Everything you need to know about volunteering with us

(or at least everything we can think of!)

Tom volunteers his time to us and has a full time job. As a result sometimes there can be delays in responding to your emails. We hope you understand! We have put together some of the most common questions to help you.

Please ask any more questions here and we will add them. Thank you!


Introducing Play Football Malawi

We are delighted to be working in partnership with Swiss charity Play Football Malawi. Whilst we focus on buildings and infrastructure Play Football Malawi run coaching programmes for young people from two sites: Likuni and Lingadzi Academy. Play Football Malawi will co-ordinate your visit to Malawi. So once you have registered interest with us we will pass you on to the English director of Play Football Malawi George Maguire. George lives in Malawi and will be there when you arrive. 


Who is it for? 

Everyone is welcome to come and visit our projects in Malawi. We love welcoming visitors and also volunteers who wish to stay for an extended period of time. It doesn't matter how old or young you are, or your level of experience.


What will I do each day?

Most people will spend their time in Malawi:

All of the above activities are informal and completely dependent on your input.


It is a formal volunteer program?

No it is not a formal or a large volunteer program. The style is very informal; you turn up and muck in with whatevers going on at the time. Activities range from playing sport with the children, coaching, planting trees and helping construct whatever infrastructure is being built at that time. One of the team will also provide a tour of the land and point you in the direction of what else there is to see and do in beautiful Malawi.

How much does it cost to volunteer? 

To access our volunteer programme (minimum stay 1 week), a donation of £150 is required for the first week and £75 for subsequent weeks (if you wish to come for an extended period of time then we can disucss fee’s on a case by case basis). For this you will get access to our programmes at Likuni / Lingadzi Academies, a tee-shirt and local sim card (only one teeshirt and sim card per trip!). This donation also includes airport transfers. Please note, donation is required in advance to secure you volunteering place. Any other donations are welcomed, we always need footballs, football boots, kit, cones and any teaching equipment or resources! Fundraising is also encouraged before and after your time with us. All other costs are the volunteers including transport (bar airport transfers), food, drink, accommodation and medical costs.

What is Lingadzi Academy?

It is likely that you will spend your time at our latest and most exciting project Lingadzi Academy. Named after a river that runs through the capital Lilongwe where the academy is based. It is a 22 acre piece of land bought by Building Malawi for community sports use. It is the largest sports facility in Malawi. It meets the need or sports pitches, and library facilities in Lilongwe.

At present there is a small storeroom on the plot, a library building, a pavillion structure, playground, 4 football pitches, 1 hard court netball court (named Grace's Netball Court). There is also a large building adjacent that is used for teaching. In future we plan to build a school. 

Read more on our Lingadzi Academy Page - Click Here


Where is Lingadzi Academy?

Lingadzi Academy is on the western edge of the city of Lilongwe (the capital of Malawi). It is the closest point to the city that land this large can be found that hasn't been built on. It is situated in the bustling township of Mtandire which is easily accessible. For those of you that know Malawi it is very close to African Bible College and a 20 minute walk from the new mall which is currently being built.

Link to google maps image click here


How far is it from the accommodation to Lingadzi Academy? 

If you stay at Mabuya Camp or Kiboko Hotel it is a 20 minute bus ride followed by a 20 minute walk. (ask for a bus to 'Spearhead' - the nickname of where the main road meets the township). In total on public transport it is a 40 minute trip each way. By own transport it is 20mins to the ground. Although it is relatively close to the city, you feel like you are in the heart of a village!

You will be expected to pay for all of your transport costs to and from the ground.  This equates to about £1-2 per day.

See more about accommodation options here


How close is the nearest Medical Centre, Mall and Market?

It is a 25 minute walk to the nearest Medical Centre: African Bible College which is right nextdoor to a new shopping mall. Mtandire market is 5 minutes from the fields. 


What can I do to get involved?

We welcome your input if there is something in particular you fancy doing. For example if you have a syllabus in teaching hockey and you can take out all the equipment needed to transfer your skills. Please note, activities have to be inclusive of all, irrespective of religion, race, sex, tribe.


I'd like to come for a significant amount of time. Can I get involved in a long-term project?

Yes please! We have a number of initiatives we would like to develop at Lingadzi Academy and are always looking for people to spearhead them. These are best suited to people that can spend a significant amount of time (1-12 months) at the project and for people that have experience or skills that would suit. These include:


Can I volunteer and teach in a school?

We are due to begin construction on the Lingdazi Academy School in 2015. Currently there are no active teaching roles on site, but short term volunteers have the opportunity to teach. If you want a full-time teaching placement then we can try and find a place for you. 


I am a medic. Can you place me in a hospital?

No we can't. If you are a medic/nurse looking for such a project we recommend that you get in touch with Kamuzu Central Hospital or the African Bible College. Both are reasonably close to Lingdazi Academy.


Can the family come?  

We welcome all members of the family.


Can I visit Lingadzi Academy if i'm under 18? 

All volunteers at Lingdazi Academy travel at their own risk and expense. We would discourage single travellers under the age of 18 unless they are accompanied by an adult, or a wider group of travellers. 


Can a group of us visit together and work on a project together?

Volunteering with us is perfect for groups. School groups, overland buses and backpackers are all welcome. Who knows, you may well end up taking on the locals in a game of football, netball or volleyball! (We've even had a team of Ozzie's threaten to come and teach Aussie Rules Football). 


How much are Flights?
Around £600 from the UK. Depending on how far in advance you book you should expect to pay £400 - £700. The best deals are often found with Kenya Airways or Ethiopian. www.justtheflight.co.uk is a good place to start for a comparison and we often see if Flight centre and STA will outdo each other on price. At present there are no direct flights to Malawi - they route through Addis Ababa, Nairobi or Johannesburg. All are safe but boring airports!


How much is transport?

Right now it is very difficult to get hold of fuel. There are huge queues at petrol stations. It does mean that you cannot rely on getting fuel and that you will have to factor in more time for travelling around the country and be prepared for delays. You should also be prepared to pay a lot more for transport in times when fuel is scarce. Having said that it is not a completely debilitating situation. Just allow for more time and more expense!

How much will it cost in total?

Malawi can cater for any budget. You will be amazed at how far your money can go if you want it to and you will be amazed at the incredible things you can see and do on a reasonable budget. It's a tricky one to estimate buy generally if you're going for a 2 week trip it is likely that with everything included it will cost you around £1000. We guess that it would cost an additional £150 per week thereafter.  The best way to get an idea of costs is to get in touch with us. 

How much will food cost?

We estimate a typical combination of eating in and eating out will cost around of £30-50 per week. There are plenty of places to eat within walking distance of the main accommodation options in Lilongwe, this includes both local and expat style restaurants and cafes. The ground is also in the heart of Mtandire market where you can pick up local produce. 

When can I go?

We will welcome you at any time of year. Malawi is beautiful all year round and our projects are busy all the time with the locals! Dec-March is the rainy season and perfect for tree planting. From April to November it never rains!

How long can I visit/volunteer for?
You can get involved for as short or as long a time as you have available, at any time of the year, with as little or as much notice as you like! Many people visit for a week, some a day, some stay for months and even years!

Where can I stay?

Mabuya Camp - Is another good option and ideal for those that are after a cheap and cheerful option. It is in the city centre (approx 25 minutes by bus to the ground) (Transport costs around £1-2 per day) and has a great traveller atmosphere with a pool too, needed when it’s so hot! It's cheap and has a range of rooms, dorms and camping available.

Kiboko Hotel http://www.kiboko-safaris.com/framehotel.html is also a good mid-range option in the heart of the Lilongwe. 

Please read our page about where we recommend you stay in Lilongwe here

Do I need Vaccinations?

Yes. You will need to visit a health centre in the UK to arrange appropriate vaccinations and also anti-malarials. This may cost around £200. Also be aware that this is a private service offered by a surgery. Different surgeries charge different prices so shop around!

How much will it cost to travel around Malawi?

Travel with a tourist company can be expensive and hiring a vehicle is also expensive (approx £25 per day). We recommend jumping on the buses and having a real adventure! The Africa on a shoestring recommends a budget of $15-$20 per day but you can do it for far less than that. Or far more if luxury is your thing!

Can you collect us from the airport?

Yes! The Play Football Malawi team can meet you at the airport and drive you to wherever you decide to stay (probably mabuya camp). 

What next?

Get in touch with us and crack on and book your flights!

Please make sure you email us with your flight details as soon as you can and then make sure you email us again one week before you head out. We will welcome you at any time so don't worry too much but it is great to have reminders!

If you are already in Malawi or travelling overland then you can contact one of our team on the ground.

James Chilimampunga (Lingadzi Academy Director and Head Coach) +265 999 218 907

It doesn't matter how late notice it is. Turn up today if you like!


Please contact us with any further questions that you have here - Many thanks!


Hundreds of Photos from Lingadzi Academy Now On Facebook!

Friday 14th December 2012

Hi everyone, Building Malawi has been extremely fortunate to welcome many visitors and volunteers to Lingadzi Academy in Malawi. These wonderful folk have posted photos to our Facebook Page. Please check them out here: https://www.facebook.com/BuildingMalawi/photos_stream Be sure to like us on Facebook too! We would love it if you could visit Lingadzi Academy. We do not charge our volunteers. For more information check out our Volunteers page here: http://www.buildingmalawi.com/volunteer.html Best wishes from the entire team at Building Malawi! [caption id="attachment_103" align="alignnone" width="301" caption="Kids at Lingadzi Academy earlier this year"]Kids at Lingadzi Academy earlier this year[/caption]


to find us!