Following the orientation and briefing on our roles in line with the partner organisation’s targets, we had expectations and looked forward to getting started. 

Monday, 3 October 2016, was our first day at Temwa Malawi offices! The day went pretty well. We were all so excited to be a part of something big and life changing. Getting to know each other better through games proved to be a lot of fun. Each one of us randomly picked out a piece of paper with our names on it. The #1 was first to sit on a chair in front and answer any questions fired from the team (both work-related and personal). Then s/he would get to choose who goes next till everyone took turns on the hot seat.

During break time we went outside to play and dance. In no time we were laughing our lungs out enjoying a game of ‘Freeze’. It already felt like we had known each other for a long time.

The following days went by so fast... Contrary to the thought that we would spend the whole of that week planning and strategizing on the work ahead, we were told to participate in a climate change training that was taking place in Chikwina, Nkhata Bay, from Wednesday to Friday. The training was specifically for lead farmers and volunteers, who would in turn train the Village Natural Resources Committee.

Overall, we were taught to understand how various human activities have led to climate change, which has in turn caused harmful chain reactions whose impacts are globally affecting the livelihood of people, especially those that live in rural areas because they rely on agriculture. We also learnt a lot more about the mitigation and adaptation measures that can be practiced and put in place to combat climate change. Furthermore, we had discussions relating climate change in Malawi to the global scale and how the two interlink.

It was a wonderful experience for us because we gained a lot of knowledge on climate change, as well as seeing how training is conducted and facilitated in preparation for the trainings that we were going to facilitate the following week.

Settling in and bonding has not been all smooth, there have been some last-minute changes or cancellations in some programmes, delays, poor communication, a language barrier and some little things, but together we are determined to make this placement as productive and effective as possible because team work makes dream work a reality.

Written by ICS volunteer Blessings Mary Sibande