International Social Work in Malawi

Students will travel to the country Malawi in eastern Africa and will be exposed to the field of international social work, working alongside staff of a local faith based non-profit that provides educational centers for impoverished children and families in Malawi. Students will be mentored and working alongside professional social workers and staff of a local faith base non profit, who are engaged in international social work practice.


There are no prerequisites for this trip. Students should have a strong passion for international social work and a desire to travel to Malawi to learn about their culture and way of life.

Students should also register for the following course:

This course examines human rights on domestic and global levels, with an emphasis on international human rights and the role of the international social worker. The course outlines the history of various human rights issues in the global community and the current human rights crisis in various regions. The role of faith-based organizations, as well as the role of the micro and macro social worker are explored and cases examined. A key feature of the course is understanding human rights from a Christian worldview. Students registered in this section will participate in a global practicum experience during which the skills learned throughout the semester will be applied in an international setting. Students may only earn credit for SWK 578 or SWK 578G. Additional trip fee(s). (3 units; Spring)

InstructorStart DateDaysTimeLocation


Day 1: Depart LAX for Lilongwe, Malawi
Day 2: Arrive in Lilongwe
Day 3: Work in a rural village in Ntchisi. Suggested projects based on current needs in the village are: hands-on care for babies and children who are HIV positive and/or are HIV orphans, or assisting the local HIV Club at the primary school.
Day 4: Visit primary school in village in Ntchisi. We will present a lesson (pre-prepared prior to departure) for the school children and possibly adults. Possible topics are: HIV awareness and confronting myths about AIDS, watch a movie and discuss; recognizing violence and the cycle of abuse; identifying and describing positive African role models for men/men; world current events; use of technology. In the afternoon, re-orient to Lake Malawi.
Days 5-9: Work at Health, Education, Environment, Economic Development (HEEED), a Malawian NGO. At HEEED, we will learn about the fragile ecosystem surrounding the lake and the importance of it as a natural resource to the neighboring village communities. We will see projects that further environmental education and conservation and how they relate to social issuesfor the people in the surrounding areas. We will be exposed to different on-going projects, depending on our interests, such as HIV, malaria, and bilharzia (a water-borne parasite) education in a neighboring fishing village, aquaculture (cultivated fish and crops), handicrafts, tree-seedling cultivation, or other timely projects related to social development and the culture of the communities around Lake Malawi. We will work alongside project staff with the HEEED program.
Day 10: Work at HEEED, then in afternoon reorient to Liwonde National Park.
Day 11: Morning cultural immersion activity (safari). Following lunch, reorient to Zomba.
Day 12: Visit the Catholic University of Malawi, a small rural university in Limbe. In the morning we will visit a convent and novicia to see the work the sisters do in their school for the blind, as an example of a religious-based NGO. We will also visit the University, meet with social work students, and observe a class lecture before sharing with them a lesson we have prepared. We will have dinner in the school cafeteria with students, then reorient to Lilongwe.
Day 13: Cultural immersion activities in Lilongwe in the morning. Depart for Charlotte in the afternoon.
Day 14: Arrive in LAX