteer page  Cottage pic 4_volunteer page

Other information

What about travel?

  • It’ll be down to you to sort your flights out – best to fly to Lilongwe.  On arrival you will have to pay for an entry visa (£65 or $75). See https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/malawi/entry-requirements, and the Malawi high commission website : http://www.malawihighcommission.co.uk/index.php/visa
  • There are buses from Lilongwe to Mangochi town
  • However if you’re staying for a long time it may be best to ask Mr Majonanga to pick you up from the airport and pay him back for petrol.
  • Whilst staying in Malawi you can get around on foot, by bicycle, by bicycle taxi, or matola (public trucks). If you want to get into Mangochi town, Patterson has a truck and is often going to/from there if you need a lift.
  • Minibuses run from Mangochi to Monkey Bay, Lilongwe, Blantyre, Salima, Liwonde, and more.

Where can I shop?

  • There is a good market a five minute cycle ride away in Makawa, where you can find stalls selling fruit and veg, and shops with bread, rice, crisps (dry food etc.). You can also buy stuff like soap, washing up liquid, washing powder, SIM card credit and more.
  • For more of choice, you can go to People’s, a small supermarket in Maldeco, which you can get a bicycle taxi to. You can get most things there – from baked beans to peanutbutter! They also sell big bottles of drinking water.
  • For getting money out, there’s an ATM at the Standard Bank in Mangochi which takes Visa or Mastercard.

  Can I go on my own?

  • Volunteers in the past have been alone. It’s do-able! The community is safe and welcoming. You’ll get to know people.

What happens if I fall ill?

  • FOMOE and MOET School cannot take any responsbility for your health during your stay in Malawi – that is entirely your responsibility. However, if you do fall ill when you’re there, Patterson will make sure you’re not alone in dealing with it. There is a good clinic in Koche, very near MOET. For more serious issues, Blantyre hospitals are about 3 hours away.
  • Make sure you have comprehensive health insurance, including emergency repatriation.
  • Contact with lake water carries a risk of bilharzia (a parasitic infection transmitted by snails found in some parts of the lake). We advise that you do some research before going to be aware of this, and visit a clinic while you’re there to discuss protection against bilharzia. It is possible to take preventative medicine. Be aware that the shower water in the volunteer cottage is sourced from the lake.
  • All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.

Internet access?

  • There’s wi-fi in the MOET School office, can also be accessed from the library. It’s sometimes slow and unreliable but fine most of the time!
  • The cottage doesn’t have wi-fi but if you feel you need it you can get a data package with a local SIM card, or go across to the Makokola Retreat and buy wi-fi time there.
  • The fastest wi-fi on the lakeshore can be found at Nkpola Lodge which is a short bike ride from MOET.

Leisure

  • Make the most of being in Malawi! Cape Maclear and Liwonde National Park are both worth a visit. Ask Kate for more info on how to arrange:  volunteer@fomoe.org

 Pre-departure information

 

Fundraising

  • We ask you to fundraise as much as possible for Fomoe before (and after!) your trip. 100% of money donated to Fomoe goes to support MOET.
  • Past fundraising by volunteers has included sponsored walks (including Hadrian’s wall and the 3 peaks challenge), the ‘Live Below the Line’ challenge, public charity events, a local radio appeal, and more.
  • For ideas and support with your fundraising, past volunteer Kate Bernard will be very happy to help.

Donated items

 

As well as funds, MOET School really appreciates donated items if you are going out to visit

  • Clothes, bags, shoes and stationery are always useful for the children.
  • Before you go, ask FOMOE about the schools specific needs at that time.
  • If you’re able to find a second hand laptop that would be amazing.
  • Depending on the airline you fly with, baggage allowance is usually very generous. For Ethiopian Airlines and South African it’s 2 bags of 23kg! So you should have plenty of room.

Packing

  • For guidance on what to take, see the packing list below:

 

Essentials:

  • Phone
  • Boarding passes
  • Passport
  • Travel insurance
  • Cash
  • Credit/debit card
  • List of emergency contacts

Clothes:

  • T shirts
  • Shorts
  • Long skirts
  • Baggy trousers
  • Fleeces
  • Waterproof coat
  • Sunhat
  • Swimsuit

Health products:

  • Suncream
  • Insect repellent
  • Mosquito net
  • Anti-malaria medication
  • Paracetemol/Ibruprofen
  • Plasters
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Oral rehydration tablets
  • Insect bite cream
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Tissues
  • Toiletries (can buy shampoo etc locally)

Other:

  • Towels
  • Camera
  • Chargers
  • Books
  • Torch
  • Clothes pegs
  • String
  • Sunglasses
  • Rucksack
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