MEET THE FUTURE LEADERS OF MALAWIAN CONSERVATION

We support the next generation of Malawian conservationists by offering a range of internships and placements for dedicated young professionals. These individuals are placed in different teams across our organisation, from our operations and M&E teams to our frontline work with animals.

Justin Chunda (operations apprentice, head office)
Justin has supported our general operations, admin and office management work. His manager Tom says: “Justin is a conscientious member of the team and has proven himself to be trustworthy and hardworking”.

“I have had a great experience joining Lilongwe Wildlife Trust since November 2021. The people I met at the office are so friendly and welcoming that I felt comfortable the first day I came. My manager has taught me that it’s ok to make a mistake when you learn from it, to the point that my skills have been sharpened under his guidance. I have had the opportunity to relate to nature in a different way than the way I used to before. I look forward to learning more and more.”

Lusungu Kalua (M&E apprentice, head office) 
Lusungu has worked with our programmes team to collect and analyse data, monitor and evaluate projects and write reports. His supervisor Khumbo says: “Lusungu is willing and eager to learn and has been proactive in trying to learn the work we do. He’s helped with logistical work, drafting reports and supporting workshops – and has shown a great team spirit.”

“I’ve had a warm wonderful experience so far! I love the environment and space I am in. I keep learning something new every day which keeps me occupied all the time. I have dedicated supervisors who always give their best and are always there to help. I am looking forward to working with the team in the long run and contributing more to the mission.”

Innocent Dimasi (grants apprentice, head office)
Innocent has supported the financial management of our grants and conferences. According to his manager Dorothy, Innocent has “a sharp eye” for reconciliations while he “works with speed and is always willing to help and learn”.

“It has been an amazing experience here at Lilongwe Wildlife Trust. I’ve learned quite a lot in these three months, from how grants work to how expenditure is tracked and allocated into each grant. I have also learned about the big effort LWT is putting into wildlife preservation, education, campaigns and justice. Before I started working here I only thought of LWT as being the organisation that runs the animal sanctuary, so it really has been an eye-opener.

“I think that the apprenticeship programme is a great programme and that it would be nice if LWT continues with it, because apart from providing employment to fresh graduates it also educates them about pressing wildlife issues that the average person does not always know about.”

Fischer Sichali (research volunteer, Liwonde National Park)
Fischer has supported our wildlife monitoring programme.

“I have been to national parks before, but my stay at Liwonde National Park was particularly spectacular. It gave me the opportunity to participate directly in the monitoring of species of special concern such as lions, cheetahs, hyenas, pangolins, vultures and wild dogs. We were driving into the park every day, except on Sundays, to collect data. The activities included operating the radio telemetry by scanning collared or tagged animals, recording data on telemetry fixes sheets, tracking and checking animals to see if they are in good health, setting up camera traps, conducting behaviour assessments and identifying individual animals based on pictures and fresh footprints.

“What I liked most was that whenever we were in the field we were often finding ourselves directly interacting with elephants, cheetahs, hippos, lions, kudus, buffalos and crocodiles face to face. These animals welcomed us and I felt like we belonged there too.

“There was one incident when a herd of elephants almost surrounded us. They were just a few metres away from us and I was so terrified. They blocked the road and I thought they were going to crush our car. But they did not charge. I whispered to myself: ‘Wow, I love these elephants’.

“Working with Lilongwe Wildlife Trust in Liwonde has been a historic and life-changing moment I will never forget. I encourage fellow Malawians to be part of the frontline team in wildlife conservation.”

Sidrah Bheda (sanctuary volunteer, Lilongwe Wildlife Centre)
Sidrah has supported our wildlife rehabilitation work; she continues to volunteer with us and now hopes to go on to an animal care course at university level. Her supervisor Torie credits her “energy and enthusiasm” and says: “she has taken to wildlife rehab work like a natural and we are very lucky to have her!”

“My overall volunteer experience at Lilongwe Wildlife Centre has been a 10/10. At first I did a placement for two weeks and it was the most interesting, fun and valuable experience I’ve had.

“At the beginning of my placement, I got a tour around the Centre and got to meet the welcoming staff and volunteers. A few days after I got used to the system, I was able to complete my daily schedule independently even though there were staff members to assist when needed.

“I have gained many skills and learned a lot about animal care, nutrition, the diets of different animals as well their habits. I got to work with monkeys, baboons, owls, hawks, tortoises, bush babies, parrots, pigeons, squirrels and a serval. They all have their own personalities and I got to know them by feeding them, cleaning their enclosures or doing weight checks.

“Another valuable piece of information I learned was the importance of enrichment – making sure the animals are being taken care of properly while in captivity. That alone was an eye-opener because I expected animals to stay in their enclosure and get fed every few hours but it’s much more than that. For example, the monkeys and baboons get maize husk pockets filled with treats and tied tightly so they can use their natural skills as if they were still in the wild. Another example is cutting branches and gathering leaves to fill enclosures so the animals feel they’re in their natural habitat.

“My time at Lilongwe Wildlife Centre has been a very memorable journey. As well as all the new things I have learned about animal care, I also got to create bonds with the people and the animals around me. All the little activities or changes made for the animals is beyond incredible and I couldn’t be more thankful to be part of it. Volunteering for two weeks was not enough – I got used to the system and there’s no point in stopping now! I will continue volunteering at the Centre not only because it taught me new skills but because I’ve truly found my purpose and my happiness.”

Huge thanks to UNDP for supporting our apprenticeship programme, under our Project GreenHeart partnership.