Our work with children in Malawi

Malawi is heavily affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Tens of thousands die each year because of AIDS. The extent to which the disease affects the country’s children is beyond compare. At present, more than 1,000,000 children in the country are growing up without either one or both their parents. SOS Children’s Villages is helping vulnerable children and young people through its four different programmes across the country.

One of the world’s least developed countries

Young children from the SOS Kindergarten visiting an educational farm (photo: SOS archives).

Young children from the SOS Kindergarten visiting an educational farm (photo: SOS archives).

Malawi is a landlocked country in Sub-Saharan Africa. According to the most recent census, the country’s population amounts to roughly 17.3 million. Malawi’s largest city Lilongwe, in the central region, is also its capital. At present, Malawi is among the world’s most densely populated and least developed nations. Although the government has been making efforts to fight high levels of HIV/AIDS, the pandemic still profoundly affects the country both demographically and economically. Life expectancy is very low and Malawi’s death rate continues to be one of the highest in the entire world.

The country’s main economic pillar is agriculture, employing about 90 per cent of the workforce and accounting for roughly 30 per cent of the gross domestic product. Malawi largely depends on multilateral and bilateral economic assistance by the IMF, the World Bank and individual donor countries.

HIV/AIDS affects the lives of many families

Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world. According to the United Nations, more than half of the population live in poverty. Out of 182 countries on the U.N. Human Development Index, Malawi currently ranks 170.

Tens of thousands, particularly in rural areas, face unimaginable living conditions. They remain without access to running water, decent sanitation and medical facilities. The proportion of poor is highest in rural areas of the southern and northern parts of the county. Access to public services and economic opportunities is profoundly unequal across the population.

The HIV/AIDS pandemic has a strong impact on society. Around 11 per cent of Malawians between 15 and 49 years of age live with HIV/AIDS, making the country one of the most affected nations worldwide. The disease remains the biggest health issue in the country. More than 50,000 Malawian citizens lose their lives to AIDS every year. After many years of silence, the authorities have now taken action and an ambitious programme to tackle HIV/AIDS has been launched. Malawi is highly vulnerable to changing climate conditions and natural disasters.

Children are suffering due to malnutrition and exploitation

Children in our care enjoying their healthy breakfast in the garden (photo: SOS archives).

Children in our care enjoying their healthy breakfast in the garden (photo: SOS archives).

In Malawi, 26 per cent of children aged five to 14 are engaged in child labour activities. High levels of poverty and HIV/AIDS are the main factors that drive thousands of children into child labour. While young boys typically work in the fields, girls sell merchandise or are forced into commercial sexual exploitation. It is estimated that more than 78,000 children work on tobacco farms, some of them up to 12 hours per day and without adequate clothing. Tobacco pickers are exposed to nicotine poisoning equivalent to smoking 50 cigarettes a day.

Although child mortality has improved substantially since the 1990s, Malawi is still marked by a fairly high under-five mortality rate of 75 per 1,000 live births.

SOS Children’s Villages in Malawi

SOS Children’s Villages began working in Malawi in 1986.

Strengthen families: SOS Children’s Villages works with local communities to support vulnerable families so that they can stay together. We ensure that they have access to basic goods and services such as health care and education. We also provide training and advice so that parents can generate an income to look after their children.

Care in SOS families: If, in spite of all support, children are unable to stay with their parents, they can find a new home in an SOS family. Children grow up with their brothers and sisters in a safe environment. Wherever possible, we work closely with the children’s family of origin, so that the children can return to live with them.

Education: We run kindergartens and primary and secondary schools in the country. Over 2,300 children attend these education centres. The vocational training centre in Lilongwe provides training for adults.

Support for young people: We support young people until they are able to live independently.

Emergency programme: Over the past few years we have supported families who have been affected by natural disasters. In early 2015, we assisted over 2,500 people who had been affected by the storms which caused serious damage. In early 2017, we started supporting families affected by the devastating drought. We provided immediate assistance for around 13,000 people and also worked with families to help them prepare for any future natural disasters.


Malawi – Republic of Malawi – Country Profile


Malawi’s predominantly rural population is comprised of various tribes that
migrated from other parts of Africa. According to its gross national income (GNI)
the Republic of Malawi is the poorest country in Africa, its economy is agro-based.
There is a small tourism sector which is being primed for growth.

The former British protectorate of Nyasaland became the independent nation of
Malawi in 1964. First democratic multi-party elections were held in 1994, after
three decades of one-party rule. A provisional constitution, took full effect
in 1995. In the 2004 elections the UDF party was voted in again for the third
time since 1994.

related countries: United Kingdom

Official Name:

Republic of Malawi
short form: Malawi

former: British Central African Protectorate, Nyasaland Protectorate, Nyasaland.

ISO Country Code: mw

Actual Time:

Fri-Dec-14 06:48

Local Time = UTC

Country Calling Code: +265

Capital City: Lilongwe (pop. 600 000)

Other Cities: Blantyre (the country’s commercial capital), Zomba, Mzuzu

Type: multi-party democracy.

Independence: July 6, 1964.
Constitution: May 18, 1995.

Location: Southeastern Africa

Area: 118,484 sq. km. (45,747 sq. mi.)
Terrain: Plateaus, highlands, and valleys. Lake Malawi (formerly referred to as
Lake Nyasa) comprises about 20% of total area.

Climate: Predominately sub-tropical; two main seasons, cold-dry and hot-wet.
The hot-wet season is from November to April.

Nationality: Malawian(s)

Population: 15.8 million (2014)
GNI per capita
: $ 596 (year)
Ethnic groups: Chewa, Nyanja, Tumbuka, Yao, Lomwe, Sena, Tonga, Ngoni, Ngonde,
Asian, European.
Religions: Protestant 55%, Roman Catholic 20%, Muslim 20%, indigenous beliefs
3%, other 2%.
Languages: English
(official), Chichewa (official), regional dialects, i.e., Chitumbuka, Chiyao,
Literacy: total population 58%.

Natural resources: Limestone, uranium (potential), coal, bauxite, phosphates,
graphite, granite, black granite, aquamarine, tourmaline, rubies,
sapphires, rare earths.

Agriculture products: Tobacco, sugarcane, cotton, tea, corn, potatoes,
cassava (tapioca), sorghum, pulses; groundnuts, Macadamia nuts; cattle, goats.

Industries: Tobacco, tea, sugar, sawmill products, cement, consumer goods.

Exports – commodities: tobacco 55%, dried legumes (8.8%), sugar (6.7%), tea (5.7%), cotton (2%), peanuts, coffee, and soy (2015 est.)

Exports – partners: Belgium 15.8%, Zimbabwe 12%, India 6.9%, South Africa 6.2%, USA 6%, Russia 5.6%, Germany 4.6% (2015)

Imports – commodities: food, petroleum products, semi-manufactures, consumer goods, transportation equipment

Imports – partners: South Africa 26.4%, China 16.7%, India 12%, Zambia 10.3%, Tanzania 6% (2015)

Currency: Kwacha (MWK)


Malawi suffers blackouts as drought exposes 98% reliance on hydro power | World news

Shire river, which generates almost all of the country’s power, has fallen to critical levels, leaving major cities struggling

Field of dying sunflowers beneath storm clouds in southern Malawi,

A drought in Malawi has exposed the country’s near-total reliance of hydroelectricity, meaning blackouts last up to 25 hours.
Photograph: Guido Dingemans/Alamy Stock Photo

Large parts of Malawi have been plunged into darkness as water levels at the country’s main hydro power plant fell to critical levels due to a severe drought, according to its electricity company.

The impoverished southern African country which relies on hydroelectricity has been hit by intermitted blackouts since last year, but the outages have recently worsened, lasting up to 25 hours.

The state-owned Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) said on Thursday that power output had been halved as water levels in the Shire river dropped to critical levels.

The water from the river normally generates a total of 300 megawatts of electricity, which is 98% of the country’s supply. “For the past three weeks, the available capacity was 160 megawatts,” said Escom said in a statement.

Affected areas include large parts of the capital Lilongwe and in the second city of Blantyre.

A number of businesses and hospitals in the country had been forced to use diesel-powered generators to keep the lights on.

According to the World Bank, only 8% of Malawi’s 17 million people have access to electricity.


EU in Malawi (@EUinMalawi) | Twitter

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Madonna allowed to adopt four-year-old twin girls from Malawi who lost mother

Madonna tours the Mphandura orphanage near Lilongwe, Malawi in 2013
Madonna tours the Mphandura orphanage near Lilongwe, Malawi in 2013


Madonna has been granted permission to adopt four-year-old twins from Malawi, after she appeared in court to hear a judge rule in her favour.

The American pop star, who has already adopted two Malawian children and has a biological son and daughter, has seen her adoption request approved after attending court in person.

The children, previously reported to be twin girls named Stella and Esther, could leave Malawi with the singer shortly after spending the last two years in the Home of Hope in Mchinji.

Their father was in court to observe proceedings, while their mother is understood to have died a week after giving birth in 2012 from caesarian section complications.

The twins will join David and Mercy, the two children previously adopted into the US by Madonna amid some controversy.

Judiciary spokesman Mlenga Mvula has now confirmed that Madonna had been granted an adoption order by Justice Fiona Mwale.

Pop star Madonna sits with her adopted Malawian child Mercy James during a bricklaying ceremony at the site of her Raising Malawi Girls Academy, near the capital Lilongwe, Malawi in 2010


The singer had previously denied embarking on the adoption process again, telling US magazine People she was in Malawi to “check on the children’s hospital in Blantyre and my other work with Raising Malawi”

Mr Mvula confirmed that the Material Girl singer was in court yesterday as required by the adoption laws of the southern African nation, alongside her lawyer Titus Mvalo.

“She appeared in court and has been granted an adoption order by the court,” said Mr Mvula.

“We cannot give the names of children due to the adoption laws but we can confirm that the two children were born on 24 August 2012.”

Mr Mvalo, Madonna’s lawyer, said: “Madonna has demo​n​strated over the years that she has passion for Malawi and her children and therefore the court was satisfied and could not stop the adoption of the twins.”

Madonna photographed with David and Lourdes in 2007

Mr Mvula, who said the singer was smiling when the judge delivered her decision, added: “Within a year she should provide us with a home survey report which the court has ordered her to provide.”

Madonna, 58, adopted Malawian children David Banda and Mercy James in 2006 and 2009.

The latter adoption has been fraught with rumoured difficulty in recent years, with members of Mercy’s family alleging they had been “deceived” in the adoption process and pleading to see her during visits to Malawi.

Joyce Banda, the former president of Malawi, has previously issued an excoriating statement condemning the actions of Madonna and accusing her of exploiting her aid work and overplaying achievements.

Madonna has recently settled a custody dispute with Guy Ritchie over their son, Rocco

In 2013 ,she said: “Granted, Madonna has adopted two children from Malawi. According to the record, this gesture was humanitarian and of her accord.

“It, therefore, comes across as strange and depressing that for a humanitarian act, prompted only by her, Madonna wants Malawi to be forever chained to the obligation of gratitude.”

The pop singer has two other children, Lourdes and Rocco, from previous relationships.

Last year, she settled a custody battle with Rocco’s father, the director Guy Ritchie, to allow him to stay in London rather than be compelled to live with her in the States.


Using drones to save lives in Malawi

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionA drone is being tested to see if it can carry blood samples to the laboratory

It started with an aeroplane journey back in 2014.

“I knew nothing about drones,” says Judith Sherman, the head of HIV for the UN children’s fund, Unicef, in Malawi. But as she leafed through an in-flight magazine about pizza deliveries by drone in Mumbai, she had a eureka moment.

“Drones could be used to solve the logistical challenge of swiftly delivering HIV/Aids care in rural Malawi,” she thought.

Two years later she is about to find out if she was right as important experiments get under way.

The government says 10,000 children died of HIV-related illnesses in Malawi in 2014, which is the “equivalent to a school bus full of youngsters dying every week,” according to Ms Sherman.

A young child may get the virus from an HIV-positive mother during pregnancy or birth, or when the mother is breastfeeding, but drugs can reduce the risk of transmission.

Only half of the young people with HIV have access to treatment, and their initial diagnosis is often delayed because of the poor state of the roads.

Image caption

A blood sample is taken to see if children are HIV positive

Image caption

Motorbikes have to travel along rough tracks to deliver the blood samples

Unlike adults, screening for the virus in children with HIV-positive mothers requires specialist laboratories that can do a sophisticated test.

There are only eight of them in the country and for many people they are hard to access.

With many Malawians living in remote villages, the blood samples from rural HIV clinics need to be transported by motorbike along what are little more than dirt tracks, and that is where drones could have a revolutionary effect – slashing the waiting time for the blood test result.

California-based company Matternet has designed a drone as part of an experiment being conducted in partnership with Unicef.

Image caption

The drone can carry a payload of up to 1kg

Image copyright

Image caption

The drone is also fitted with a parachute in case of emergencies

Just like mobile phones transformed healthcare in Africa more than a decade ago, drones could do the same for programmes to deal with HIV, ultimately saving lives.

Instead of using motorbikes to transport blood samples, which often require a large batch to make the delivery costs worthwhile, Unicef and Matternet are testing whether deliveries could be more efficient by air.

“This is the power of things that are unexpected,” says Paola Santana from Matternet. “People didn’t see them coming and then they change everything.”

She is a technology evangelist, clearly on a mission to share the fruits of scientific advance to solve logistical problems.

Image copyright

Image caption

The drone can be operated through a mobile phone app

The drone used in the test is less than a metre long and is programmed to travel along a designated route, passing predetermined way points, which are plotted using an app.

No pilot is necessary, instead it requires a health worker with a password and a GPS signal on their mobile phone. At the swipe of a button the vehicle is airborne.

It has already been certified as safe by Malawi’s defence ministry, which has approved an air corridor for the drone’s use.

But in the months ahead, the team from the Silicon Valley will run tests to measure the drone’s resilience, cost effectiveness and efficiency.

“You put a payload box and a fresh battery on the drone,” says Ms Santana, as she demonstrates how the device can carry up to 1kg (2.2lb) of dried blood samples in a compartment tucked under a battery. “You then open the app and select the location, you swipe and you hit take off.”

As the drone makes its maiden flight in Malawi in front of a group of invited guests, villagers lined the edge of a nearby maize field.

Image caption

Villagers turned out to watch the first launch of the drone

They direct their their gaze skywards to view the humming electrical beast making its first ascent. Then burst into peals of nervous laughter.

“I thought it was going to come crashing down onto my head,” giggles one woman.

They had already been told by village doctors that there was nothing to fear, and that no witchcraft was involved in levitating the drone.

“They were frightened at first,” medical assistant Joanna Mwale confesses. “These are traditional areas, they’ve seen aeroplanes but nothing like this.”

Malawi Health Minister Peter Kumpalume is an enthusiastic advocate, and he compares the launch to his days as a young boy flying toy planes fashioned from maize husks. He is not worried about safety, but does acknowledge that there are cost issues.

Overcoming the cost

The operating costs are minimal because electricity to recharge the battery is cheaper than diesel fuel for motorbikes, but each drone costs $7,000 (£4,900), so there needs to be a strong business case.

The minister though is convinced of the drone’s potential, and the logistical barriers can be overcome in a country where HIV rates among children remain stubbornly high, and one in 10 Malawians live with HIV.

“It’s specialist testing we do for youngsters. If you delay giving them treatment most of them don’t live beyond two years old,” Mr Kumpalume says.

“So the earlier the detection and the earlier the intervention, the longer they live and become productive citizens of the country.”

The experiment is still in its early phase.

The tests over the next week will measure the drone’s performance with differing winds speeds, humidity and distance, and if the results prove positive, the experiment will be expanded.

These so-called leapfrog technologies have a record of changing the way things are done, and in time, with enough financial commitment, drones could change the face of HIV programmes across Africa.


Attractions in Malawi | Malawi Tourism


Malawi Attractions

It is Malawi’s variety of attractions that is its greatest asset. Whilst Lake Malawi dominates the country, this is not a country of a singular attraction. It is the mixture of beautiful landscapes, fascinating wildlife, the alluring Lake Malawi, and rich culture that combine to make this small country such a wonderful place to visit.

Cultural / People

The Malawian people are, without doubt, its greatest asset: friendly and welcoming to a fault. Every visitor is met with a smile and the warmth of the welcome is genuine and long-lasting. Alongside a number of places of particular cultural and historical interest, and all travel will include some element of cultural experience as interaction with local people is very much part of any stay.


The jewel in the crown of the country’s tourist attractions is Lake Malawi, “discovered” by the missionary-explorer Dr David Livingstone just over 150 years ago. Although totally landlocked, Malawi is not denied its “inland sea”. This vast body of freshwater fringed by beaches of golden sand is not only a scenic wonderland but it provides water sport opportunities for those looking for something beyond sun, sand and swimming.

Landscape / Scenic

Malawi has a massive diversity of beautiful landscapes. The highest peaks in Malawi touch 10 000ft (3 000m) while the lowest point is barely above sea level. This range of altitudes in a small area help to make the landscape of Malawi one of the moist varied in all Africa. It is generally a green, lush country, with plateaux, highlands, forests, mountains, plains, escarpments and dramatic river valleys. The variety of scenery is a major attraction to visitors and many of the highland areas and forest reserves have good accommodation options, and plenty of outdoor activities available.


Malawi is blessed with a rich diversity of flora and fauna and has no less than nine national parks and wildlife reserves. Whilst it may not have quite the sheer numbers of large mammals (particularly predators) as some of its better known neighbours, it makes up for this in other ways. Malawi provides intensive and exclusive wildlife viewing in unspoilt areas of genuine wilderness.


Malawi | World Food Programme

Malawi is a small landlocked country in Southern Africa. With a population expanding rapidly at 3 percent per year and the majority of livelihoods dependent on agriculture, the population is highly vulnerable to the effects of natural disasters. Poverty is experienced by most rural families, with those headed by women suffering the most.

Relying on small parcels of densely cultivated land for their livelihoods, rural Malawians are highly vulnerable to the effects of natural disasters. Episodes of drought as well as severe flooding are increasing in frequency, intensity and unpredictability, giving the most vulnerable households inadequate time to recover.

Malawi’s challenges are also compounded by high rates of HIV infection (at 8.8 percent), low primary school completion rate (at 51 percent) and chronic under-nutrition (at 37 percent for children under 5). WFP continues to partner with the government, other UN agencies, NGOs, civil society and the private sector to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 with a particular emphasis on reaching Zero Hunger (SDG 2), addressing structural drivers of hunger wherever possible.


Travel advice and advisories for Malawi

Latest updates: Editorial change.

Risk level(s)

Risk level(s)

Safety and security

Safety and security


Violent robberies and petty crime, such as pickpocketing, mugging and bag-snatching, occur. Criminals target tourists in particular in the following areas:

  • Kenyatta Drive in Blantyre
  • walking between Lilongwe’s Old Town and Capital City districts
  • the main bus stations in Lilongwe and Blantyre
  • the main ports for the Ilala ferry

In fall 2017, there were two separate violent attacks on visitors to the Mount Mulanje area. If you intend to visit the area, be extremely vigilant and ensure that you hire an experienced and reputable local guide. Contact the Mountain Club of Malawi for security advice before climbing Mount Mulanje.

Residential break-ins and carjackings are prevalent throughout the country. Organized robberies and attacks by gangsters occur and may target foreigners. Carjackings often occur when a vehicle is stopped, for example, when waiting to enter at a compound vehicle gate, at intersections or in traffic.

Avoid walking alone at night.

Exercise great caution, especially on buses, at bus stops and while hiking, or when approached by persons who wish to befriend you, help you or become your tour guide. Do not leave your luggage unattended.

Do not show signs of affluence. Ensure that your personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times.


Con artists are active in major cities and tourist destinations such as:

  • Blantyre
  • Cape Maclear
  • Mzuzu
  • Nkhata Bay
  • Senga Bay
  • Zomba

Women’s Safety

In Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe, as well as in Blantyre, Mzuzu and Zomba, men have attacked women wearing pants, leggings and short skirts. They also stripped and robbed the women. Women travellers in these areas should avoid wearing close-fitting clothing and be aware of their surroundings.

Throughout the country, women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse.

Safe-travel guide for women


Demonstrations may occur. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations

More about mass gatherings (large-scale events)

Road safety

The traffic-related death rate is high. Poor road conditions, poorly maintained vehicles and inadequate street lighting make driving dangerous. Potholes, pedestrians, animals, abandoned vehicles and vehicles travelling at night without lights also pose risks. Avoid driving outside cities after dark. Emergency roadside assistance is very limited.

Armed carjackings, particularly of four-wheel-drive vehicles, have occurred. You should not resist if threatened by carjackers. Always wear seat belts. Keep windows closed and doors locked and never leave your personal belongings in a vehicle.

Hitchhiking or taking matola (informal lifts in the back of open vehicles) is considered dangerous.

Public transportation

Public transport is limited in rural areas. There are regular flights and bus services among Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Zomba. Travel by minibus between cities is not recommended, as the vehicles are overcrowded and poorly maintained.

Spiked food and drinks

Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances. These items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.

General safety information

Tourist facilities are limited outside of major centres.

Reserves and safaris

There are inherent risks associated with viewing wildlife (both marine and on land), particularly on foot or at close range. Always maintain a safe distance when observing wildlife and avoid leaving the vehicle unless it is deemed safe to do so by professional guides and wardens. Use only reputable and professional guides or tour operators, and closely follow park regulations and wardens’ advice.

Air travel

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

General information about foreign domestic airlines

Entry/exit requirements

Entry/exit requirements

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

We have obtained the information on this page from the Malawian authorities. It can, however, change at any time.

Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.


Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.

Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.

Regular Canadian passport

Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the date you expect to leave Malawi.

Passport for official travel

Different entry rules may apply.

Official travel

Other travel documents

Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.

Useful links


Tourist visa: Required
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required

Canadians may be able to obtain a visa on arrival at the airport or border crossing. To avoid inconveniences at the port of entry, it is strongly recommended to obtain a visa in advance, at the nearest Malawian diplomatic mission.

Specific documents are required for Canadians volunteering in Malawi.

Children and travel

Learn about travel with children.

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).



Related Travel Health Notices

  • There are no updates at this time.

Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.


Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health professional about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.


Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.


Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world.

Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.


Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (e.g., are children, have an occupational risk, or in close contact with animals, including free roaming dogs in communities).

Yellow Fever – Country Entry Requirements

Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.


  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.

Country Entry Requirement*

  • Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from or have transited through an airport of a country where yellow fever occurs.


  • Vaccination is not recommended.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
  • There is currently a shortage of the yellow fever vaccine in Canada. It is important for travellers to contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of their trip to ensure that the vaccine is available.

About Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.


Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers’ diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in East Africa, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in East Africa. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!



Cholera is a risk in parts of this country. Most travellers are at very low risk.

For protection of cholera

All travellers should practise safe food and water precautions.

Cholera vaccination

Travellers at higher risk should discuss with a health care professional the benefits of getting vaccinated.

Travellers at higher risk include those:

  • visiting, working or living in areas with limited access to safe food, water and proper sanitation
  • visiting areas where outbreaks are occurring.


Schistosomiasis can be spread to humans through freshwater sources contaminated by blood flukes (tiny worms). The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in freshwater sources (lakes, rivers, ponds). There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.

Travellers’ diarrhea

  • Travellers’ diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
  • Risk of developing travellers’ diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
  • The most important treatment for travellers’ diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.


Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.

Travellers visiting regions with a risk typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.


Insects and Illness

In some areas in East Africa, certain insects carry and spread diseases like African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, onchocerciasis (river blindness), Rift Valley fever, West Nile virus and yellow fever.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.


There is currently a risk of chikungunya in this country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.

Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.


Onchocerciasis (river blindness) is an eye and skin disease caused by a parasite spread through the bite of an infected female blackfly. Onchocerciasis often leads to blindness if left untreated. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from blackfly bites, which are most common close to fast-flowing rivers and streams. There is no vaccine available for onchocerciasis although drug treatments exist.

Zika virus infection

Zika virus infection is a risk in this country. The mosquito that spreads the virus is found here.

Travel recommendations:

All travellers should protect themselves from mosquito bites and other diseases spread by insects.



  • There is a risk of malaria throughout the year in the whole country.
  • Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by mosquitoes. There is no vaccine against malaria.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in well-screened air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet or pre-treating travel gear with insecticides.
  • See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss the benefits of taking antimalarial medication and to determine which one to take.


Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in East Africa, like avian influenza, ebola, and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.


HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).

High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.


Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.

For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.

Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care professional.

High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.

Medical services and facilities

Medical facilities are below Western standards. Medical evacuations to South Africa are required for serious conditions. Cash payment is expected and may be required before any service is provided.

Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

Travel health and safety

Keep in Mind…

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

Laws and culture

Laws & culture

You must abide by local laws.

Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.

It is illegal to purchase or export uncut precious stones.

Photography of government buildings, airports, bridges, churches, synagogues and military installations is prohibited. It may be culturally offensive to photograph people. Obtain their permission first.

Imports and Exports

It is prohibited to import or export ivory, drugs and pornographic material. You must have a licence to import firearms and munitions for hunting. Contact the High Commission of the Republic of Malawi for specific information regarding customs requirements.

LGBTQ2 travellers

Malawian law prohibits sexual acts between individuals of the same sex.

LGBTQ2 travellers have experienced harassment and verbal abuse.

General safety information and advice for LGBTQ2 travellers abroad

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Malawi.

If local authorities consider you a citizen of Malawi, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services. This will prevent us from providing you with those services.

General information for travellers with dual citizenship


Traffic drives on the left.

Penalties for drunk driving and speeding are severe in Malawi.

It is illegal to talk on a mobile phone while driving.

An International Driving Permit is recommended.


Malawian culture is generally conservative and respectful of elders. Common sense and discretion should be exercised in dress and behaviour. Respect religious beliefs and social conventions to avoid offending local sensitivities.


The local currency is the Malawi kwacha (MWK). Credit cards are not widely accepted outside major hotels. Foreign currency can be exchanged at the airport, banks and exchange houses. There are very few ATMs, even in tourist locations, and they may not accept international cards.

Natural disasters and climate

Natural disasters & climate

Malawi is located in a seismic zone. Although infrequent, earthquakes do occasionally occur and may cause landslides. Strong aftershocks are possible up to one week after the initial quake.

The rainy season extends from November to April. Secondary roads may be impassable to all but four-wheel-drive vehicles during this period. Keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly. If intending to visit flood-affected areas, ensure that you have sufficient quantities of potable water in reserve.



Local services

Emergency services

In case of emergency, dial:

  • police: 997 / 990
  • medical assistance: 998
  • firefighters: 999

Consular assistance

Maputo – High Commission of Canada

For emergency consular assistance, call the High Commission of Canada in Maputo, Mozambique, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.

Exercise normal security precautions

There are no significant safety and security concerns. The overall safety and security situation is similar to that of Canada. You should take normal security precautions.

Exercise a high degree of caution

There are identifiable safety and security concerns or the safety and security situation could change with little notice. You should exercise a high degree of caution at all times, monitor local media and follow the instructions of local authorities.

IMPORTANT: The two levels below are official Government of Canada Travel Advisories and are issued when the safety and security of Canadians travelling or living in the country may be compromised.

Avoid non-essential travel

There are specific safety and security concerns that could put you at risk. You should reconsider your need to travel to the country, territory or region. If you are already in the country, territory or region, you should reconsider whether or not you really need to be there. If not, you should consider leaving while it is still safe to do so. It is up to you to decide what “non-essential travel” means, based on family or business requirements, knowledge of or familiarity with a country, territory or region, and other factors.

Avoid all travel

There is an extreme risk to your personal safety and security. You should not travel to this country, territory or region. If you are already in the country, territory or region, you should consider leaving if it is safe to do so.


helpstars malawi | Save Money By Hiring A Second Me

Save Money By Hiring A Second Me

Many have a love hate relationship with grocery shopping. sometimes it’s exciting to go to the store when you are with a a friend or significant other eager to buy ingredients to try a new recipe. Other times it can be another weekly chore that’s difficult to fit around your already busy schedule. While some grocery store offer personal shopping delivery services, it’s sometimes difficult to trust that random grocery store worker will get you the best deal and will choose food from your list thoughtfully and carefully. This is where A Second Me steps in.

Unlike your love hate relationship with grocery shopping, we actually happy to do it for you. Over the past years working as an errand service business for Malawi, we have learned some tips ans tricked to conquer the dreaded grocery store while saving you money. Read below how for some reasons why hiring A Second Me, can actually save you money.

We Never Shop Hungry

As we are sure you have heard multiple times, you are never supposed to go grocery shoppingt bon an empty stomach. shopping hungry causes more tempetion to buy items that you don’t actually need.Think about it, when youi are starving and loonking at rows ans rows of food in frint of you,you are much more likily to buy a quick snackto either munch on while you are at the grocery story or when you are home. This item is likly not on your list and result6s from you following your stomach rather than your your budget. But, if you hire A Second Me, to do your grocery shopping,you will end up saving money because you win’t even be at the store to buy tempting food!We’ll stick to exactly what’s on your list and buy no more or no less.

We’ll Get You Deals

We’ve been around the grocery story block more than a few times and know the tricks and the trade when it comes to grocery shopping. For example, it’s important to look at the from top to bottom because grocery store purposefully arrange the most expensive items right at eye level so that you are more likely to purchase them. Grocery stores also purposely arrange items so that the produce and dairy items are at opposite opposite ends of the store.This is meant to promote grocery shoppers to weave between the aisles and potentially buy more items they do not need.We stick to the perimeter of the store and carefully look at the pricing to ensure that you are getting the best deal for high quality products that you have asked us to purchase.

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