Ripple Africa run eight pre-schools, support six primary schools and a secondary school and run a community library, adult education and children’s corner programme so if you are looking for a volunteer teaching role in Africa, look no further.

Early years professional teaching at pre-school
Teaching colours at pre-school
Teacher Emma reads at a pre-school in Malawi
Reading time with Emma
Kade plays netball in Malawi at primary school.
Sports time with Kade

Who

Qualified teachers or early years professionals or volunteer trainee teachers of any subject at any level, although we will also consider applicants who have been educated to degree level. It is important to have a genuine interest in making a worthwhile contribution and the ability to live in a rural environment while establishing a solid relationship with the local community. Enthusiasm for working with young people is also essential.

Our volunteers are aged 23 years upwards with at least one year’s post qualification experience of using their skills in the workplace.

Placement Length

We encourage a stay of a minimum of four weeks. The average volunteer placement is around three months which allows volunteers to establish solid relationships in the community and contribute a reasonable amount of time to the projects. For volunteer teachers, it allows them to complete one school term in most cases. It is important to recognise that, although the volunteers will benefit enormously from their experience volunteering with Ripple Africa at Mwaya, our main responsibility is to provide consistent and effective assistance to the community.

Volunteer Teacher in Malawi – Programme Coordination

It is very important to maintain consistency and continuity in relationships, projects and work already underway. For this reason, you will be introduced to the relevant teachers in the local schools by a member of our staff. We have an Education Volunteer Coordinator whose role is to assist you to find where you can be most useful and ensure continuity with the work that other volunteers have done. Education volunteers will also work with our Education Coordinator and our Pre-schools Coordinator depending on their role.

Term Dates

There are three school terms during the year for both primary and secondary schools. The academic year starts in September which is similar to the academic year in Europe. Term dates can vary slightly but are roughly:

  • Term 1: September to December
  • Term 2: January to March/April (depending on when Easter falls)
  • Term 3: April to July

If your volunteer teacher in Africa placement includes one or more of the term breaks, please be aware that there will be little work to do at the schools, although volunteers can and do organise additional clubs and classes for the holiday periods.

Pre-Schools

Ripple Africa runs eight local pre-schools and is looking for overseas volunteers who want to get involved at the pre-school level. Key facts about the pre-schools are:

  • each pre-school has its own building and three teachers
  • each pre-school has 40 to 60 children per day
  • typical ages are two to five years
  • basic lessons which provide a head start at primary school
  • lessons include English, numbers, shapes, literacy, health/hygiene, and moral development/religion
  • lessons are meant to be fun with lots of songs, dancing, interaction and playtime with toys and outdoors
  • sessions run from 7:30am to 10:30am Monday to Friday with tea and sweet potatoes given to all the children before they go home.

These are the areas that volunteers can help with:

  • assist the teachers to cope with class sizes of 40 to 60 children
  • introduce new songs and games
  • use basic English and maths to help the children improve
  • help teachers with their professional development by sharing their skills through training sessions and workshops.

Many volunteers love working with the pre-schools because the children are so happy, love attending school, and simply make it a delight to volunteer!

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer teacher in Malawi at any of the pre-schools, please read the section about Pre-schools in the document called Information for Teaching Volunteers for more details.

Kade supports primary school students to learn English
One-to-one teaching time
Volunteer teaching at secondary school in Africa
Sharing teaching time
Arts and crafts session at a primary school in Malawi
After school arts and crafts

Mwaya Primary School and Other Local Primary Schools

Primary schools in Malawi are free and open to all. As secondary education is highly competitive and relatively expensive, this is often the only education rural Malawians receive.

Mwaya Primary School is the closest primary school to Mwaya Beach, and:

  • is a 10 minute walk from Mwaya Beach
  • has about 1,000 pupils
  • has eight school years, referred to as Standards 1 to 8
  • typical ages are five to 15 years although some are much older
  • class sizes can be as large as 100 to 150
  • lessons are taught in English from Standard 5 upwards, which can be difficult for volunteers with students who are just learning to speak, write and understand English.

These are the areas where volunteers can help.

  • Assisting teachers with planning and lesson implementation.
  • Acting as teaching assistants to help cope with class sizes of over 100 students.
  • Helping teachers with their professional development by offering training.
  • Initiating or assisting with extra-curricular activities.
  • Giving extra lessons after school for keen students.

There are also opportunities to help at five other local primary schools, namely, Mazembe, Matete, Chiomba, Kachere, and Kazando. These schools are further from Mwaya Beach than Mwaya Primary School, but they can be reached on a bicycle quite easily. As with Mwaya Primary School, there are a very large number of students and only a few government teachers. Ripple Africa pays for Malawian trainee teachers at some of these schools as well as at Mwaya Primary School.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer teacher in Malawi at any of the primary schools, please read the section about Primary Schools in the document called Information for Teaching Volunteers for more details.

Jamie teaches offline computer science to secondary school students
Lessons at secondary school
Adult education lesson in progress with volunteer teacher
Supporting adult learners
A small group of secondary school pupils learn computers
Teaching computer skills

Secondary Schools

Ripple Africa has built and supports Kapanda Community Day Secondary School, and is looking for overseas volunteers to get involved at secondary level. The school:

  • is a 30 minute bicycle ride from Mwaya Beach
  • has four school years, referred to as Forms 1 to 4 – typical ages are 14 to 19 years
  • has about 50 students in each class, with its own classroom
  • has one of the few physics laboratory with science equipment in the north of Malawi
  • has a new computer laboratory
  • teaches all subjects in English with the exception of ChiChewa, the national language of Malawi
  • teaches subjects including English, maths, agriculture, physics, biology, geography, history, bible knowledge, social studies, and ChiChewa

These are the areas that volunteers can help with:

  • Assisting teachers with planning and lesson implementation.
  • Acting as teaching assistants to help cope with class sizes of 50 students.
  • Using specific subject knowledge to assist teachers and students.
  • Helping teachers with their professional development through training
  • Initiating or assisting with extra-curricular activities.
  • Giving extra lessons after school for keen students.

Please note that volunteers are not there to replace or take the jobs of Malawian teachers and give lessons themselves, but they are there to assist the current teachers and students.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer teacher in Malawi at the secondary school, please read the section about Kapanda Secondary School in the document called Information for Teaching Volunteers for more details.

How to Apply to be a Volunteer Teacher in Malawi

To find out how to apply to become a teaching volunteer with Ripple Africa, please go to the Application Process page, or complete the Enquiry Form.