In Malawi, young volunteers have been given a green light to make the most of their innovation and passion on the ICS programme. It has already had significant impact on the community, and here is just one of many stories of how one village is benefitting from working with a fantastic group of devoted young people.

Ungweru is Progressio’s partner organisation in Mazuzu, Malawi. Ungweru, despite its strong programming, has limited capacity to reach out to people in need of the support they are providing. There is also a lack of capacity within Ungweru to capture the voice of the communities, to undertake thorough data collection and conduct needs assessments.

Progressio ICS volunteers provide extra human resource to work with the community and bring innovative new programming ideas. The volunteers increased the reach of Ungweru through special projects which were designed and implemented by the ICS volunteers in response to the needs in the communities. Each team was given a small amount of money by Progressio to undertake their project with an aim of developing a strong community owned and sustainable project. 

Getrude Soko has eight children and is married to Bellings Luhanga, a 52 year old farm labourer from Chachacha. Getrude and Bellings were the recipients of one of the projects developed and implemented by Progressio ICS volunteers in Malawi. They received training on how to care for and breed livestock, were given two pigs, and, as part of the community, were given 50 chicks. 

This project improved the economic status of the most vulnerable and marginalised in the community. Seminars on improved animal husbandry and specific training on pig rearing were a huge success and have given families a chance to be more secure in their income. 

The animals are now able to grow strong and healthy and will produce many offspring. Once they reproduce, the new piglets will be given to another family in the village and this will be replicated until the animals are a resource for the whole village. 

 “Both the pigs and the chicks are small at the moment, but they are producing manure which we can use on the vegetable seedlings,” Getrude said. “This will help our children have a more balanced diet. The pigs will reproduce as well and we can sell the piglets to raise money to purchase necessities for the family. We couldn’t afford to buy pigs, so this project will help us to make a little money and better support our children.”

The impact of Progressio ICS volunteers has been hugely significant. Staff from Ungweru  said that, because of the volunteers, local young people were more involved in activism, the organisation can reach more people in the community and they have more resources to use with community groups. 

“We are small and have minimal reach,” Dominic Nyirongo, Executive Director of Ungweru, said. “I am the only staff member with a degree and we only have one staff member focusing on our programmes. As such, our ability to reach communities and promote the organisation was poor. 

“ICS volunteers have helped us to overcome this challenge and have given us a presence in the communities and an ability to report on what we’re doing. Our reputation has increased. One example of the impact of the Progressio ICS volunteers is in the schools programme.”

“Young Progressio ICS volunteers have given us a presence in the community. Before, we didn't have the capacity or ideas to engage young people through schools. With the ICS volunteers, we are now working in 20 schools and delivering life-saving information and training to a much wider audience at a key stage in their lives.”

To support Progressio's work with young ICS volunteers, join us at our pub quiz celebrating International Youth Day. You can find out more information and get your tickets here.