Establishment and Motivation
Motivated by its global strategic development framework focused on education, economic opportunities and empowerment for women and youth, World University Service Canada (WUSC) was established in Malawi in 1981. Given Malawi was only fifteen years into its independence and republican status from Great Britain, WUSC considered the three focal areas were, and remain, relevant and well aligned with the developments needs and aspirations of Malawi. Given this was a period when Malawi hosted large numbers of refugees from neighbouring Mozambique, WUSC saw a direct relevance of the founding vision of a better world for all young people which is more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable in which all young people, especially women and refugees, are empowered to secure a good quality of life for themselves, their families, and their communities. They commenced work with a diverse network of students, volunteers, institutions, governments, and businesses to improve education, economic, and empowerment opportunities for young people.
Focal Areas and Impact
Although Mozambican refugees largely returned to Mozambique from the middle of the 1990s, another set of refugees from Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda found their way to Malawi. However, WUSC’s aims and objectives have remained more or less the same, they have been further refined to reflect a changing world and development needs in Malawi. In this regard, currently WUSC programs include:
- A Volunteer Cooperation Program (VCP) 2020 – 2027 that collaborates with and supports local partners in their efforts to deliver inclusive, innovative, and environmentally sustainable initiatives and services for vulnerable youth that also advance gender equality.
- Providing Canadian post-secondary education and resettlement opportunities to young refugees from Malawi’s Dzaleka refugee Camp. Some of these young people have gone to Canadian tertiary institutions.
Major partners that WUSC has worked with consistently and in some areas of focus include the following:
- Ministry of Education in providing volunteer high school teachers, and other provisions
- Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Authority
- Ministry of Health
- Ministry of Agriculture
- Numerous local NGOs in education, health, and agriculture
- Various stakeholders in the private sector
- Youth focused and youth-led organizations
- Women’s organizations
- Refugees and refugee-led and related organizations
- Social enterprises
- Other Government institutions
WUSC prides itself in having assisted and supported their local partner institutions to improve their capacity performance in service delivery related to the economic opportunities and empowerment of women and young people. However, WUSC is also quick to point out that Malawi being an overwhelmingly majority youth nation, their programs have not managed to reach the majority of young people due to a combination of limited resources and delivery capacity of their partners.
WUSC will continue working in Malawi to create a better world for all young people bringing together a diverse network of students, volunteers, schools, governments, and businesses who share their vision. In established and new partnerships, WUSC are determined to foster youth-centred solutions for improved education, meaningful participation in economic development, and in empowerment opportunities to reduce inequality, exclusion, or marginalisation in Malawi and around the world. The majority of young people live in regions and countries that continue to be disproportionately affected by global challenges, including economic insecurity, technological change, political uprisings, conflict, and climate change, where they are exposed to further exclusion, inequality, and vulnerability because of their age. WUSC is determined to play its part in Malawi and elsewhere to reduce the impact of such adverse conditions on young people, both women and men.