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Final Insights from Malawi: An Intern’s Journey

 

March 27, 2020 • 3 min read

In the final instalment of his blog, Tom Seward reflects on his time with GOAL Malawi and shares with us the highlights of his experience.

GOAL Lilongwe Office

"Looking back on my time in Malawi, the sheer number of things I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in has been really incredible."

This has been my last week in Malawi with GOAL. Unfortunately, due to the restrictions being put in place by Governments and airlines due to the Coronavirus emergency, I have had to move my flight forward to ensure I am able to get back to Europe. So I’m going to take this opportunity to look back at all the great work I have had an opportunity to be involved with during my time here.

First I have to give an update on how the St Paddy’s Day event went. I am glad to report that our boy-band lip sync, dance performance was a resounding success (as resounding a success as a lip-sync, dance routine can be anyway). Westrife, as we have named ourselves, performed our routine without a hitch to a crowd of nearly 300 people. It was a great laugh on the night just as it has been in all the training sessions we had been doing for the last few weeks! The night in general was also a great success, and a lot of money was raised for a great cause.

Looking back on my time in Malawi, the sheer number of things I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in has been really incredible. My work with the Youth Advocacy Training Project before Christmas was really exciting to be a part of. Getting to meet a small few of the countless young people in this part of the world who are striving to make it better for everyone was a great experience. Being involved with the initial stages of the planning for the Global Citizenship Project that GOAL is commencing over the coming months as a continuation of this has also been interesting and has shown me how these types of projects run from start to finish.

The work GOAL does surrounding women’s issues is incredible and I have loved being involved in projects within this area. GOAL’s Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) advocacy work in Malawi is really important and has a tangible effect on all the people it works with, changing the way a developing society views an important issue and allowing women and girls all the same opportunities as everyone else. The work GOAL does with the Malawi Irish Consortium against Gender Based Violence has also been wonderful to be a part of and being able to attend the Conference that was the culmination of the 16 Days of Activism was really fantastic.

My involvement in the PROSPER project has been rewarding as well. Getting to learn about an innovative new approach to improving people’s lives through access to markets and improvement of market systems has given me a glimpse of how the development sector is constantly evolving. My trips to Chikwawa, in the south of Malawi, to see the work GOAL has been doing with PROSPER and to meet some of the beneficiaries was a particular highlight.

As well as all the exciting projects I’ve been involved with during my time here, the day to day work in Lilongwe has also been great. The independent research project that I’ve been conducting into market systems integration has been a great challenge and the research into the development of NGOs over recent years for GOAL Malawi’s Leadership Development Programme has ensured that I always had something to sink my teeth into.

I’m definitely going to miss living in Malawi. The wonderful people, food and landscapes are one of a kind and I’m not so sure I’m ready to head back to a cold and wet Europe, but at least I’ll be able to look back fondly at my time here when I do!