Coming to Malawi, I was not sure what to expect. Having travelled through a few African countries before landing in Malawi, I was expecting Lilongwe to be a fast-paced, high-intensity and stressful city. Whilst it is still a bustling capital, Lilongwe had an air of friendliness about it, that I had not been previously exposed to in Africa. Arriving in the country’s capital I was both excited and nervous about this part of my journey.
Throughout university I had dreamed of being involved in an organisation dedicated to sustainable development and undertaking an internship with Empower Malawi is the perfect beginning to a career in social impact. Not only will my internship allow me to see a different side of this hectic continent but it will also expose to the reality of working in sustainable development in Africa. Before my arrival, I had heard that Malawi was poverty stricken, yet still, I was surprised at the lack of access to basic services like food, water, housing, and electricity.
I have only been at the office for 2 days now and already I am starting to grasp how Empower Malawi’s projects are changing lives for every day Malawians. The organisation has running 5 major projects in the rural region of Kapita, but for me, the most impressive project is the Earthship Community Centre. The centre is built entirely out of waste and recyclable products such as plastic bottles, tires, and mud. It has 8 rooms, each used for different purposes and supplies nearby villages with clean and usable sanitation facilities. Not only does the centre provide the community with a bank, clean water, electricity, and lighting, but two of the rooms are used as a preschool, giving women the time to focus on entrepreneurial pursuits. I am very much looking forward to heading out to Kapita tomorrow and witnessing the project first hand.
I am learning more about living and working in Malawi every day, and I am excited to see what the next couple of weeks have in store.