Malawi and the work of WUS Canada, 1981 – present

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. 

Moving Forward 

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. 

Author profile
Charles Mphande

Dr. Charles Mpande’s contact with WUS has been through WUS Canada’s Malawi program, first meeting Canadian volunteer teachers when he was a school principal in Malawi, where he was born. He studied in Malawi, the UK and Australia. While in Malawi, he taught in high schools and rose to Principal class during which time he interacted with Canadian volunteer teachers from Canada to Malawi. He went on to be a teacher trainer before he joined Chancellor College, University of Malawi, then he left for Australia where he is now a Senior Lecturer in Community Studies at Victoria University, his alma mater. Further, he is a member of the Pan-African Australasian Diaspora Network (PAADN) which has been actively engaged in African Union together with the United Nations’ matters pertaining to the International Decade of People of African Descent, and African diaspora engagement with Africa. As a Council member of PAADN, he is working with the African Union towards greater Australia and Africa partnerships among the African diaspora.

Author profile
Godfrey Mphande

Godfrey Mphande is a development practitioner who has worked in international development for more than 20 years with the Canadian International Development Agency (now Global Affairs Canada) and Amnesty International. Since January 2018 he has been the Country Director for World University Service of Canada (WUSC) in Malawi. Working through a diverse network of partners, WUSC works to improve education, economic, and empowerment opportunities for young people.