Interns can expect to work approximately 30 hours per week during the internship and may occasionally have weekend tasks.
Roots Interns was established in 2016 and partners with nonprofit organizations, social enterprises, NGOs, and small start-up companies with ethical and sustainable practices to create valuable internship experiences in Africa for undergraduate students. Roots Interns offers personal and professional development, support, internship logistics, connections with in-country partners, and accommodations.
The community organizations students could work with are Butterfly Space, Malawi Schools Permaculture Clubs (MSPC), and Supreme. Butterfly Space is an eco-friendly lodge that combines sustainable tourism and community development. The lodge is home to various social and environmental projects in the neighboring communities, such as HIV support groups, permaculture clubs, educational programs, and media development projects. One of these projects is MSPC, a nonprofit that promotes permaculture principles to children in Malawi by supporting teachers who want to run after-school permaculture clubs. MSPC works with over 600 children yearly at 21 different school clubs and plans to expand around Malawi and beyond. Lastly, Supreme is a social enterprise that creates reusable sanitary pads and spreads education about menstrual hygiene in local communities. Supreme also runs a nonprofit organization in which they provide necessary educational programs to rural communities around Malawi.
Interns will stay at an ecolodge in the northern town of Nkhata Bay. This lodge has an idyllic location and a relaxed vibe with a private beach (with snorkeling and paddleboarding included), beautiful permaculture gardens, and several communal spaces. The rooms are comfortable dormitories, although there are options of upgrading to a single chalet. The lodge is a hub for people who are volunteering their time at different community and environmental projects in the area. The lodge is the office for Butterfly Space and MSPC and a short drive from the Supreme office. Two meals a day are included for the first month. For the second month, interns will be able to eat out in town, shop for food at a local market, or opt in to a package for two meals a day for an additional fee. Roots Interns has found that most interns want the first month of food provided and then look forward to meal planning on their own for the second and final month of the internship, once they are more settled.
Malawi is small (roughly the size of England) which makes it relatively easy to travel around in terms of distance. Malawians are known for their friendliness. The country is landlocked with borders to Mozambique, Tanzania, and Zambia. Lake Malawi consumes a fifth of the country’s land mass, making Malawi strikingly green during the rainy season that lasts from November to May. There are five main cities: Lilongwe (the capital), Mzuzu, Karonga, Zomba, and Blantyre. In most parts of the country, public facilities are limited, and a lack of infrastructure can cause irregularities in electricity, roads, water supply, and telecommunications, although this is gradually improving. Nkhata Bay is a small, busy port town in the north of Malawi and is located on the banks of Lake Malawi. Interns will be encouraged to explore and seek out activities outside of work hours. There are opportunities for visiting The Mushroom Farm, Usisya via the Ilala ferry, boat trips, kayaking, hiking, village tours, cooking lessons, market trips, and more.